CHERIE Blair has criticised the policies of the US President George W Bush, attacking his stance on terrorist prisoners and gay rights.
The Prime Minister’s wife was condemned by supporters of the US President, after a speech to Harvard law students which contained a stinging rebuke to Bush, while on a lecture tour of the United States.
She attacked the manner in which the White House has dealt with the human rights of UK citizens detained at the US-run Camp X-Ray prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Blair said the decision by the US Supreme Court, fiercely opposed by Bush’s government, to give legal protection to two of the Britons detained at the camp was “profoundly important” and a “significant victory for human rights and the international rule of law”.
She took a sideswipe at Bush’s record on gay rights, condemning the arrest of a homosexual couple in the President’s home state of Texas, for defying a ban on gay sex. The US Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the law, which had been backed by Bush, was a “model of judicial reasoning”. Blair also called the US legal code an “outdated grandfather clock”.
The controversial speech was seen as flying in the face of long-held tradition that British political figures, and those close to them, do not criticise other countries during foreign visits.
Doing so just days before the US elections makes the intervention all the more embarrassing for Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as Bush.
Aren’t you tired of the whole world looking at shrub’s policies with a mixture of revulsion and disbelief? I am. Even our so-called allies share the disgust, even if most are too afraid of bush to speak up. So what’s next? Will Ronald Reagan rise from the grave to make an endorsement? Nothing can surprise me over the next three days, absolutely nothing.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.