We’re late getting to Tony Blair’s terrific speech discussing the threat facing the free world and the justification for the Iraq war:
I know a large part of the public want to move on. Rightly they say the Government should concentrate on the issues that elected us in 1997: the economy, jobs, living standards, health, education, crime.
I share that view, and we are. But I know too that the nature of this issue over Iraq, stirring such bitter emotions as it does, can’t just be swept away as ill-fitting the pre-occupations of the man and woman on the street.
This is not simply because of the gravity of war; or the continued engagement of British troops and civilians in Iraq; or even because of reflections made on the integrity of the prime minister.
It is because it was in March 2003 and remains my fervent view that the nature of the global threat we face in Britain and round the world is real and existential and it is the task of leadership to expose it and fight it, whatever the political cost; and that the true danger is not to any single politician’s reputation, but to our country if we now ignore this threat or erase it from the agenda in embarrassment at the difficulties it causes…