Concerned Over Protests, Tony Blair Cancels Book Party at the Tate Modern


2010 was clearly shaping up to be the year of the big protests outside of major British museums, but then Tony Blair had to muck it all up and ruin it for everyone. Following this summer’s events and fake-oil dumpings both inside and out of places like the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate Britain, where protesters were angry over museums’ financial affiliations with oil giant BP and its connection to the Gulf of Mexico spill, the Tate Modern looked to be next on the list after it was learned that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted to host a party there to celebrate the release of his new book. Though this protest was to be about Blair’s involvement in the war in Iraq and not the BP spill, either way, it was likely to be a big event with lots of yelling and placards. But following an angry showing in Ireland the week before, where eggs and shoes were thrown at the former politician, the event was called off at the Tate, citing Blair’s concern for his guests (“I don’t mind going through protesters — I have lived with that all my political life. But for other people it can be a bit unpleasant and frightening”). Of course, now the story has gone both ways, with letters back and forth in the Guardian both pro and con, and op-eds like Keith Weir‘s “Has the Blair Backlash Gone Too Far?” Whatever your thoughts on the matter, we think it’s easy to agree that it’s disappointing that we couldn’t make 2010 the year everyone was mad and standing outside of British museums.