Simon Carr: Commander Blair is now stratospheric. All we have to do is trust him

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The Independent Online

The ascension of Tony Blair into the next world is all but complete. His peer group has always been remote, consisting of an inner circle armed against the outer hordes. This coterie is now beyond Westminster, beyond Downing Street. It's the group of international politicians whose only real relaxation is to sit at the G8 table with their feet on the table swapping stories of their refractory governments at home.

How small must Parliament look from his height ­ ignorant, silly, twittering. Or to be more specific, Stephen Pound's silly, ignorant twittering (he asked Mr Blair to use all the resources of the Boy Scout movement in the war against terrorism).

It's important that we use every outlet in the propaganda battle, the Prime Minister told the House, and the Sketch is glad to be able to do its patriotic duty, affirming how stratospheric the man has become. Reason and resolve playing about his ennobled features. The coalition he has helped so much to build is a gang of the unlikeliest co-workers (he couldn't have pulled it off without his experience of Labour Party politics).

Iain Duncan Smith made a good job of rearranging the Prime Minister's words into a well-known speech on the subject.

The armed forces' sheer professionalism, courage, ability were praised, and not for the first time. A sly reference to Nato's importance was introduced (a marker for Mr Duncan Smith's opposition to the euro army), and a question was asked (and not really answered) about the state of Britain's preparedness for an attack on the home front.

"A cynical and suicidal cult dedicated to destruction," IDS called Osama bin Laden's network, and the situation seemed too serious even to attempt a comparison with the Tory party in its current malaise.

He did quite well, all told, Mr Duncan Smith. He's more of a person than his predecessor, it may be something to do with those big brown eyes of his.

But, call me naïve, his sense of decency doesn't appear to be completely fabricated, and his rhetorical reactions convey enough of the amateur to be convincing.

But goodness knows, Commander Blair will take some catching now, the new leader will need more than a Spitfire to follow him up where he now belongs.

Tory Keith Simpson asked, in light of the long haul ahead, whether the armed forces were going to be given the tools to do the job in terms of extra resources.

Mr Blair didn't quite answer that, but gave the impression that they would. Of course, this is what he is particularly good at. Not providing extra resources while giving the impression of providing extra resources.

Labour's Paul Marsden introduced a brilliantly discordant note by asking when we in Britain would enjoy a written constitution so that (and this caused a flurry of excited amusement) Parliament would declare war, when war was declared, and not the Prime Minister.

Mr Blair smiled, seraphically almost, that we had inalienable rights in this country. The man's untouchable.

There's only that nagging doubt, in our experience of what the Prime Minister says and what he the Prime Minister does. From the days of foot-and-mouth, from the promises to save the NHS, to raise education, education, education standards, standards, standards.

All we can do is trust. Feel better now?

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