Of course, Mr Blair is not going to come out and say “OK, l lied so I could bomb, invade and occupy Iraq, killing tens of thousands of innocent people who never did us any harm.” He’s a lawyer, for Heaven’s sake, but he has admitted as much in the unlikely environment of an interview with Fern Britton.
He told her that he didn’t care whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction or not. Even if he hadn’t, “I would still have thought it right to remove him.” It would simply have meant that other pretexts would have needed to be found: “I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments.”
So when Mr Blair told the House of Commons in February 2003 that if Saddam was prepared to get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, he would not attack his country, he was lying. I’m old enough to remember a time when a minister who lied to the House of Commons about a love affair had to resign – at once, no arguments.
In many ways, the most interesting thing about the whole Iraq fiasco is not Mr Blair – who has plainly never been burdened by any sliver of respect for the truth – but the Labour party. They have managed to persuade themselves that it’s no problem if you tell a pack of lies so you can have a war. Until they unpersuade themselves, there will be no escape from the political wilderness.