What on earth can Tony Blair and Shambo the bull have in common. There could be several private blessings which only Cherie should know about. But we do know that both generated irrational adoration from their millions of followers, both are surrounded by believers who defend them against all the evidence - and both must be killed off (purely in a political sense in Blair's case of course).
Its more of a pity about Shambo, who has done nothing to deserve his fate. Just imagine if we Tories had won 31 seats (including me) and Nick Bourne had asked me to take on the 'Countryside' brief and Shambo the first item in my in tray. What a nightmare. There is no choice. Shambo has failed a Tb test, and he must be slaughtered - end of story. I've had to be ruthless with several much-loved Charolais bulls on my farm. It was never the bull's fault that they couldn't generate the desire to service 40 cows in a matter of weeks (be a bit of a challenge for most of us)- but that was the deal. Do the business - or off to the abattoir.
Now Blair deserves his fate. At present, everyone is saying what a great leader he was. I don't agree. He was a hugely charismatic politician, who attracted massive support. He is probably great company. But he didn't know how to govern, and he did serious damage to the body politic in the UK. Anyone who saw Michael Howard fillet Alistair Campbell on Newsnight will have heard the case against Blair put by a man who did not command public popularity - but knew how to govern.
Even I admit that Blair could make a wonderful speech, even if I found the 'quivering lip' and the shallow soundbites sick making. But he did not tackle the big issues facing our country, he developed a culture of 'spin' (lying) which has drawn contempt onto the heads of most politicians - and he lied over the case for toppling Saddam Hussein. As all these plaudits are bestowed on Tony Blair, I am left reflecting on the huge damage the man did while holding that great office - and I am really pleased to see the back of him.