Another great performance — this was pure Blair

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‘I feel deeply and sincerely — in a way that no words can properly convey — the grief and suffering of those who lost ones they loved’

Masterly self-exculpation over Chilcot

Tony Blair, writes Dalrymple,

plays upon the sensibilities of people as upon a pipe.

He suffers, however, Dalrymple points out, from

delusions of honesty.

Blair

keeps inviolable his belief in the existence of a purely beneficent essence of himself, a belief so strong that no quantity of untruthfulness, shady dealings, unscrupulousness, or impropriety can undermine or destroy it. He came into the world marked by Original Virtue.

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Honest as the day is long, with the straightforward truthfulness of a child, and authentic piety. He is, yes, pure, righteous and infinitely beneficent

Starting with an assumption of his infinite beneficence,

he assumes infinite responsibility.

It might be argued, Dalrymple says, that in a demotic age politicians must consent to indignities if they are to be elected.

If so, it is hardly surprising that we repeatedly elect nonentities distinguished only for their ambition and relentless pursuit of office. Unfortunately, mediocrity and ambition often combine with vast self-regard; and there is no better example of it than Blair.

The sorrowing penitent: 'I express more regret and apology than you may ever know or can believe'

The sorrowing and tormented great leader, close to tears: ‘I express more regret and apology than you may ever know or can believe’

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Pure genius: he came into the world marked by Original Virtue. To those who died in Iraq, and to their families, he says: ‘I will be with you, whatever.’ Or he may have said that to George W. Bush. No matter — such words are a comfort

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A saintly kind of essence: he is full of pity and understanding for the victims of infelicitous wars for which he cannot, in all reasonableness, be personally blamed but for which he is prepared to take responsibility out of largeness of spirit

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Manly, and at the same time unafraid to give voice to an almost feminine compassion for the wretched of the earth, such as those who, most unfortunately, may have found themselves in the path of his bombs: ‘I take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse. I express my profound regret at the loss of life and the grief it has caused the families, and I will set out the lessons I believe future leaders can learn from my experience’

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