Saturday, 11 September 2010

Blair's apologies

Tony Blair’s unwillingness to say ‘sorry’ over Iraq is now so firmly entrenched that it has become part of his character armour. But he does use the word – 38 times – in A Journey.

He says he is ‘sorry about what happened’ to John Prescott over his fist fight with a fox hunter during the 2001 election campaign. He is ‘desperately sorry’ about the death of Roy Jenkins. He is ‘very sorry’ to lose Alan Milburn as a minister. He is ‘really sorry’ for David Blunkett over the affair with his secretary that sees him turfed out of office. He even says he ‘felt genuinely sorry – no, I really did’ for Jacques Chirac when London won the 2012 Olympics bid over Paris.

My favourite TB ‘sorry’, though, is the one he feels for junior defence minister Tom Watson after Watson signs a round-robin calling for Blair’s resignation in September 2006. ‘I have heard from the media that Tom Watson has resigned,’ Blair declares in a gloriously petulant official statement before announcing that he ‘had been intending to dismiss him’ anyway. ‘Actually, later I felt sorry for him and regretted I had done it,’ Blair writes in A Journey. You can almost see where his tears have left their mark on the page.

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