The Escape Artist

Illustration for TIME by C.F. Payne

It was Boris Johnson — one of those rumpled British prodigies who manages to be both a journalist and a Conservative Member of Parliament — who best captured the disbelief of the Tory party last week. "It is just flipping unbelievable," Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph. His party's nemesis, he added, "is a mixture of Harry Houdini and a greased piglet. He is barely human in his elusiveness."

The escape artist, of course, was Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had managed to slip out of a political bind — make that two of them — that could...

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