God Save Tony Blair

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is beginning to resemble Winston Churchill.

In an age when most politicians put their fingers up to measure the shifting winds of public opinion, Blair has stood firm in his belief that Saddam Hussein's murderous regime must be disarmed and toppled.

Polls show that support for Blair -- even in his own party -- has dropped significantly. The British press has been especially hard on him. The Daily Mirror portrayed Blair with blood on his hands. This is not the kind of press any politician seeks.

At a gathering of his labor party in Glasgow, Scotland last week, Blair said, "I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honor, but sometimes it is the price of leadership and the cost of conviction."

Responding to the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators last weekend in London, Blair said, "Don't look at the parody of what George Bush has done. Look at the reality."

He went on to detail the patience demonstrated by President Bush and the diplomatic route he has taken to try to resolve the crisis.

Blair rebuked the protestors when he said, "I actually believe that some of the rhetoric I hear about America is more savage than some of the rhetoric I hear about Saddam and the Iraqi regime."

Last month, the prime minister responded to critics who said the coming war is about oil. Said Blair, "It would definitely be simpler to cut a deal with Saddam, who would be delighted to give us access to as much oil as we wanted if he could carry on building weapons of mass destruction."

At other moments in history there have been those who seek accommodation with evil at any price in exchange for a false peace, which is no peace at all.

When speaking of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the failure of the League of Nations to stop him, Winston Churchill said, "The malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weaknesses of the virtuous."

He added: "If you will not fight when victory will be sure and not too costly, you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

So that's why I've wrapped myself in the British flag and why I give a hearty "hear, hear" to the current prime minister's courageous stand.

God save the Queen? God save Tony Blair!

And that's Column One for this week.

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