It's a funny old world for Tony Blair, and no mistake

Share

"The funny thing about this Hutton business," said the man with the dog, as he settled down with his pint, "is that you see people getting up in Parliament and banging the table and saying that there is one question the Government refuses to answer! And I think to myself, 'No, he's wrong - there are dozens and dozens of questions the Government refuses to answer!'"

"Like what?" said the lady with the green hairdo, still drinking her whisky macs.

"Like, when is Tony Blair going to resign?"

"Never," said the green lady. "That was easy. Next one!"

"All right, put it another way. If Andrew Gilligan made a bit of a mistake about David Kelly, why was it any more or less of a mistake than Blair's misunderstanding of the intelligence about the WMDs and the 45-minute preparation and all that stuff?"

"Are you comparing Blair to Gilligan?" asked the Major, getting whisky over his moustache.

"I certainly am. Except that the only death you could blame on Gilligan's mistake was Dr Kelly's, whereas if Blair got it wrong about the WMDs and all that, he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqis."

"It's a waste of time even discussing it," said the resident Welshman. "Waiting for our Mr Blair to change his mind or own up or admit fault over anything is a fruitless task. He sometimes gets as far as saying, 'Mistakes have been made.' He never gets as far as saying, 'I made a mistake.'"

"He always looks so charming and reasonable," said the green lady. "Whatever he is talking about, he is always smiling, as if you are a foreigner and he's showing you the way."

"I think everyone is taught to smile these days," said the Major. "I've noticed it on programmes like Newsnight. Even when Jeremy Paxman is really laying into them, they always smile in response, though you can often tell they're boiling with fury underneath. My theory is that whoever coaches people for telly appearances tells them to 'Smile, Smile, Smile!'."

"You couldn't tell from Blair's expression that he's a warmonger, could you?" said the man with the dog. "In his time at Downing Street he's got us into three military operations: Kosovo, Afghanistan and this one. Whereas Maggie Thatcher, who was always supposed to be the one for confrontation, only ever got us into the Falklands, and that's because we were attacked. Not that she ever smiled much."

"Of course, Blair has only ever dragged us into wars on the Americans' coat-tails," said the Welshman. "At least the Falklands War was an all-British production. We think of the Gulf Wars as being at least co-British, but they're not - they're like those films which you think are British because they've got Hugh Grant in them, and then turn out to be 100 per cent American-controlled. Bit depressing, really."

"Not so depressing as the prospect of going through another inquiry," said the green lady. "We all enjoyed Hutton so much that now we've got Butler coming up. Don't we ever learn? These inquiries never answer any questions. And yet we always clamour for another one."

"You know what I think?" said the Major. "I think we ought to find these weapons of Saddam's that were supposed to be capable of being ready at 45 minutes' notice, and give them to the Ministry of Defence for them to copy. My God, if the MoD could have anything ready in less than six months!"

"Or give them to our railways to copy," said the Welshman. "It would be nice to have a few trains ready at 45 minutes' notice."

"That's where Blair is so different from Mussolini," said the man with the dog.

This was such an unexpected remark that we all turned to him for explanation.

"Mussolini invaded Abyssinia," he said, "and Blair invaded Iraq. So far, so similar. But Mussolini made the trains run on time. That is quite beyond Blair."

We all fell silent, trying to work out if this was a fair comparison or not. By the time the conversation had resumed, it had mysteriously got on to Alex Ferguson and racehorses instead.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

John Rentoul
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...