Around the time that we entered the 21st century, the politics of the Western world – and notably of Britain – began subtly to be transformed. Since this happened by a process of osmosis, at least in its early stages it went largely unnoticed; now, however, the process is so far advanced that its excesses have become glaringly obvious to any intelligent observer. The political process which, in the post-War years, was infused with a realism born of the harsh experience of world war, has by now descended into the realm of fantasy. Our leaders are living in a world of delusion.

Of course, politicians have always lied shamelessly to the public, but this phenomenon is different: they have been lying also to themselves. In Britain, the first exponent of this world of mirages was Tony Blair: if ever the qualification of “truth” with a possessive pronoun was appropriate, it was when the Great Charlatan expounded “his” truth, as when Blair presented to the House of Commons intelligence regarding Saddam Hussein’s weapons capability described by the Joint Intelligence Committee as “sporadic and patchy” that, when sprinkled with his gold dust, became “extensive, detailed and authoritative”.