Andrew Marr, BBC News at Ten, BBC1, April 9, 2003

Well for the view in Downing St.
on today’s events
let’s talk to our Political Editor
Andrew Marr
Andy, is it safe to assume that Mr. Blair,
like so many of the rest of us, was
glued to his television for parts of today?
It certainly is. He and his advisers have
been watching this
and you know all the usual caveats apply
there could be some ghastly scenes
in the future
there could be terrorist attacks
all sorts of things could go wrong.
But frankly Huw, the main mood
is unbridled relief.
I’ve been watching ministers
wander around with
smiles like split watermelons.
Well, Mr. Blair has had his share of
troubles and worries as you rightly say
over the past few weeks
we’ve talked about them many times –
to what extent has that changed now today?
Well I think this does one thing.
It draws a line under what had been
before this war
a period of…
well a faint air of pointlessness almost
was hanging over Downing Street.
There was all these slightly tawdry arguments
and scandals – that is now history.
Mr. Blair is well aware that all his critics
out there in the party and beyond
aren’t going to thank him because they’re only human
for being right when they’ve been wrong.
And he knows that there might be trouble ahead
as I’ve said.
But I think this is a very, very important
moment for him
it gives him a new freedom and a
new self-confidence.
He confronted many critics.
I don’t think anybody after this is going
to be able to say of Tony Blair
that he is somebody who is driven by
the drift of public opinion
or focus groups or opinion polls.
He took all of those on.
He said that they would be able to take Baghdad
without a bloodbath
and that in the end the Iraqis
would be celebrating.
And on both of those points he
has been proved conclusively right.
And it would be entirely ungracious
even for his critics
not to acknowledge
that tonight he stands as a larger man
and a stronger prime minister as a result.
Andrew – many thanks.

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