Final Word

In the end the response from Save the Children wasn't satisfying, but it was, like everything that relates to Blair indicative of how difficult it is for anyone to admit responsibility for bad judgment and lousy decision making.  Coincidentally the delay to the Iraq Inquiry was debated Thursday 29th January.  Therefore it may be some time before Blair moves off the front pages.  Below is the final word from Miranda Pinch:

Dear friends,

I am writing to you all from Jerusalem. I have been in Israel and the West Bank for the past 10 days with a very full programme, which is why I have been unable to work on this before.

I received a public statement from Save the Children on Monday 19th January, which I returned to them as it was much too long and did not give the straight forward apology that I had expected. Brendon Cox did reply a few days later with a slightly revised version and I have been unable to get the statement amended any further.

THEREFORE HERE is an abridged version of the Save The Children UK statement. You can read the full statement here -

'We wanted to respond to you and your fellow signatories and to apologise for the upset that this award has caused.

As you know, this was a decision made by Save the Children US and although we were made aware of the decision, and we passed on the invite to his office at their request, we weren't part of the decision making process. IN RETROSPECT WE SHOULD HAVE FORESEEN THE CONTROVERSY THIS MIGHT GENERATE.

For a number of reasons this is not a decision Save UK would have taken.

This isn't because Tony Blair doesn't deserve recognition for the leadership he showed on Africa – he does - but because his other actions, particularly those on Iraq which Save the Children opposed strongly at the time, overshadow how the public see him in the UK.

In the US his public profile is very different and therefore it’s possible to disentangle his actions on Africa from his broader track record. In the UK this is more difficult

Finally, we wanted to reassure you that work is ongoing within the global Save the Children movement to look at what lessons can be learnt as we want nothing to distract us from our work to make this world a better place for children and their families. '

As you can see, this was not quite the straightforward apology about the failure of judgement on the part of Justin Forsyth that we had hoped for, but it does go some way in accepting some responsibility and in admitting that lessons have been learned.

I know many of you were disappointed that I was not able to achieve more. Sadly a UK petition of just under 125,000 was not enough to put much pressure on the US via the UK and the person who comes out of this whole affair really badly is Tony Blair himself. He must have realised that accepting such an award was controversial and having been made aware of this petition, he still chose not return it of his own volition. That, I believe, confirms what an inappropriate recipient he was.

It was never my intention to demonize Save the Children as they do perform a lot of good work around the globe. I had hoped that for their own sake the UK might have put more pressure on the USA to rescind the award so that they could regain some of the trust and goodwill that they had before.

Best wishes