Saturday, August 13, 2005

Tragic Cookie

I haven't mentioned the death of Robin Cook, I don't think. I didn't find out about it immediately, and when I saw some headline a couple of week back, I thought it must have been referring to some other high profile people whose health is very fragile.

For what it's worth I do think of Cook's death as a tragedy. Not, as sometimes, because you feel that a person still has much to give. I didn't feel that way about him. In fact the opposite was true- i felt he was washed up. I felt that misjudgements and ill-judged actions in all areas of his life had left him drained- a husk of an immensely promising man. No doubt he was still down to earth and what not, as people say- but if Tony Blair didn't attend his funeral out of pique rather than the need to rest his own slightly peaky frame, I could understand why.

Cook was losing no opportunity to turn the knife on Blair, and had a rationale behind that of contempt for the PM, especially in his judgement over Iraq. I don't think the little man's judgement, acid though it was, was any longer focussed or balanced effectively- and despite his looks he loved acting as a poster boy for the anti-war left. Altogether Cook's deep resentment of Blair- very little of it fair- would suggest that the last person he would want to envisage at his funeral would be the nemesis of his political ambitions. An interesting contrast to Lady Thatcher's presence at Ted Heath's funeral- while in that case I imagine there'd have been consultation about Heath's wishes in that regard, as we all know the history there. Maybe the 'great sulk' of our Edward was finally over- but Cook's has never been adequately recognised or understood. Perhaps Blair does understand it. Perhaps he even a little respects it.

ps. I've just realised that McCririck's comments included the Thatcher parallel. (Nice Scotsman article here.) All that differs is our interpretation of the facts.

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