And it's not just my opinion, honest!
It's actually the belief of the man most likely to know: British Ambassador to the United States at the time, Sir Christopher Meyer. Last week, the UK's representative in Washington from 1997 until 2003 began the dual serialisation of his memoirs, DC Confidential
. Whilst it clears Blair of many accusations levelled at him (agreeing to a war in early 2002, being Bush's poodle, etc), there's one part that makes for great reading for Conservatives.
In the book, Meyer reports that Blair rushed through diplomatic agreement with the White House, not fully extracted enough concessions in return for crucial British involvement, and not allowing a large enough planning window. Going into the negotiations on provisional British military involvement, through late 2002, the Cabinet Office had a list of requirements, including, but not limited to: the conclusion of weapons inspection, the concoction of new conclusion plans, trying for a 2nd UNSC resolution, putting in place arrangements to prevent looting. Our man in America has now told the world that Blair scuppered all of those plans.
Apparently, Blair is the worst negotiator that Meyer had ever had the misfortune to have to represent. Contrasting Blair's abilities to
, Meyer concludes that the more hard-headed Iron Lady would have allowed the British embassy in DC to achieve all of their aims. In his opinion, a short delay, of two or three months, would have avoided most of the catastrophes that have followed, whilst still achieving all of the good.
Meyer is only the latest in a long line of diplomats that have slammed Blair's incompetence, and it may put clear blue water between the government and the Conservatives. The implication is that Conservative MPs agreed to the war because they thought that Blair would let the embassy do its job. Just as is everyone else's, their faith in the validity of comparison of Baroness Thatcher to her pale imitation was woefully misplaced, and that's why post-war Iraq is in the terrible state in which it finds itself now: Nobody appreciates how great Thatcher was.