The Spectator

And now the end is near

And now the end is near
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And so the cavalcade of farewell parties proceeds towards the terminus of June 27 and Tony Blair's last bow. Last night, it was the turn of Lord Levy to say goodbye as the PM's Middle East envoy at a reception in the garden of Lancaster House. Mr Blair paid fulsome tribute to his old ally, diplomatically describing him as an adjunct to the traditional Foreign Office (they had other names for Levy there), but declaring, with the boldness of the man about to leave office, that he was an adviser without equal. It was like a tableau vivant of the Blair era: Jonathan Powell, dapper in black tie; David Blunkett; Charles Clarke; Geoff Hoon, defence secretary during the Iraq war; Margaret Beckett; Sir Nigel Sheinwald, off to replace David Manning; Peter Hain, fretful with only five days to go till his failure to become Deputy Leader is announced; and, as so often in the past decade, the promise that 'Gordon is on his way'. Only the most oblique reference in His Lordship's own speech to the great cloud of loans for honours and the files now with the CPS. As I left, torrential rain soaked St James's. Seven days to go: the cavalcade lumbers on.