In the just over two years since Tony Blair stepped down from the office of British Prime Minister, the state of his reputation in the country has not improved. Reviled in office as the man who committed the UK to a war that was not endorsed by the United Nations, his activities since strike the majority in our country as little better than sordid money grubbing.
As Prime Minister, Tony Blair had an unerring sense for the political, that is to say how things appeared rather than how they actually were. The obsession with appearances created a dangerous disconnect between what his government said and what it actually did. In the end the whole theatre of "spin" and presentation made the British people jaded and increasingly cynical about politics. In short "spin" became, in the eyes of the electorate, just another word for lie.
Although Mr. Blair now speaks a great deal about his religious faith, in office he did nothing to alter the constitutional bans that still officially exist against Roman Catholics. Indeed, it seems quite clear that Tony Blair broke these constitutional bans himself by occasionally taking Catholic communion. It may seem perhaps a small point, but it shows a man unwilling to make moral choices and content to break or bend rules when the moral choice would have been to change those rules. Given the importance that Roman Catholics place on Communion it is hard to forgive a man who built his government on lies and who now preaches loudly about faith.
The pernicious impact of Blairism on British politics can be seen in the way that David Milliband was being talked up as potential first holder of the office of President of the European Council- a transparent attempt by Gordon Brown to get a rival out of the way.
Now, we are told, it is Tony Blair who wishes to reenter the world of high level politics by becoming the first so-called "President of Europe". The ironic thing is that other EU countries think that by offering Mr. Blair the job, they are paying some kind of respect to the United Kingdom. In fact Mr. Blair remains deeply unpopular in Britain- and even after the two disastrous years of Gordon Brown, the British have still not forgiven a man rightly regarded as one of the most unscrupulous, false and damaging Prime Ministers in British history. In fact, the appointment of Mr. Blair to the office of President would be extremely damaging to the standing of the European Union in Britain - a standing which is hardly very high as it is.
There are plenty of people who think that, far from rewarding this man with the bevy of sinecures that he has managed to procure on the back of having been Prime Minister, the international community should instead charge Tony Blair as a criminal. Choosing Tony Blair as EU President would certainly infuriate most people in the UK and severely damage the relationship of the country with the EU. It would be a dangerously wrong decision.
Meanwhile the British government has now announced that it has pledged to support Mr. Blair's bid for office. Given Gordon Brown's unerring nose for failure, I think we can assume that the chances of Tony Blair actually getting the job are now pretty damaged- as they should be.