So, imagine you edit the Comment & Debate pages of the UK's leading left-of-centre newspaper, and it's the day after Labour's most successful Prime Minister has stepped down from 13 years as party leader. Who do you call on to write the balanced and in-depth analysis of his time in office that you need for your main column? Why, of course: a cantankerous Tory journalist whose book on the man is subtitled 'Blair's disastrous premiership' and who can't find a positive word to say about him. But then, if your past editorial choices have included asking a notorious Islamist and Hamas spokesman to write about Iraq, and an apologist for the Iranian regime to comment on the kidnapped British sailors, this is par for the course. Perish the thought that you might ask genuinely liberal or progressive writers to contribute: that would be far too predictable.
And while we're on the subject of grudging reactions to Blair's departure, I see that even the man's private religious beliefs have aroused the ire of some Guardian readers. Among the mean-spirited comments on today's letters pages are the claim that his conversion to Catholicism 'will certainly harm relations with Muslims' and even the suggestion that 'if Tony Blair really wanted to do good, he would convert to Islam' . Whaaaa?
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