Right now, I feel sorry for Tony Blair.
There, I've said it. I'll allow you all a moment or two to regain your equilibrium. . . Recovered? Good. Allow me, then, to clarify.
I don't like the man. In fact, I loathe both him and the Wide-Mouth Frog with a passion that sometimes even startles me. He epitomises everything that is wrong with this country today. With the slickness of a well-greased weasel, he instituted the policies and practices that have led to the dire situation we see in today's political system. And his destruction of faith in British politics was covered by that permanent snake-oil-salesman grin.
Of course, I also hold him directly responsible for the detestable presence of Gollum Brown in Number Ten - which is unforgivable, given the scorched-earth Britain we've received as a result of their sordid little power-sharing deals.
And yet I feel sorry for him today.
Yesterday's evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry was eye-opening for a number of reasons, but mostly because if you listened carefully you heard what's coming. Yesterday, the outline of the Government spin to be applied to the matter hove fuzzily into view.
We heard from Sir Christopher Meyer that Tony and Dubya were alone for a significant portion of their time at Shrub's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Alone. No advisers, no Ambassadors, no agenda and (most importantly) no documentation.
From the Grauniad:
Meyer said there was a "sea change" in Washington's attitude to Iraq in the months after 11 September. In his briefing notes before the Texas summit, Meyer advised Blair to focus on how to garner international support for regime change, how to go about ousting Saddam, and what to do in the aftermath.
At the meeting, he said Bush and Blair spent "a large chunk of time" together with no advisers present. "To this day I'm not entirely clear what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch," he said, adding that Blair provided a clue in a speech the next day in which he mentioned "regime change" in Iraq for the first time.
You can see it coming, can't you? Tony did it, yeronner. It was all him. We had nuffink to do wiv it, honest guv. He done it then ran away.
They couldn't find a 'smoking gun', so instead will blame it on a smoking grin. Everything's going to be brought back to, and blamed on, Tony and that undocumented meeting at Crawford. Which, of course, provides Gollum with a convenient scapegoat and semi-plausible deniability.
So while smiling in his face, Gollum (with the aid of the Dark Lord of Foy, no doubt) is preparing a very large, very sharp knife to embed in his old colleague's back. And that's why I am feeling sorry for him today - because while he certainly holds the majority share of responsibility as Prime Minister at the time, he also had a Cabinet - which included current members of Brown's cabinet and Brown himself. All those involved must shoulder their share of responsibility.
To solely implicate Bliar, revolting specimen though he is, would simply be a different sort of whitewash.