Egypt: Tony Blair’s support for coup sends wrong message on democracy | The big issue

Apologists are condoning the actions of the Egyptian army because they are backed by ‘the right sort of people’

Whether we (including Mr Blair) agree with him or not, President Morsi was elected by a majority with a mandate to make changes, more of a mandate it might be said than the coalition in Britain. But once in power he was denied the chance to rule effectively by a military that tied his hands and limited his powers, which in turn bred new discontent because he could not offer Blair-like “decisive” government. On the opposite page, Omar Ashour writes like a true democrat: also no supporter of Morsi, he highlights the danger of selecting who has the right to win an election and who doesn’t by making an analogy with Franco and the left in Spain.

What signal do apologists such as Blair send out to ordinary Muslims, who, having been told to use the ballot box, not bombs and bullets, see a coup condoned because its supporters are the “right sort of people”? Forget the contortions, Mr Blair, just shoot from the hip and don’t pretend to be a democrat.

Richard Woolley


North Yorkshire

You argue (“Egyptian army had no choice but to topple Morsi, says Blair“, News) that the uprising in Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood is viewed by the region’s Muslim population “as an indefensible coup organised by the Egyptian military establishment”. Not only does this ignore the millions in Egypt who rose up against the Brotherhood, it ignores the millions across the region who do not want their lives dictated by hard-line Islamists with an anti-women, anti-freedom agenda and who want to live in a secular society based on tolerance and liberty.

The extraordinary accommodation of so many Europeans who style themselves “liberal” and “progressive” with reactionary Islamists is another story, but don’t insult those in the Middle East who are fighting this reaction.

Simon Jarrett


Greater London

Tony Blair applauds the Egyptian army’s “removal” of democratically elected President Morsi on the ground that the only alternative is “chaos”. By chaos, he means the “virtual disappearance” of law and order, “not properly functioning” public services and a “tanking” economy. And he recognises these problems of “efficacy” are compounded by “resentment at the ideology and intolerance of the Muslim Brotherhood”.

In fact, the instability and monthly casualties were greater during the interim military regime that preceded Morsi’s election. The inevitable backlash of mass protests by cheated Morsi supporters will ensure continued chaos, which the army, like Morsi, will be unable to prevent. Blair’s assertion that “there is probably a majority for an intrinsically secular approach to government in the region” is unsupported and implausible.

Since most Egyptians voted only a year ago for conservative, Islamist parties, it is difficult to see how new elections can produce a stable, non-Islamist government.

New democracies in many poor countries have faced and continue to face similar problems for decades. The Egyptian army should have given Morsi a lot longer than a year to create stability before staging a coup. Blair is misguided, morally and politically, to applaud it.

Joseph Palley



Democracy, as Winston Churchill said, is the worst form of government – except for all the others. Those most certainly include military coups. Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected. His policies may not have pleased everyone and there may indeed have been problems with law and order during his brief tenure of power. None of that excuses the army takeover or his imprisonment.

The army is now having the dumbfounding cheek to complain about people using force against them when they have unilaterally displaced a legitimate government. Tony Blair and other apologists for these strong-arm tactics should be ashamed of themselves.

Andrew McLuskey


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