TONY BLAIR’S NEW JOB….Apparently the rumors of Tony Blair becoming chief envoy to the Middle East are true after all. He’ll take over after he steps down as Prime Minister on Wednesday:

Working from an office in Jerusalem, and possibly another in the West Bank, Mr Blair will become the special representative for the Middle East quartet of UN, EU, US and Russia.

….The idea of Mr Blair doing this job is understood to have originated with the prime minister himself in conversation with George Bush, who then suggested it to the UN. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, is said to be a keen supporter and Washington was reported last night to have mounted “an enormous push” to ensure Mr Blair got the post.

….Diplomats familiar with the proposed mandate for Mr Blair said it did not differ in substance from that of his predecessor, Jim Wolfensohn, who left the job in April 2006.

Wolfensohn, of course, resigned because he couldn’t manage to scrounge up any actual support from George Bush (or much of anyone else, for that matter). But maybe Blair will do better. One thing in his favor is that the peace process is so completely broken down right now that he hardly has any place to go but up. For a while, anyway, he’ll look good no matter what happens.

On the down side, for the next 18 months he still has Bush to deal with. But whoever said life was fair?