There was always, I suppose, a horrible inevitability about it.
Like a retired circus pony trotting up whenever he hears the music, Blair is back
and looking for the sawdust and spangles. The temptation of a global event taking place in London, with all the accompanying razzamatazz and media opportunities was obviously too much.
"The former prime minister “has things to say” and believes the time is right for him to make an impact on the home front after years in political exile.
Mr Blair will appear on a joint platform with Labour leader Ed Miliband in July at an event to celebrate the Olympics."
'Political exile', in this case meaning 'Look, it's not exactly
junketing about the world pocketing hefty consultancy fees as an advisor to, well, anyone
who's got the cash
The story has appeared out of nowhere, following Blair's appointment of a new 'director of communications', who, according to the Mail, faces a task of Herculean proportions:
The spin doctor will also attempt to portray Mr Blair's cash schemes - such as charging up to £300,000 for after-dinner speeches - in a more positive light.
With the news turning up just as Labour were securing vast numbers of local council seats, this unexpected resurgence is more than a little disturbing. Don't start filling out those emigration papers just yet though:
A source close to the former prime minister said pundits had gotten 'overexcited' about a potential return for Labour's most successful post-war leader.
? Whatever you may think of the competition, this source gives the impression of being so 'close to the former prime minister' that only his feet are visible.
'News of the appointment of a new director of communications is correct, but that's all there is to it,' the source told Metro.
So what's the real story? I think it has much more to do with the reflected glory of the Olympics than anything else. Blair must be trading heavily on his status as the former British Prime Minister - that kind of thing impresses the sort of people who like to 'open the kimono' and 'channel the ten thousand-foot-view'.
What better, then, than a worldwide glut of media images of Blair - and Cherie - grinning alongside a Miliband or two in front of the Olympic rings? Forget a thousand words; that picture could be worth a fortune to the couple's marketing machine.
After all, why bother with the actual nitty-gritty of politics, complete with all those tiresome, unwashed common people, when you can simply swan around telling everyone what to do? According to the Mail's source;
‘The question is how he re-enters the UK scene without re-entering domestic politics and interfering with the Labour Party. He wants to intervene where he can add value to political debate, but it will be above party politics.'
Sounds alarmingly like the beginnings of a God complex - unless, of course, he's planning on heading for the House of Lords (where he'd doubtless feel right at home alongside the likes of Baroness Uddin). Too bad for him that the Queen has not only recovered from his attempts to upstage and discredit her but gone on to preside over a resurgence of public approval - otherwise I'd suspect him of having his eye on the job.
On the other hand, it's quite typical of the couple that they would not be prepared to miss out on any limelight going, and if you add the possibility of being wined and dined among the great and good in town for the IOC's massive beanfeast - not to mention the chance that Cherie
could pop out for a spot of shopping - it was more or less certain that they would turn up at some point.
H/T The Quiet Man, also at Orphans of Liberty