Matthew Norman on Monday: Tony, the world's just not big enough for you
Hats off to The Independent on Sunday's Jane Merrick for a fine contribution to the fascinating struggle to work out who, precisely, Mr Tony Blair thinks he is. Contemplating all the recent Blairite pleas to be gissa'd a job, Jane concludes that he is the £20-£50m per annum income bracket's answer to Yosser Hughes.
It's hard to disagree with that. It would be no surprise now to find the former PM whispering, "I could do that" in Graeme Souness's shell-like in a Sky Sports studio.
The rhetorical question with Mr T is the one asked in the Supergran theme song: is there nothing that he cannae do? But what on earth will he do? Lesser men would regard his vindication over Mr Assad, for whom we learn he wished to fix an honorary knighthood, as a cue to bank a matchless reputation for geopolitical nous, bow out of public affairs, and devote himself to pleasure. Yet this is too colossal a figure to rest on his altruistic laurels, and it is agonising to watch him beg for seemly work in interviews like Saturday's cri de coeur with the Financial Times.
From his perplexed tone at being overlooked for important posts, you suspect his fictional role model is an even earlier paradigm of broken dreams than Yosser. Mr Tony, ever ready for his close up, is the Norma Desmond of disregarded global statesmen. He is still big. It's the world that got small.
Take some advice on legal affairs, Ed
If that erstwhile barrister wants to make himself useful, Mr Tony might advise Ed Miliband on legal affairs. On the weekend, seeking a clever contrast with bankers who go unpunished after costing us untold billions, Ed mentioned that people who shoplift goods worth £50 "go straight to prison". No they do not. It may be an engaging fantasy with Anthony Worrall-Thompson in mind, but they seldom go as far as court. If they do, a small fine, or community service for repeat offenders, is as draconian as it gets. Ire towards the bankers hardly needs inflaming with babyish drivel, and Little Ed is directed to Christopher Hitchens's fabled rebuke to his friend Martin Amis. Don't. Be. Silly.
Marcos makes his mark
Sporting Villain of the Week is Marcos Baghdatis, who effectively gifted Andy Murray the last two games on Saturday night to ensure their match finished just minutes after that gloriously daffy 11pm curfew. The Cypriot robbed a viewing public of the worst mob violence in Centre Court history. Had the match been postponed, crowd mentality psychologists would have regarded a slow handclap as inevitable, while three deranged spinsters in Come On Tim! T-shirts would have had a crack at ironic hissing.
Do us a favour, Nadine
So far as our most beloved Nadine Dorries, we here at SOD (Save Our Dorries) HQ begin to feel like Jehovah in the joke about the synagogue-goer who week after week begs Him to win the lottery. After the fourth prayer, the clouds part and a basso profundo voice thunders, "Hymie, for heaven's sake, meet me halfway. Buy a f****** ticket".
Nadine's Mid-Beds seat will vanish at the next election, but she does nothing to help us find her a replacement by lacerating George Osborne for his cowardice in throwing Chloe Smith to the Paxonian wolves in the Mail on Sunday. It's a fair point, but it isn't doing SOD any favours. Nadine, for heaven's sake, meet us halfway. Buy a f****** gag. That or cross the floor, and join George Galloway on the Respect bench opposite.
Bless you, Michael
Not everyone agrees that Chloe's Newsnight appearance was a fiasco. The Guardian's Michael White thought she did fine, ending his thoughts with a cheering "Well done Smithy!" In Britain, Michael is almost a lone practitioner of that style of punditry which takes the contra-intuitive line in the quest to appear above the fray and fearsomely individualistic. It's a more popular journalistic form in the US, where various geniuses have explained why the survival of the Affordable Care Act is a catastrophe for Obama, but we don't get enough of it here. Well done, Whitey!
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