"It sometimes seems that we all trudge down a long road we suspect is leading nowhere, nursing our private doubts and keeping our mouths tight shut. Who really believes that Barack Obama can turn America round? So why the elaborate ritual of affecting raised hopes and high excitement as his inauguration approaches?
Let those who think this brouhaha optimistic kindly raise their hands now. From the rest, would it be too much to ask for a vow of silence later? No “I told you so” please. You didn't.
Further self-denying ordinances, too, would be appreciated this January. When (probably this year) the Iraqi Government topples or slithers back into autocracy and sectarianism, would that section of media and political commentary that blows friendly or unfriendly to American intervention according to how many bombs have gone off in the previous week be so good as to avoid claiming that “it was always inevitable” that no proper democracy could be established there? If, like me, you do think that it's inevitable, say so now.
When (probably next year) America becomes horribly bogged down in Afghanistan, and we British can't make up our minds whether we can, or should, sneak away from the mess, could we please have a ceasefire on wise opinions that Afghanistan was always going to be a graveyard for Western hopes, and that it's a pity we got sucked in so deep in Helmand. If, like me, that's what you think, say so now. We could save a few soldiers' lives.
When Gordon Brown has lost the general election, and it emerges from diaries and media confessions by those no longer terrified of the man that he was from the start an appalling, raging, dithering, laptop-throwing typhoon of aggression, paranoia and insecurity, would those many in Westminster, Whitehall and Fleet Street who will soon be sharpening their quills to write that, of course, they knew it all along, please ask themselves why, in that case, they don't write it now?
When the decision is taken irreversibly to go for the nuclear generation of electricity in Britain in a really big way, could all those in the political and media class who are at present sitting on the fence, kindly admit their former indecision, and spare us their thoughts on how there was “never” going to be any other way for Britain to abide by our green commitments?"