By Ray Fleming

The unprecedented scenes in London yesterday will be hard for Tony Blair to ignore. When all allowances have been made for the doubtless mixed motives of those on the March of a Million, the fact that so many ordinary citizens insisted on registering their simple protest against his determination to use military force at an early date cannot be brushed aside. The idea that the British public is apathetic about politics is clearly untrue when it come to the crunch. What should Mr Blair do now? If the job of the Prime Minister is to persuade and lead the country to support his international policies, it can be said that he has failed. Would he win a vote of confidence in the House of Commons without Conservative support? Should he therefore resign? Probably not. It would be wrong to leave the ship of state with a new captain at this dangerous moment and with many servicemen and women already committed to the Gulf area. Mr Blair should therefore say that he has received and understood yesterday's message and will do two things: first, tell President Bush that Britain will in no circumstances join the US in war without UN authority; second, work with other Security Council members to authorize the continuation and strengthening of the work of the Weapons Inspectors while retaining the right to use military force in the end if Iraq proves to be recalcitrant. That is a tall order but if Mr Blair continues with his present subservience to the United States he will have to go sooner than later.