Blair and Responsibility


A fitting assessment in some respects:

A responsible politician not only grasps the fact that even the purest of motives may necessarily have unintended consequences but is aware that outcomes are the ultimate arbiter of any political decision. The mark of a responsible politician is the ability to appreciate the inherent ambiguity of consequences and suffer in silence, because, as Runciman points out, 'the test of politics is whether you can cope with the knowledge that you are not as good as you would like to be.'

Tony Blair thus becomes the antithesis of a responsible politician, not only asking for validation on the basis of intention but making his public struggle with guilt a part of the justification itself.

Bush, of course, has evinced no sign of any struggle with guilt. It seems a concept utterly alien to him.

(Photo: Peter McDiarmid/Getty.)