I think the announcement by President Bush last week was significant and important, and it is absurd to say otherwise, since it moved things on.The Independent takes a view closer to my own, comparing what Blair has done for Bush (Iraq, Guantanamo, Rendition, Middle East...) with what Bush has given Blair in return (a medal).
Here's the spin:
As ministers stepped up the pressure on the US to move further on climate change, Downing Street officials admitted there were three sticking points with the US and conceded that Mr Blair may not secure victory on all of them. They insisted that he and Chancellor Merkel were right to "set the bar high" in advance of the meeting even if that led to them being "cruficied" for not achieving all their goals.So the tactic is a kind of double bluff - to manage expectations by saying that you are going for a lot, admit that you might fail but ward off any criticism in advance. Meanwhile Grice, who should no better, falls for a politician telling him what he sincerely believes:
Mr Blair believes that Mr Bush made a landmark policy change last week when he committed himself to a long-term worldwide framework to tackle global warming for the first time.As the Guardian piece shows, Blair is keen to present Bush's announcement as a significant change in position. Here he adopts the classic tactic of saying that he "believes" this and an experienced journalist reports as fact something that he has no objective knowledge of. When will they learn?