That's cosmic - Blair gives lift to Scientology

The Sunday Times/January 21, 2007
By Robert Booth

At least somebody still thinks that Tony Blair is an image-booster. Supporters of the church of Scientology have got him to pose unwittingly with a DVD promoting the aims of L Ron Hubbard, its founder.

A picture of the prime minister, standing beside a high-ranking Scientologist, appears on an American website popular with supporters of the controversial church. The photo was taken in the garden of the Catholic church attended by the Blair family during their holiday in Barbados last summer.

The DVD, Youth for Human Rights, plays regularly in the foyer of Scientology's new London headquarters and bears a quotation from Hubbard, who taught that humans are descended from beings from a distant galaxy.

It illustrates the 1948 United Nations declaration of human rights — with one boy supposedly exercising his freedom of thought by saying: "I believe in aliens, of course."

This weekend Guy Grant, the man posing with Blair, explained his publicity coup: "I mentioned the Youth for Human Rights movement because it's something everybody can get behind.

"The following Sunday I gave [the DVD] to him and said it would be great if this could be introduced across the world. I said watch it with your children. Mr Blair seemed to take it with great grace." A Downing Street spokesman said: "The prime minister has no involvement with this organisation. He was simply being polite."

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