Dennis Macshane writes a hagiography of Blair in The Telegraph, which manages to praise and bury at the same time. (He is also writing a biography of Heath, a fitting fate for the Great Sulk). First the Presence:
MPs of their parties can check with IDS or Huhne if they don't want to believe me, but I have rarely seen the Prime Minister more relaxed, fitter, looking a lot younger than some of the grey pictures photo editors now insist on publishing. He was in his shirt sleeves, wanting to talk through the issues in our report.
Marshal Montgomery insisted that the most important quality in
generalship was being calm when all appears to be going wrong. Blair,
on yesterday's evidence, passes that test.
I cannot recognise the country that MacShane recognises, not after the piss-poor nursing care that she received on the NHS. But Rotherham may be a utopia:
I spent the first three days of the week in my constituency of Rotherham in South Yorkshire. Unemployment has never been lower, nor have waiting lists at the hospital. The award-winning Chamber of Commerce has 1,400 firms doing good business. The local police chief smiled as he told of the 90 new police support officers he would soon have to tackle anti-social behaviour. Health bosses are bustling with new ideas and initiatives and the money to carry them out. A raft of new or rebuilt schools welcomed back their pupils. The council would like more cash – who wouldn't? – but a focus on cleaner streets and handing over council-house management to an outfit much closer to tenants have made a big difference.
How much of this is due to the redirection of public funds from Conservative and Liberal Democrat to Labour constituencies? Whilst they live in a world that is out of touch with reality, whilst they believe their own spin, their electability plummets. Thank God!