The story that emerged yesterday, that Tony Blair is planning to donate a substantial amount of revenue from his forthcoming publication of memoirs to a rehabitation unit for injured soldiers is a mediatic delight. It's poetic. It's political. It generates conversation, discussion and even motivates me to write a blog post!
I'm fascinated with the instinct - in myself and other observers - to judge Blair, to call it blood money for his guilty conscience, to assume that he's trying to buy himself a better place in history. Well, he may be... and it may be the job of commentators to comment. And comment sells better if it's outspoken, i suppose...
For my part, I want to try to remember that Blair stepped up to the plate, took difficult decisions that someone had to take, and lives with the consequences, if not now, then this is what eternal judgment is for. Whether he turns out to be only a cold and calculating media manipulator, or in fact a human being who was trying to make the world a better place, and who is now trying to make peace with his conscience, let's have mercy on our own souls, by choosing to withhold judgment of others... I'm told by a reliable source (that'd be Jesus...Matthew 7v1) that we will be judged by the same measures we use for judging others.
At certain levels of public life, (and if we're honest, in almost anything we do!) it's hard for motives to ever be totally pure. God alone knows the heart.
But Tony, if you're reading this, there's other important stuff in Matthew. Chapter 6v1 would be a start. "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
On the other hand, if you don't care about what the rest of us think, then your £4m is still money well spent! You could do worse than give the rest of it away too. There's a great social welfare system in this country, if ever you find you don't have enough to live on...
Who needs millions anyway? Pakistan, perhaps? Africa... Afghanistan... if you could get it to them. (Check out http://www.threecupsoftea.com/ ) I was just tonight reading about a mother of three who couldn't scrape together the 5p a week needed to access a micro-lending scheme in Ethiopia. Tony, if you want to make the world a better place, you have been given the means to do it.