OPINION: The scramble for political credibility has begun

The war is won, but now it's the turn of the politicians to rewrite history and make their own role a decisive one. The political PR battle was inevitably kicked off by the Prime Minister and, predictably, he chose his - but not Labour's - house journal The Sun to tell his story.

Tony Blair exclusively revealed that had he lost the House of Commons vote on the war he would have resigned. Wow, I never knew that. The problem is that there was never the slightest hope of this ever happening. It was precisely because the PLP wanted to keep Blair that he got their support.

The way Blair told the story you would have thought he was having to tell his kids he was dying of cancer, not just taking a pay cut and having to move to a normal house. I suppose it was inevitable Blair would bring his family into it, he always does. Next time Downing Street complains about intrusion into his family life, remember what he told the The Sun about his war story.

It was bad enough having to hear Blair's sob story, but to get Cabinet Ministers saying they would also have quit had me rushing to the nearest toilet to throw up. Jack Straw, who remarkably still thinks he can become Prime Minister one day, talked to The Times about 'very dark moments'.

These were not moments that a foreign secretary may have about sending troops to their death, but about his decision to quit in solidarity with Blair.

Not to be outdone, David Blunkett told The Guardian he believed Cabinet Ministers close to Blair, including himself, would have quit. I'm not sure if this was good PR, but it did reaffirm who are Blair's best buddies in the Cabinet. Anyone who actually believes they would have followed Blair and quit is living in a political wonderland. One man who certainly wouldn't have chucked in his job is the Chancellor, and there is no way that Blunkett and Straw would have left the Cabinet only to see Brown take over. They are both fully paid-up members of Peter Mandelson's 'Anyone but Brown Party'.

Significantly, those with leadership ambitions and a little more political nous than Blunkett and Straw, didn't cravenly follow their master. Charles Clarke, for example, knows that while he needs Blair's support now, in any leadership contest it would be a positive disadvantage. That's why Brown supporters are jubilant this week, with stories in the Sunday papers saying that Blair no longer supports the Chancellor as a future Prime Minister.

The next leadership ballot is of MPs, party members and trade unions - not the public. Anyone with half a political brain knows that in the present climate the support of Blair is a vote loser. Every single election for a union leader since the general election has resulted in defeat for Blairites, and rank-and-file party members will never forgive Blair for supporting a war they didn't want.

Such was the misjudgment by those two Cabinet ministers in sucking up to Blair, you could almost believe they have given up leadership ambitions.

Blunkett, though, will be delighted that he has been mentioned in some papers as a potential Chancellor in place of Gordon Brown. But even Blair knows he could not put the country's finances at risk just because he couldn't get his own way over the Euro. Blair, like Brown, is aware that Blunkett once held a secret meeting with the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, and argued for a cut in interest rates at a time when the country needed it, and Brown wanted a rise.

I reckon Blunkett has about as much economic judgement as he has political and, like Straw, he will live to regret hastily jumping on the Blair bandwagon.

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