Hard decisions

I remember Tony Blair frequently telling the nation that from time to time leaders have to make hard decisions and that he was the person responsible for making them. That was his job. He had to make hard decisions. 

Gordon Brown also thinks it is necessary to convince the nation that he is no softie and is also capable of making the hard decisions that the country expects him to make. In the United States George Bush also talks about how he can and does make hard decisions.  

The phrase “hard decisions” is not particularly full of meaning; like many words that come out of the mouths of politicians it can mean various things and I suppose that the politicians who talk to us about making “hard decisions” expect everyone to interpret their speech in a general way that implies that the decisions are so difficult and so complex that it takes a person of exceptional ability to make them. 

Saying you can make a hard decision is a boast and we should do well to remember that most boasts are the empty words of cowards.  

So when Mr Blair aligned himself (and us) with an indiscriminate bombing campaign of shock and awe, was that a “hard decisions” for him? It was certainly a hard decision for those being bombed, which included the innocent in greater numbers that the guilty. I think that it might have been a hard decision to make if people that Mr Blair knew and loved were put at risk by the bombing, instead of the faceless foreign masses. 

I have seen a picture of Mr Blair recently; he has entered the Catholic Church, but I expect that was not a hard decision for him, but it would have been a hard decision for him if he had converted to Catholicism while in office. Mr Blair looked worn out, and I think that is probably inevitable after ten years as Prime Minister.  

I saw Mr Brown and Mr Bush on television tonight when they paid homage to Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated today. Gordon Brown appeared pale, thin and worn out. His words were fine but he did not speak well. He had the appearance of a man made ill by politics.

George Bush seemed, after seven years of leading the world’s most powerful nation, to be speaking without feeling and without conviction, a caricature of himself. In the years that these leaders have been in office they have had to make hard decisions about many problems.

They have had to protect their nations from serious criminality, now designated as terrorism, such as of the kind that killed Benazir Bhutto today, and from the competing interests of other nations. They have had to maintain and increase the prosperity of their people, and make life better and safer for them.They have had to retain the loyalty of their supporters and appear to have done so in soem cases by distasteful means, as all politicians seem to resort to, however noble their purpose. All these are difficult tasks.

These politicians, like most politicians in power or close to it have believed that the ends justify the means that they employ, and with that belief they have faced and taken decisions that have proved very hard for many innocents affected by them. But whatever hard decisions they have made they ignore the most pressing decision of all.

All of these leaders (even George Bush) have said that climate change is the most serious pressing and important problem facing mankind today. I presume that they believe their own words. Coping with climate change requires making a tough decision which will impact upon everyone. That is the decision is to forego certain luxuries now for the sake of future generations.

Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George Bush are not making this hard decision about climate change that needs to be made, and quickly too, otherwise our descendants will pay for our pleasures.

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