This blog began with a piece suggesting Tony Blair was genuinely troubled by his disastrous Iraq mess, probably more by the consequences than the lying that got us into it. The Knife still thinks that Blair is nothing like as comfortable about it as he appears to be. A grim hint of this appeared here.
When the splendid satirical drama-documentary The Trial of Tony Blair came out, in early 2007, when Blair was actually still PM, he had become massively unpopular, and clearly knew it. Much as I enjoyed Robert Lindsay’s rendition of Blair’s peculiar gibbering manner, it was of course satire. Genuine biting satire, not the smug Have I Got News For You rubbish.
It’s never really gone away though. From my lofty vantage point as one who always thought Blair was a bizarre con trick – though I never thought he and his mates would be quite as bad as they turned out to be – I welcome all the repentant sinners who did vote him in, three times, and now won’t get off his back.
Hence a certain pleasure at the latest iteration in the Daily Mail, on how Blair might indeed end up in the dock, a theme currently being pursued by an unlikely combination of notorious chancers, Desmond Tutu and the SNP.
Given that one of Blair’s greatest domestic crimes was to inflict the unholy triad of Campbell, Mandelson and Brown on an unsuspecting nation, I particularly liked this bit:
In desperation, Blair called up his old attack dog, Alastair Campbell, whose alleged role in the sexing up of two crucial dossiers filled with unsubstantiated claims about Saddam Hussein’s threat to the UK had been so controversial.
Blair begged his old press secretary to launch a full-on media assault against Mrs Smith, aimed at trashing her reputation, just as so many other humble opponents of New Labour had been smeared.
But the ploy backfired. A remarkably well-informed blog about the call appeared on a popular political website.
Had Campbell sensed which way the wind was blowing, and leaked the information? Whatever, within minutes it was trending on Twitter. And that’s when public disgust turned to fury.
It became politically impossible for the Crown Prosecution Service to deny Mrs Smith her day in court.
Alastair Campbell, ruthless, lying and self-preserving? Surely not.