I’m sorry, but there is just no alternative. Following Tony Blair’s triumphant return to the Commons last week, he is just going to have to become prime minister again. He’s the man we all loved to hate.
I know, I know, he is a totally discredited celebrity politician responsible for an illegal war who debased Labour’s beliefs and sold the party to plutocrats. But he looks the part. That smile. The self-deprecating shrugs. The hair.
Admit it: you want him back. Politics needs villains more than it needs heroes. We need someone who is worth complaining about, Gordon just doesn’t do it for us. He looks miserable and worn out. It’s very hard to attack a social inadequate who seems to evoke pity as much as much as hatred. Gordon’s awkwardness makes people cringe.
Tony is the perfect politician precisely because of his persuasiveness, the effortless command of the media. You know where you were with Tony B. Liar Watching him on TV answering questions about his multiple homes, Cherie’s “lost contraceptives” memoirs and, er, how to bring peace to Palestine, we were transported back to the golden days of Westminster, when politics was fun, house prices were rising and cash was for honours.
Now it is just the dull grind of Gordon’s incomprehensible pronouncements at Question Time. His leaden rhetoric and pusillanimous u-turns. Even the economy has turned boring. Brown is a back-room person who has been thrust into a limelight that has blinded him. His moral compass points only one way: right.
It’s not as if Labour has any leaders-in-waiting. Even the bookies favourite to replace Brown, David Milliband, is largely unknown and untried. Blair is young enough to come back. Winston Churchill made a career out of returning from retirement. Alex Salmond showed that a period in the wilderness can work wonders. He stood down in 2001 after being bored rigid by Holyrood and irritated by the petty-mindedness of a party who just thought he was too big for his boots.
Well, they soon learned, and after a couple of years were begging for him to come back. Initially Salmond ruled it out, saying: “If nominated I’ll decline; if drafted, I’ll defer; and if elected, I’ll resign.” But he changed his mind and led the SNP to its first ever election victory. Just imagine Tony Blair returning in triumph to lead the Labour party back to power in 2014.
There’s only one problem. Tony Blair is making far too much money to even think of trying to live on a measly prime minister’s salary. Puhleese. The only way it could work is if the BBC took him on a multi-million contract like Johnathan Ross. Well, perhaps it could come to that.