In George Galloway’s new documentary film The Killings of Tony Blair we are treated to a rather monotonous one and half hour spectacle in which a dead horse gets well and truly flogged. Anyone tempted to watch the feature on the understandable premise of it perhaps containing anything that hasn’t already been repeated ad nauseam elsewhere will unfortunately be left disappointed. However a viewing shouldn’t be suspended if a supremely contrived manner of presentation of these warn out accusations is really what the viewer is seeking. The broken record of ‘Bush and Blair lied, Iraqis died’ has never had the volume cranked so high and for so long a duration.
This is not to say that the noble intention of shedding insight and bringing democratic accountability to bear on figures of power such as Tony Blair is not a welcome and necessary journalistic undertaking. However simply put the rogues gallery of figures who are trotted out to make the case alongside the inquisitor in chief, the much disgraced George Galloway, makes the whole proceedings a rather difficult one to stomach let alone attempt to take seriously. The stench of one sided narrative has never been so pungent, as characters such as Ken Livingstone, Will Self, Noam Chomsky and Seamus Milne (Jeremy Corbyn’s head of coms who lest in be forgot published an article in the Guardian lamenting that the death toll of Stalin’s Russia is too often over egged) engage in some rather visceral and unreflective group thinking. Sadly Stephen Fry also joins the chorus in a rather bizarre move that in time might be able to be forgiven.
As noted the impressively incurious and unoriginal nature of the piece is not likely to persuade either way anyone who’s already more or less familiar with the relevant facts surrounding the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as Blair’s subsequent lucrative career in public consultancy. Most the film centres around not so much seriously critiquing but instead launching disgust in a scatter gun fashion, at the issue of western realpolitik, without pausing for breath at any point to ask if their might be any merit or any words that could possibly be said in defence of the practice of trying to work with foreign dictators to bring about change, rather than just completely disengaging with the wider world and hoping for the best. Indeed it would be nice to think that even a critic of Tony Blair’s foreign policy would agree that most of the serious questions approached by the film are in this regard left largely untouched.
Though what’s more is that the film allows Galloway to repeat many of the distasteful slanders with regards to the Iraq war that should disgust viewers of all reasonable political opinion. The fanatical Islamist forces of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Shia Madhi army are glibly referred to as the ‘Iraqi resistance’ and all of their sectarian mass murder is not just blamed on the negligence of the coalition forces, but instead is alleged to have been orchestrated by the British and American armed forces. Conveniently Galloway’s own past public praise for Saddam Hussein and the financial irregularities of his charity the ‘Mariam Appeal’, that was receiving funds from the Saddam dictatorship leading subsequently to the expulsion of Galloway from the Labour Party, are unsurprisingly left without comment throughout the documentary, admittedly an apt move on Galloway’s behalf lest he be accused of being a glaring hypocrite.
Dir: Sanne van den Bergh, Daniel Turl, Greg Ward
Featuring: George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, Will Self, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Fry
Prd: George Galloway, Gayatri Pertiwi
Run time: 95 mins
The Killings of Tony Blair is currently showing at selected cinemas and released on DVD & Digital HD on 15th August.