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Blair ‘would have quit if dossier story true’

With a single bound, he’s once again overcome his latest ‘greatest test’, the Prime Minister who claims to be both responsible for everything, including all the decisions, but who didn’t know anything, or indeed take any of the decisions. Confused? That’s what we’re all meant to be.

What a performance. You’ve got to hand it to him, Teflon Tony, the wizard apprentice of Slick Willy. He really has become the Master.

However, this showdown today was never going to see Tony storming from the witness box to drive up to Windsor to tender his resignation to Her Majesty in a fit of petulance. He’s had the government’s finest lawyers and QCs rolling him over red-hot coals for five days, attacking him in every possible way, to prepare him for this, plus years of experience shrugging off John Humphrys et al, in hundreds of tough media interviews.

But Downing Street’s QCs haven’t been entirely successful mainly because Geoff Hoon refused to lie down and die, yesterday. Blair has therefore been forced to adopt the American presidential stand-by defence, the passive voice of deniability. Remember this?:

Mistakes were made.

Who made them? Everybody. Who in particular? Nobody in particular, and besides, it’s all water under the bridge anyway, so could we move on now, and draw a line under this whole thing?

Marvellous. But I’m afraid Mr Blair, that Mr Richard Nixon tried this line once too, and look what happened to him. I don’t know if there are any smoking tapes here, or whether Dr David Kelly was the Deep Throat of this piece, who had to be silenced by MI6, but there is something very rotten in the state of Denmark this day, and the smell is still very clearly emanating from 10 Downing Street. And it is not going to go away, however fond your hopes remain that it will.

You may even be telling the truth, most of the time. But nobody, including even you, knows when that is. Which 5% is the lying 5%? Or is it 10% of lies? Or is it 50% of lies? I know some of it is lies. But is all of it lies? Surely not? It’s so hard to tell as we watch that Cheshire-cat smile slide all over your face.

I do know two things for certain though, Mr Blair. You will never again see a glad confident morning, so long as you remain in British politics, and it’s going to be great fun watching you go down. Is that cruel of me? Possibly, but I’ve paid for the privilege and I’m going to make the most of it.

8 comments to Blair ‘would have quit if dossier story true’

  • Guy Herbert

    Isn’t it a good thing for that nice Mr Blair that his position was so well supported by Mr Scarlett, whose undoubted integrity as a completely independent witness everybody can agree on?

    (Except perhaps the Russian government that felt his presence in Moscow was incompatible with diplomatic status. — And even then he was only representing the interests of HMG, so that’s all right then…)

  • Good post, Andy. Immediately after Dr Kelly’s death I thought that the Beeb would cop it and the government would slide out of harm’s way. If anything, though, Hutton has been no less damaging for the government than the Beeb thusfar. It is difficult to call. I love every minute of it.

  • You think Hoon is not long for his job mb?

  • Dave O'Neill

    The polls in the Telegraph and other places suggest the Beeb can probably weather this with some localised blood letting. I suspect Hoon will have to go and rumour has it Campbell was on the way before all this.

    Blair’s slick, gotta give him that.

  • Verity

    Superb post, Andy. Couldn’t have put it any better – in fact, probably couldn’t have put it as well. Blair lies much more than 5% of the time. I’d put it at 30%-ish of the time. I don’t agree with The Telegraph’s Janet Daley who thinks he doesn’t know he’s lying, believing that he’s just making ‘presentational’ adjustments. I think he knows but thinks it’s OK because it’s in the cause of the greater good – world socialism and The Project. I also think he’s a craven coward and will allow anyone to go to the gallows for him. (Geoff Hoon, please copy…. Geoff? Uh, hello?) Remember how he hung Cherie out to dry and let his press office (taxpayer funded) brief against her for 10 days over Bristolgate before courageously coming to her rescue by saying self-righteously – yes, Blair never strays far from the Clinton script – that people should ‘draw a line under this and move on’.

  • Blair will survive this. He will almost certainly go on to win a third term to boot.

    Hoon, however, is probably going down.

  • G Cooper

    Guy Herbert writes:

    “Isn’t it a good thing for that nice Mr Blair that his position was so well supported by Mr Scarlett, whose undoubted integrity as a completely independent witness everybody can agree on?”

    Indeed. And it will be entirely on those merits that he will be appointed head of MI6 in the fullness of time.

    The fact that he is a Blair crony and is described by the professional liar Campbell as his “mate” is entirely coincidental.

    Oh, dear me, yes…

  • Andy Duncan

    David Carr writes:

    Blair will survive this. He will almost certainly go on to win a third term to boot.

    If he does, the British people will deserve him. I can’t see him hanging on, myself, and there’s a really good article about it by Rod Liddle in the Spectator, which I read on the way home (should be on the web tomorrow). Even if Gordon doesn’t get him, I think the sheer tedium of being alone will, especially once Campbell leaves after the Hutton report exonerates him (like Mr Micklethwait, my confidence in one arm of the state prosecuting another arm of state, isn’t that high).

    I would prefer a third term under Gordon Brown, if we must live under these people after the next election. That will be really disastrous for world socialism, and will be a real roller-coaster of political failure which should keep them out again for another 20 years, after it ends in spectacular failure about half-way through.

    But, as I’m a Carrite, I shall bow to your wisdom! 😉