The Re-Engagement

John Rentoul

tb 300x199 The Re EngagementPeter Popham has a good article at The Daily Beast on Tony Blair’s evil conspiracy to subvert the British way of life by “re-engaging” in UK politics. I agree with it, which is hardly surprising as I spoke to Popham and he quotes me in it.

What I thought was interesting was that a quotation from an anonymous source “close to” Blair, combined with the single fact that Blair has appointed a head of communications to replace Matthew Doyle,* registered quite so powerfully on the Blair Media-o-meter.

As Popham points out, the most violent reaction was from Norman Tebbit, who listed Blair’s achievements as Prime Minister: “Debt, war, ignorance, welfare dependency, social division.”

Which means that Blair now divides not one party but two. In recent weeks Blairite Tories have compared David Cameron with The Master and found the padawan wanting on competence and rigour. It is hard to imagine, for example, Blair having set up the Leveson inquiry and then realising long after the deadline has passed that he might want to apply for “core participant” status for himself.

As for Blair’s “re-engagement”, it is not as if he ever went away. He was on Newsnight the other night criticising the Government for limiting the tax relief on charitable donations, for example.

Obviously I think it would be in the national interest if Blair were to take a greater part in national debates, but I doubt how much truth British politics could stand.

*Update: apologies for failing to credit David Singleton at Public Affairs News for the original story.

Photograph: Dan Kitwood, WPA-pool / Getty Images

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  • Mark Hewitt

    Tell me,  do you honestly think that the problem with Saddam was going to go away. Of course, not!

    Why was Saddam trying to build a new missile system before the War started?

    Saddam was never going to give up his ambitions of becoming the new Saladin. Once, the UN Sanctions process broke down (and they would have), Saddam would have had free reign to fully re-arm with French and Russian connivance.

    As for the WMDs themselves, the important matter was that the facilities to produce the weapons were still very much in place.

    There has been some worrying incidents in the Middle East after the war. For example, in May 2004, a chemical weapons attack on Jordan by Al Queda was foiled. There is not much doubt where the material for that attack came from – Iraq.

    Blair took the brave and  the right decision in 2003. A final war with Saddam was always going to happen. By doing it in 2003, the West probably saved millions of lifes and spent a lot less than it would have had to have done. 

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