See link http://uk.news.yahoo.com/07092006/325/blair-quit-year.html.
I could almost bring myself to feel sorry for Blair. His premiership is ending in a way that reinforces Enoch Powell's jeremiad about 'all political careers ending in tragedy'.
Don't get me wrong. In my book he's the worst PM this country has had in 100 years, and he has had this distinction ever since May 1997 - indeed he had it before he ever took office. He has always been more interested in image than substance and such a person is bound to be seen through sooner or later.
The wonder is that so many were taken in for so long, both in Britain and overseas, especially in my much loved USA. I can only assume that the 'commentariat' here had invested so much emotional capital in the overthrow of Thatcherism and its Major offshoot that they were prepared to support almost anyone who was (a) presentable and (b) visibly not connected with either. Blair at first was a blank screen onto which they could project all their own desires and imagine to themselves that he felt like they did. He was at pains to foster and sustain this illusion throughout.
Americans saw in him the ultimate 'Friend of Bill' who was able with astonishing ease to become the faithful shadow of George W. Bush. That this inconsistency spoke volumes about his attitude to politics was ignored as he made all the right sounds about 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Yet look at the substance. He has engaged in more foreign adventures requiring the commitment of troops than any PM since WW2. At the same time he has presided over the shrinkage in real terms of the Defence budget, putting the same forces under massive strain facing mortal danger with antiquated or inadequate equipment - Result ? increasing and avoidable casualties.
Blair claims to support the family as an institution. Evidence? He has 4 children. Yet the incidence of state interference in family life is on a scale never seen before, while we have daily examples of escalating violence being perpetrated by youngsters in primary school. They are often aware of their 'human rights' but have no conception of their responsibility to respect others' rights. Blair calls for 'a respect agenda' but his government's social policy seems designed to prevent the imposition of 'respect' by parents or teachers upon youngsters. Instead it sees salvation in another massive, costly and vastly intrusive Children's Index database and an Orwellian system of cameras.
How's that lot to be going on with - and I haven't mentioned the 'Open Door' and 'multiculturalism' yet