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Part of the trouble with posing as a strong leader is that one starts to believe that is what one actually is. So Blair told an official who urged caution on Iraq: “You are Neville Chamberlain, I am Winston Churchill and Saddam is Hitler.” What intolerable hubris, and Blair adds insult to injury by wishing us to take as high a view of him as he takes of himself. In his early years, he had a capacity for rueful, self-deprecating jokes, which showed he had some inkling of why people did not always agree with him. But towards the end of his decade in Downing Street, and for many years afterwards, he used his considerable powers of advocacy to try to force everyone to agree he had always been in the right, or at least that he had had invariably acted in good faith. His moral vanity became unbearable. When one considers this, the allergic reaction of the Labour Party to him becomes more comprehensible. Corbyn and his supporters are a rebellion against Blair rather than against Cameron or May.

Donald Trump is the American version of this allergic reaction to the hypocrisies of the pious, self-regarding, liberal ruling class. As I was writing this piece, the president said straight out that he wants to go on selling arms to the Saudis: “They are ordering military equipment. Everybody in the world wanted that order. Russia wanted it, China wanted it, we wanted it. We got it. I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that.”

 Any president would have kept this consideration in mind as he wondered how to respond to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. But most of them would have made a show of trying to put pressure on the Saudis by threatening to cut off arms sales, while in fact being as keen as ever to do business. At least with Trump the issue was not veiled in that pretence of virtue.

I have no idea, as suggested in jest at the start of this piece, whether Ivanka will succeed her father as president. The pious view is that the hereditary principle has no place in the modern world, for it is an offence against equality of opportunity. But in the world as it actually is, one may be fortunate enough to inherit various abilities from one’s parents and grandparents, and to learn from them the traditions of behaviour which assist in the practice of a particular trade or profession. Most of us try, in whatever way we can, to help our children to do well in life. We want to pass on whatever we can to them, and remember with gratitude the things which were passed on to us, which may have nothing much to do with material possessions, and everything to do with love, manners, education, culture and religion. Voters don’t generally mind in the slightest if a candidate’s father or mother reached a high level in politics. They may even be charmed by the carrying on of a famous name, and reckon the bearer of it will with any luck not wish to bring shame on the family. In 1955, Paul Bloomfield published a book, Uncommon People, which begins:
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