CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O HAS ANNOUNCED THAT, NEXT WEEK, HE IS GOING TO BE FOCUSING ON JOBS.
IF HE DID SO, THAT WOULD BE A BIG SHIFT.
BUT HE HAS MADE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT REPEATEDLY THROUGHOUT HIS DO-LITTLE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE TERM. HE MADE THAT ANNOUNCEMENT, FOR EXAMPLE, AFTER SCOTT BROWN WON HIS SENATE ELECTION, HE MADE IT AFTER THE 2010 MIDTERMS, HE . . .
HE LOVES TO SAY HE IS ABOUT TO START FOCUSING ON JOBS, HE JUST NEVER ACTUALLY FOCUSES ON JOB.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
While many were clearly veteran activists -- the Socialist Workers party had a notable presence -- the crowd was mixed. Jackie, from Essex, had stopped by to wave a "Bliar" placard for 20 minutes before heading to her job at a City law firm.
"I'm not ashamed of it but I don't make a point of publicising it," she said. "I don't think there is much hope anything will come of this. It's all starting to look very much like an establishment cover-up."
More hopeful was the veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent, who said he believed Chilcot's blocked attempts to release the former prime minister's correspondence with President George Bush, plus doubts about Blair's testimony raised by the former attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, indicated the establishment was starting to turn on Bair.
He said: "I'm not so interested in seeing him in court. I think Blair now knows that the infamy will follow him around forever. I think he's starting to realise that the end is not coming -- that lovely smile is not going to see him through this time,
"It's something of a Shakespearean tragedy. He came into power with such possibilities to transform the country. All those things he could have done and he squandered billions of pounds and thousands of lives to be a sort of second lieutenant to Bush"
Whether he led straight, however, is more doubtful. It is becoming ever clearer that No 10 spun the country along, not merely by hyping intelligence, but also by committing to the Americans in private while at the same time insisting to people and the parliament that no decision had been made. The general idea of a promise as an undertaking that is not to be given until it is certain it can be honoured was yesterday turned on its head by Mr Blair. "I was going to continue giving absolute and firm commitment until the point at which definitively I couldn't," he explained. He was free, easy and indeed creative with the detail – for example, singling out Iraq's bar on scientists meeting UN inspectors as the "key issue" on the eve of war, when that problem had in fact been resolved by then. It will be open to the committee to damn him with the detail should it choose to do so.
Almost eight years later, there were barely 100 protesters gathered outside the conference centre at Westminster as Tony Blair returned to the Iraq inquiry for the second time.
The five member panel led by Sir John Chilcot were seeking some clarifications, specifically about private letters between the former Prime Minister and the then President of the United States George Bush - correspondence written, in the year before the war.
TONY BLAIR: So what I was saying to him is, 'I'm going to be with you in handling it this way', right? 'I'm not going to push you down this path and then back out when it gets too hot, politically, because it is going to get hot politically, for me very, very much so'.
EMMA ALBERICI: Earlier in the week, Tony Blair's own attorney general told the inquiry that Mr Blair's claims in the House of Commons that Britain did not need a United Nations resolution explicitly authorising force were not compatible with his legal advice.
Lord Goldsmith told the inquiry that he felt uncomfortable about the way the Prime Minister ignored his official legal advice when making his case for war to the British people.
Tony Blair, who is now the Special Envoy to the Middle East representing the United Nations, the US, the European Union and Russia, said the war in Iraq could not be used to explain the rise in Islamic extremism. And he told a shocked roomful of grief stricken relatives of those killed in Iraq, that the experiences there should not make the world reluctant to invade Iran.
The specifics and the evidence, including new evidence published today, are against Blair. The evidence makes clear that he was seeking regime change from an early stage.
Opening questions sought to establish when Blair took the decision to pursue a policy that was likely to lead to war and what part the cabinet played. Martin Gilbert asked exactly when Blair took this decision. Blair waffled and evaded the question.
When it came to the way that Blair kept most of his cabinet out of the loop, the tables were turned. Had the cabinet seen the March 2002 options paper, leaked but still officially unpublished, which set out the plan that led to war? Could Blair point to a cabinet discussion of the paper? He could not. So how did Blair expect the cabinet to take an informed view? Blair waffled further, disputing "the notion that people weren't debating and discussing the issue". The cabinet knew what the policy was.
Next week, hopefully Monday's snapshot, we'll address the remarks he made in relation to other issues and how Tony Blair may not be the poodle because a good argument can be made that he's the one who pushed and prodded War Criminal Bush along the path to illegal war. (Bush may have been a dupe, but he was a willing dupe.) And we'll close out on the Inquiry with Mary Riddell (Telegraph of London) offering her take:
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