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Surprise, surprise! Clearly ignoring my suggested text for his speech to the Labour conference today, today's Guardian reports that "Blair refuses to say sorry". "Tony Blair yesterday offered critics of his Iraq war strategy his most contrite justification for the conflict so far," runs the report, "but stopped short of an outright apology, removing the word 'sorry' from the text of his speech to Labour's Brighton conference in frantic last-minute rewriting. 'I know this issue has divided the country. I entirely understand why many disagree,' he told the conference. Journalists had been briefed that he would say 'I am genuinely sorry about that' between the two sentences, but it was removed." Elton John could have written Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word just for Tony, n'est-ce pas?
As much as it pains me to link to what seems very much a pro-Bush publication, I have been trying to locate an online article with Bush's quote about his swagger this week but have been unable to find any which don't quote it in a positive light. "Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger," he said, "which in Texas we call 'walking'." Well, I'm sure we all have our definitions of Bush's "swagger"...
And indeed I have my own definition of what Tony Blair should say in his speech to the Labour Party Conference this week. To be honest I actually hadn't given this a great deal of thought until I saw this BBC "Have Your Say" forum today inviting the public to "write Tony Blair's speech". When I submitted my version the forum had just opened and there were no other comments on the page, so I was surprised and delighted to check back a few hours later to find not only my own but about eight other "speeches" in exactly the same vein. Here's what I thought Blair should say: "I would like to apologise to everyone for the Iraq war. I now realise exactly how much I have let the party, the country and the Iraqi people down by pursuing this issue in the way I have. I take full personal responsibility for the UK's role in this affair and the shoddy way I misled everyone over it. Consequently I will be dissolving our occupation of Iraq with immediate effect, following which I will resign as prime minister to make way for a new leader whom I hope will be less arrogant, more honest and a better listener than me. Thank you."
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