When Tony Blair finally appeared last week at the Chilcott Inquiry, many held their breath. I don’t really know whay, because his appearance was only ever going to go one way. There was never going to be any emotional breakdown under incisive questioning; nor any head-in-hands Damascean conversion from the ex-Prime Minister.
For a moment, when the media focused on Mr Blair’s slightly trembling hands, it appeared that he might have actually been concerned about giving evidence. But any nervousness soon evaporated, and the old Tony Blair was back on form. WMD, regime change, the Fern Britton interview – all deftly sidestepped and cast aside.
But the most chilling element, as most commentators agreed, was the total absence of remorse. We will look back with “an immense sense of pride and achievement” he said. And when Chilcott asked “And no regrets?” Blair answered “Responsibility, but not a regret for removing Saddam Hussein”. A member of the public cried out “Not one regret?” but answer came there none.
One thing’s for sure – there were plenty of regrets in the public gallery.