Disappointing though it is for those of us who have argued fairly consistently for something to be done about the environmental costs of air travel, I cannot say I am hugely surprised by Tony Blair's latest comments about the issue in an interview published today. My main criticism of him as a politician down the years has always been that he is essentially a follower, not a leader, and his refusal to seek to lead public opinion on the question of climate change is entirely typical of his cretinous style of political "leadership."
"You know, I'm still waiting for the first politician who's actually running for office who's going to come out and say it - and they're not," he says. Wrong. His own environment minister, who unlike him is actually running for office at the next election, recently called for curbs on shorthaul flights and branded Ryanair the "irresponsible face of capitalism."
Blair would like to think that his comments show himself to be in touch with the great mass of ordinary people. In actual fact they show him to be increasingly out of touch with what has become an emerging political consensus on the air travel issue.
Ten months ago, I described this on the blog as an issue mainstream politics was ignoring. To be fair, it is ignoring it no longer. But the fact that the Prime Minister seems determined to do so only serves to demonstrate once more the extent to which he has outlived his usefulness.