Tuesday, June 26, 2007


A Mission Too Far for Blair?

Blair's new mission is one which we can understand he'll relish. Michael Cockerell's valedictory biography last February gave us testimony from enough people for us to realise he's always going to be a 'mission' person, who seeks to 'make a difference'. And while solving Northern Ireland was a biggie, how much more so is Israel-Palestine, the possible crucible, as we are often told, for the third world war? If he pulls it off the next time he visits the Pope will be to receive his canonisation while still alive... that would be a first too.

But maybe he's bitten off too much this time?

a) his charm may not travel as well as he would wish- he failed, recall, to assemble that UN resolution which would have made Iraq legal, despite hundreds od thousands of air miles.

b) his role in Iraq makes him a bogey figure, along with Bush in the Middle East.

c) If Clinton couldn't do it, can Blair expect to do better?

d) With the Palestinians already split between the West Bank and Gaza, he is faced with an even more complex problem than hitherto.

I'd be interested to see what odds Mike Smithson of Political Betting would offer on a successful outcome, but I'd only offer way outsider odds. And, here's another thing, I've always had a strange premonition that this brilliant, glamorous shooting star of a politician will meet a tragic end: the Middle East, as Alan Johnson and a few million others can attest, is a very dangerous place.

The Times has a good leader on the topic of what our good leader should do next. It doesn't see him as part of a Greek tragedy in the way you seem to but it does advise him to take his lucky shoes...
I just don't see how Blair can possibly be seen as an "honest broker".
I think it quite possible that Blair will make a good fist of this. He will need to do something early doors to make him more welcomed by the Palestinians. But if you think of this in terms of wearing different hats it helps.

"The End" as he said at the end of PMQs. Conflict resolution is a learnable skill and/or a knack and I think Blair may have that as long as he is willing to upset the USA and Israel.

Brown and Balls will be or could be important allies with their counsel on economic transformation for Palestine.
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