An excellent piece today in the Wall Street Journal online by Theodore Dalrymple of the Manhattan Institute on Tony Blair’s legacy. It captures very well indeed the somewhat baffling contradiction between the gut reaction many people have (or once had) towards Tony as a “straight kind of guy” and what he actually achieved (or failed to achieve) as Prime Minister, and what he really stood for.

This paragraph sums up the thrust of the piece nicely:

Many have surmised that there was an essential flaw in Mr. Blair’s makeup that turned him gradually from the most popular to the most unpopular prime minister of recent history. The problem is to name that essential flaw. As a psychiatrist, I found this problem peculiarly irritating (bearing in mind that it is always highly speculative to make a diagnosis at a distance). But finally, a possible solution arrived in a flash of illumination. Mr. Blair suffered from a condition previously unknown to me: delusions of honesty.

This is the inherent contradiction within Tony Blair, and Dalrymple does an excellent job of putting his finger on it – that Tony Blair believes the TB myth himself and so can blithely go on spouting the stuff he does and sound sincere at the same time. As far as he’s concerned, it’s all true and everyone who doesn’t believe him simply isn’t listening hard enough. Well worth a read of the whole thing.

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