Prime Minister, Convince Thyself

British Prime Minister Tony Blair arriving at the High Court in London, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2003, to give evidence to the Hutton inquiry explaining his role in events leading up to the apparent suicide of Government weapons expert Dr David Kelly. (AP Photo/Arthur Edwards, The Sun. pool)
This may surprise you, but right now, more people in Britain believe that Tony Blair is unfit for office than support him.

A massive mistrust of his justification for the war in Iraq is the major problem, as more becomes clear about the background to his decision to follow President Bush against the wishes of the majority of the British people.

Towering above even that is the issue of trust and truth -- the simple fact is, even on domestic issues, that most Britons do not believe what he says.

It's all about spin. And for spin, read lies.

His slick Willy approach, a swift, manipulated and convenient answer to every tricky question, an instant condemnation of anyone who gets in his way, has caught up with him and he knows it.

These last few days, our Prime Minister has been working out a new way of dealing with the media, whom he despises -- and the public, whom he sincerely believes have got him wrong. There will be no more spin from Downing Street is the message. No more obfuscation, no more invention. No whitewash at Number Ten. Trust me, I'm a pretty straight sort of guy, says the Prime Minister.

But I think it's too late. Like Richard the Third in that well thumbed Shakespeare of yours, Mr. Blair is in so deep that it is inconceivable that he could suddenly develop a severe attack of truth telling, and regain the immense faith he inspired in those far-off halcyon days when he first became our leader. Because he doesn't have to convince U.S. that spin is hideously wrong and now even costs lives - we know that. He has to convince himself. And the almost Nixon-like world of fantasy in which he exists wouldn't allow the idea to be entertained.
By Simon Bates