Blair's legacy will be Iraq 'debacle'

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Historically, Tony Blair has had a closer relationship with a US president than any British prime minister since the Thatcher-Reagan era and, before that, since Harold Macmillan persuaded John Kennedy to give Britain the Polaris nuclear missile. .

Every prime minister faces this problem. All live in the shadow of the great Churchill-Roosevelt duo. They have varied enormously in their response. This has not depended on their political outlook.

The Conservative Ted Heath kept his distance from the US and took Britain into Europe. Labour's Harold Wilson trod a more careful course with Lyndon Johnson over the Vietnam war.

Mr Wilson did not join that enterprise, but at the same time he refrained from criticising American policy, an approach that led his unfortunate Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart into some embarrassing verbal contortions.

Mr Blair veered towards Washington, not , however, because he thought there was something to be gained in return, though he might have wished for greater US action over the Israeli/Palestinian dispute.

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