Leading article: The buffoon was right

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The suggestion that the Prime Minister should have returned from his holiday to attend Robin Cook's funeral is, however, different. Of course, ministers and prime ministers are entitled to time off with their families. But there are a few obligations that should take priority. Call it hypocrisy, which is often another word for politeness, but a prime minister who attended the funeral of Ronald Reagan, whom he never even met, ought to attend the funeral of someone who has served in his Cabinet. That Tony Blair chose to stay by the beach was a posthumous snub to the former Foreign Secretary. Beyond that, though, it was simply poor form and bound to be widely recognised as such. It is inconceivable that, had the Prime Minister been facing the discipline of re-election, he would have stayed away. Mr Blair's reputation for personal courtesy has been damaged by his failure to accord Robin Cook's memory the respect that was deserved.

That all this was said from the pulpit by a buffoon in a purple suit does not make it any less true.

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