He did not retreat into a monastery or take the path of the desert; he has enjoyed instead the worldly pleasures to the full. He has not been silent, contrite or resting in prayer – but has given highly remunerated after-dinner speeches and money-making counsels to the world’s potentates. Nonetheless, he can still justify, in almost theological terms, his international gold rush – as some kind of voyage of initiation, the lucrative aspects of which were not ends in themselves, but means to charity and enlightenment. As a promoter of the Third Way in politics, he may have also found a Third Way to heaven.
Now, fully initiated, his mind enkindled by his expanded bank account and portfolio of properties, Tony Blair is back in town…preaching to us again. He has not given up his political ambitions – his recent interviews revealing the hair-raising prospects of his return as PM or, more portentously, as EU president – which, considering the powerful friends he has made by single-handedly taking his country to war, he may well stand a chance of fulfilling.