...elected officials of a country going through a well-publicized shake up (let's call it "A") involved in a pre-emptive war against a country that posed no real threat ("B") shamed the head of country A in the media into admitting that an execution done on their behest of the deposed leader of country B was a travesty of justice. Amazing, isn't it? I know what you're saying: it could never happen here.
Tony Blair's silence over the manner of Saddam Hussein's execution until he faces questions in parliament on Wednesday was developing into a test of his personal authority last night.
Downing Street was bounced into issuing a statement criticising the execution as "wrong and unacceptable" yesterday to defend the prime minister's decision not to comment. The trigger came when the chancellor, Gordon Brown, used an interview on the BBC's Sunday AM programme to join a chorus of ministers in describing the events surrounding the execution as "deplorable".
[..]The interview, which would normally be expected to be given by Mr Blair as a curtain raiser to a new session of parliament, focused on how the chancellor wanted the country to develop, including a warning to George Bush that he would be "frank" in defending Britain's interests.
Mr Brown's condemnation of Saddam's treatment echoed the comments of the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, who last week described the filming of Saddam's last moments as "deplorable". Yesterday he was joined by Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary and Margaret Hodge, the industry minister.