One of the foremost enemies of the people is Tony Blair
There is a particular tone of voice that BBC presenters use when announcing that the airwaves are to be cleared for an interview with Tony Blair.
A solemn preamble conveys the sense that after that morning’s tawdry squabbling of contemporary pygmy politicians such as Nigel Farage, this is the main act.
In truth, very few of us outside BBC headquarters want to hear anything more from Mr Blair, apart, that is, from him uttering one single word. Which is why I stay tuned, in the forlorn hope that I might one day hear Blair say: ‘Sorry.’
That is, sorry for leading us into ill-judged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with thousands of casualties on all sides; sorry for permanently damaging our country’s diplomatic standing by fatuously endorsing President George W. Bush’s cack-handed statecraft; sorry for changing, through a purposeful policy of mass immigration, the cultural fabric of our country without first asking if there was a consensus to do so.
Mr Blair is a man who will gabble silkily for lucrative corporate bonding sessions or cosy media interviews.
But he will never utter what we actually want to hear from him – the faintest hint of contrition to those of us living in the country that he seems effectively to have abandoned.
Presenter Jim Naughtie was full of credulous deference towards Mr Blair on yesterday’s Radio 4 Today programme.
Inevitably, Mr Blair was not actually in the BBC studio. On this occasion he was ‘joining us from Berlin’ – a change from Ramallah or Dubai or the other places between which he flits on private jets, and from which he tends to broadcast when taking a break from his crowded schedule of lectures delivered for a vast fee.
The most striking aspect of Blair’s performance yesterday was his assumption that the spectacular progress made by Ukip in last week’s local and European elections came out of the blue sky and had nothing – absolutely nothing – to do with him or the policies of the government he led.
‘I’ve always said you have to have proper controls in place on immigration,’ Mr Blair intoned, unchallenged.
This peculiar assertion is punctured by the research of Migration Watch, which estimates that immigration during the New Labour years added three million to our population.
It also ignores the account of a former Blairite speechwriter, Andrew Neather, that from late 2000 onwards the deliberate policy ‘was to open up the UK to mass immigration’.
More than that, New Labour’s open-door immigration policy was designed, Mr Neather said, to ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date’.
Well, the consequences of that shamefully irresponsible politicking are now to be seen, both in the eastern European migrants crammed six to a room in East London, and in Ukip’s electoral progress.
Nigel Farage would not be grinning at us from the pages of our newspapers with an empty pint glass on his head were it not for Mr Blair’s policies.