The Sketch: Friendly piffle from a nice young man

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The Independent Online

"Much done, much to do" is a remarkably useful Blair-bite. It's been applied to the reform of the National Health Service, the targets on 11-year-old reading levels and now to the invasion of Iraq.

Morally agile and rhetorically flexible, our Prime Minister is really worth watching. What will he come up with next? What mysterious position, for instance, is he building by his frequent repetition: "It is not military action that will create the humanitarian disaster"?

When asked about post-war reconstruction he always makes this point. It's nothing to do with the bombs. We've done nothing destructive.

It's not down to us that the place is going to be wrecked; it's already wrecked. It's not our fault. He's building a position so that he can sincerely believe in it later. He's very good at believing in things so he can be sincere about them. In legal language this is called "guilty but insane".

When he was asked about anti-Americanism he referred to it as "so-called anti-Americanism". That was a moment of light relief. "I think when people sit down and think about it, they aren't anti-American," he explained.

What kind of world view does our Prime Minister entertain these days? He is now saying a bi-polar world is extremely dangerous. Actually, the term he used was "profoundly dangerous".

If Europe and America don't agree a common agenda (based on Tony Blair's view of justice) this bi-polarity will destabilise the world.

There is a totalitarian element in Tony Blair that he almost succeeds in hiding. But look, he says: our values are not Labour values, or even Western values. They are universal values. That is, everyone in the world, given the chance, wants to live in Islington.

Of course it's crackers. What would he do if the democratic system he has planned for Iraq produced a fundamentalist government based on sharia law?

He says it just won't happen. Why not? Because, he says: "People want to live under a broad-based government rather than trying to impose their will on other people."

We listen to this friendly piffle because the Prime Minister is such a nice young man. He sincerely believes in what he is saying. He has values. He wants the best for people. Oh, and the moral case.

There was a report on Sunday that British colorectal cancer victims were dying more quickly than they might have hoped because their operations were being delayed.

You can buy an awful lot of operations for the money they're using for regime change in Iraq. I'm not sure that a bedside Mr Blair could explain this moral calculation to a dying taxpayer, however genuine his sincerely held reasons were.

It's perfectly possible to be in favour of this war; but the more one listens to Mr Blair the more difficult it becomes.