What shines through most clearly in Blair’s memoir is his unabashed love for America, something that rankled with both the left and right in Britain, where an intense dislike of America is entrenched in the political class. Add to Blair’s Amerophilia his excellent relations with George W. Bush, and there was every reason, in his critics’ minds, to heap abuse on Blair as Bush’s “poodle,” America’s “lap dog,” and so forth.

The British left (like much of the left in Old Europe) detests America as an “imperial” or “neo-imperial” power, and its statist obsessions lead it to fear America’s market-driven ways. The British right’s repulsion is more complex (and complexed), and results from a mixture of post-imperial envy and a sense of cultural superiority. The Tories were, I’m sure, aghast that a British prime minister not only loved America, but also believed that Britain could learn from America’s “essential goodness as a nation” (as he writes in his book). The temerity of the chap!…

Tony Blair was a very American prime minister. It’s no wonder, then, that he is loved better here than in his own country. The British don’t love their politicians, it should be said; they are too uptight for that. (When they love, they fall for princesses instead, and the consequences are grotesque.) But in the case of Blair, they have not been swift enough to recognize the blessing he conferred on his country by his cultured and sophisticated governance. One day, however, they will gauge Blair’s true worth. Of that we can be sure.