Friday, 25 April 2008

Crusaders' share of Blair in Fact and Fiction...

Hmm... It's getting on for a year now since Blair's resignation. I know, the leavetaking took forever, so let's not rush to the anniversary retrospectives... Still, I raise the matter now not merely because a steady drip of Blair re-evaluations has turned into a running tap because of Gordon Brown's anguished and ungainly recent performances. And not because the whole Blair Conundrum was a key part of the backstory of Crusaders, as Joel Rickett cottoned to very quickly. No, it's because last month I sat on a panel called 'Blair In Fact and Fiction' at the Aye Write festival in Glasgow, alongside Martin Bell, Helena Kennedy and Joan Smith, and as ever with these things, given the time and the format, you rarely come away feeling you've said what was truly on your mind. This eyewitness reporter from the Herald clearly felt that we had all lined up over Tone with the sharpened stilettos out like it was Murder on the Orient Express. ("They all did it!") Indeed the chap mentioned therein who 'stood up for Blair' chatted with me afterward at the bookshop signing. (I hope he found the copy of Crusaders he bought not too yawnsome...) But there's so much to say about public figures of this prominence. Didn't even Garcia Marquez once say he would need a million pages to do justice to Che Guevara...? (Staunch people of the Left who always loathed Blair would shudder at that analogy.) In any event, what I think I said at Aye Write and have certainly said at every other platform occasion is that when in 1996 Blair described Pontius Pilate as the archetypal politician, I thought it was the most interesting thing I'd ever heard a pragmatic/centrist leader say. I still do.

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