This at the BBC. So, when he was 10, Blair’s father fell seriously ill. Blair prays for his atheist father with his headmaster.
“I said to him ‘Before we pray, I should tell you that my father, he doesn’t believe in God.
“And I always remember the headmaster saying to me ‘Well, that doesn’t matter because God believes in him'”.
He described the experience as having a “tremendous impact” on him.
The emotional trauma that a 10 year old has to endure when his father is seriously ill is a terrible thing. But if the impact of irrational words stays even after one grows up to be a influential politician, it is tragic and pathetic.
I am reminded of a scene in the novel Saturday by Ian McEwan. In one scene the highly sophisticated protogonist Henry Perowne, a neurosurgeon by profession, meets Mr Tony Blair at an art exhibition at Tate. Blair makes a blunder about the identity of Perowne. He thinks Perowne is a famous artist.
‘I really admire the work you’re doing,’ Blair says. ‘In fact, we’ve got two of your paintings hanging in Downing Street. Cherie and I adore them.’
Perowne disowns the identity immediately and watches as Blair’s face betrays a momentary panic induced by the recognition of the blunder. But, it is only momentary.