I don't know what effect it had on other people, but the more I watched of Michael Cockerell's relentlessly negative TV portrayal of the Blair years, the more sympathy I began to feel for the man in Number 10. Cockerell's films normally aim for a rounded portrait; this was closer to live-action Spitting Image.
Geoffrey Wheatcroft's hostile new polemic, Yo Blair, seems to have aroused a similar reaction in Dennis MacShane:
In 1995, the foreign secretary, Malcolm Rifkind, made a statement in the Commons washing his hands of any involvement in combating the crimes in Srebrenica. I sat in the Commons that afternoon, unable to believe my ears. My country was prepared to walk on the other side of the street as 8,000 Europeans two hours' flying time away were taken out and shot in cold blood.
Reading Wheatcroft's book, I now understand better the mentality of the Rifkinds, and of the 1930s foreign-policy realists who opposed intervention in Spain because it would make matters worse. Wheatcroft generously writes that "Blair is no totalitarian" and "Blair is no fascist", but we are also told that Labour is run by a "politburo", and he protests about "the Blair junta methods".
... And, of course, Iraqis do not exist in this book. Hundreds of thousands were murdered by Saddam and, equally tragically, many are dying today. All the fault of Blair? If only history and the world were so simple.