Blair’s memoir – pretentiously called A Journey – is published today, without serialisation and seemingly without too much spin.  So this morning the blogosphere and twittersphere are strangely mute as everyone pops down to Waterstones and starts to burrow around in their own copies looking for the fools gold of a scoop.

Predictably, the early stories are all about Gordon Brown as if the only thing that any longer matters about Tony Blair is just how big a fruitcake he thought the man he allowed to run the Treasury for 10 years (or should that be the country) to be. Perhaps because they have so thoroughly been analysed for so long, we no longer care about Blair’s deeds, only his opinions. Of Brown. Of Alistair Campbell. Of President George W Bush.  Of the last, it seems safe to say that if the former president were running for the leadership of the Labour Party, then Mr Blair’s dilemmas over which way to vote would be resolved.

As it is, Mr Blair fights shy of endorsing David Miliband in the current contest, which is actually taking place, as opposed to offering a sort of retrospective thumbs up for him running against Gordon Brown in 2007, in a leadership election that never happened.  I am not quite sure of the logic of this since it appears to say that Miliband was good enough to be prime minister three years ago, but you can’t necessarily trust him to be the leader of the opposition today. The difference today, I suppose, is that Gordon Brown is no longer prime minister, so the urgent imperative to replace him with anyone or anything –  a plastic garden gnome if nothing else – is no longer there.

The answer we really want from Blair of course – which I have no doubt he slips and slides away from – is why, if he was so convinced that Brown was a menace did he sustain him in power for so long, in the Treasury, where he refused to sack him, or in Downing Street, to where, with his connivance, Brown was able to sashay with such consummate ease? Since we know that Iraq does not weigh on the Blair conscience, one wonders whether that one does.


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