AA Gill at The Times Online captures that moment when the British Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot dropped its pants and flashed its flaws:
"Lord, I thought, he's finally gone and done it. He's left parochial politics and gone into intergalactic diplomacy and had a severe facelift. The skin was drawn tight, the mouth tugged into a morticised grin. It wasn't a good look.
Fear is nature's cosmetic surgeon. It had grabbed Tony Blair by the back of the neck, pulled and twisted.......
We were looking at a man who was looking at what he thought might just be his own personal Nuremberg trial.Then Sir Roderic Lyne, one of the interrogating panel, stumbled into his warm-up question. Couched in the avuncular curlicues of academic politeness and mumbled deference, he propped himself up on the pillows of sub-clauses and caveats and something astonishing happened.
Across the table, like a CGI trick, a coup de théâtre: Blair's old face reappeared, emerging relaxed and confident, the eyebrows arched. It was the familiar mug the protesters outside in the rain were wearing as masks. The angst let go. Ladies and gentleman, fear has left the building.
He knew this wasn't going to be a war crimes tribunal: this wasn't even truth and reconciliation. This was the wine committee of his club, the senior common room of a honeycoloured college. He was on top of this. He was all over this......
The hours slid by and Blair grew more confident, flicking the pages of his notes, uncannily finding the date, the mot-juste he needed. The questions became woollier and thinner. Blair allowed himself the occasional smirk of disdain as he did keepy-uppies with the simpler lobs."