But the example of Aristides the Just, the ancient Athenian statesman famed for his integrity, might appeal more strongly to Mr Blair. The Athenians had the custom of ostracism, enabling them to banish for 10 years whichever person received the most votes, which were cast by writing on a potsherd the name of the person you wanted to chuck out of the city.
Plutarch tells us that on the day of the voting, an illiterate man from the country gave his potsherd to Aristides and asked him to write "Aristides" on it. The latter asked if Aristides had ever wronged him, to which the bumpkin replied: "No, and I do not even know him, but I am sick and tired of hearing him everywhere called 'the Just'."
This captures the feeling many people have about Mr Blair. We recognise that, like Aristides, he has done the state some service, but we are fed up with his insufferable self-righteousness.