Aging More Gracefully Than England

As I write these words and watch them grow into sentences, I am living the final hours of my fifties. By the time you read this, I’ll be sixty years old. Or, as French and other Romance languages put it, I shall have sixty years. Having these four-seasons-times-sixty on my person feels heavy, but it seems I am far from alone. We oldies may be a majority soon in Britain. The hair is going white, the teeth wobbling a little and the memory fumbling. Gabriel Garcia Márquez in Love in the Time of Cholera charts Dr. Juvenal Urbino’s slow demise and death through his urine flow. The trappings of age, once the sole property of my father and his generation, are now all mine.

Things could be worse. I could be Tony Blair, Andy Coulson, or Alan Johnson. All of them stumbled into the headlines with tales of woe as my birthday approached. Blair was required to give further evidence in London last Friday to the Iraq Inquiry chaired by Sir John Chilcot. This was hard for Blair, who had already testified to the same panel a year ago and disposed of it in his recently published memoir, A Journey. Unfortunately, his former Attorney General Peter Goldsmith had given testimony that contradicted Blair’s. Goldsmith told Chilcot he had all along insisted to Blair that he needed a second United Nations Resolution for his war to be legal. Blair came back to the panel on Friday morning, sat and prevaricated for a few hours, and left. His credibility, already strained, was broken.
Blair wants the billets-doux he wrote to George Bush in the year before the invasion kept secret. Sir John Chilcot made clear his impatience with Blair’s reluctance to release the documents:
Read the rest of this article in Taki’s Magazine.