In their bright-eyed, bushy-tailed beginnings, neither imagined it would come down to this. Next week two bruised (and soon to be buried) political figures look to a sporting event to seal for themselves and posterity some sort of remembered and lasting legacy. At the dazzling, world-watched opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, who will be the sagacious veteran statesman whose bald and shiny pate will be picked out by the television arc-lights in the VIP tribune to be clamorously acclaimed by his people for leading, back in the mists, the administration which inspired such a glittering prize for his capital city? Will it be Jacques? Or will it be our Tone?
In a way, the International Olympic Committee’s congress in Singapore on Wednesday will be more telling for political biographers than the G8 summit at Gleneagles which begins, with whimsically apt coincidence, on the very same day. Both Blair and Chirac will arrive in Scotland hotfoot from last-minute glad-handing in Singapore, although presumably the solemnity of the G8 presidency means that the Prime Minister’s Parisian adversary will be able to linger longer, lobbying, under the susurrating swish of the Raffles Hotel fans. Paris v. London. Chirac v. Blair. Which smug grin will be on full beam at Gleneagles? S