That probably isn't the last thing I'll have to say about the UK election, but it is the deepest thought I've got at the moment and the most heartfelt.
In the last interview with Blair that I saw in the Guardian (trust me: it's too boring to read), he did his standard public-schoolboy routine, pretending to value good common sense and decency and all that, and his advice to "vote for what you believe in" would have been inspiring coming from many other people.
There was one word he never uttered, though: Iraq.
He talked a bit about foreign policy, but suddenly in Tony Blair's world, UK foreign policy is all about the EU. There were no Memories of the White House (or Memories of Clearing Brush in Crawford, Texas). There wasn't a word of the trauma Blair dragged the British forces and people through in a war that he knew was illegal, the "intelligence" for which he knew was "fixed to fit the policy." There wasn't a word of apology to the grieving families, to the millions of his fellow citizens who had opposed the war from the beginning and came to hate him and his government by the time he belatedly left, nor to the hapless Gordon Brown, to whom Blair left a legacy they both must have known would doom Brown no matter what he did.
Blair is one of the strangest political actors I have watched in my lifetime. Unlike, say, George W. Bush or Stephen Harper, he seems on the surface to be capable of complex and civilized thought. But then we discover that, rather like Obama, there isn't much he wouldn't agree to for the crassest of political reasons, and then beyond that, he's just plain spooky.
I'm not a cheerleader for Brown: Labour is tired by now and he couldn't turn that around. But weathering the financial crisis, eg, has been harder for him politically than it would have been if he hadn't been perceived from the start as the leader of a tired government. For a truly enlightening glimpse of what Cameron's "compassionate conservatism" could mean if the Tories win a majority tonight, see Johann Hari's fine, if depressing, report in the Independent on the actions of a local London council that the Tories consider a "model" for what they would do in government. I'll think about Clegg tomorrow.
But for now, Tony, I'm thinking about the late Robin Cook and the hapless Gordon Brown. What would they say? What could they say? Thanks for the albatross.
Thanks to Debra at Bread and Roses for the Hari reference.