Leading article: Retirement plans

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The Independent Online

Who says the Third Way was a load of nonsense, cooked up to give a patina of ideological respectability to New Labour's impatient lurch to power? Just consider what Tony Blair has been up to lately. Since leaving Downing Street, our former prime minister has made his peace with God through his conversion to the Catholic Church. And now he has made his peace with mammon too (or at least his bank manager), by taking on a reported £500,000 a year job with the US investment bank JP Morgan.

That little subvention should go nicely with the advance from the memoirs deal and the small change that rolls in from addressing the odd conference. Oh, and don't forget the mission to bring peace to the Israelis and Palestinians as Middle East envoy for the Quartet. What better way for the former prime minister to repudiate charges that he is an incorrigible warmonger?

It has been an expert operation. One suspects that all that time when we were told Mr Blair was planning his "legacy" in Downing Street, what he was really working out was his retirement.

But that's the problem: the calculation and the hard work. Retirement should be a time for pursuits that one never had time to follow while bound by the steel cords of a hectic work schedule. The retired should be able to discard caution; catch up with old enthusiasms; let it all hang out, so to speak.

Forget earnest religion, the dreary boardroom and the diplomatic treadmill. What we really want, Mr Blair, is a reunion of the Ugly Rumours.