As I sat bemused by Question Time on BBC1 last night, a weekly routine, the performance - and that's certainly the mot juste - of Lord Falconer prompted the mental re-working of a one-liner that was doing the rounds about 25 years ago. Then, it referred to the limited understanding of computers among those charged with selling them. Anyway...
Q: What's the difference between a member of the British Cabinet and a used car salesman?
A: A used car salesman knows when he's telling lies.
Meanwhile, the Chilcot enquiry rumbles along. We're supposed to be impressed by the staged leaking, a drip at a time, of snippets of 'new' information. This is, one assumes, intended to engender public belief in the fairness of the proceedings. We all know, of course, that Tony Bliar (sic) and his cronies will not be held to account.
Don't misunderstand me. I was in favour of taking out Hussein, although it should have been done the first time we bloodied his nose. I simply resent being patronised with obvious lies about our reasons for setting the tanks to roll. Some of us knew that this was a war intended to secure a significant contribution to the West's oil supplies and had no problem with that from the outset. I write, of course, as a former soldier who served in that region.
The lack of any coherent exit strategy concerns me, as it continues to concern me about Viet Nam. Sorry, I meant Afghanistan, but it's a forgiveable confusion. As ever, Question Time was followed by This Week, during which Michael Portillo cut to the very nub by saying that our position can be summarised in two short sentences: "We won't win. We can't leave."
And so to work.