You can see it all taking place on the Sofa at Number Ten: "Let's hope Robin meets with a little accident. He has become..a nuisance"
Robin Cook resigned as Foreign Secretary over the decsion to go to war with Iraq. "The threshold for war must always be high", he said in his resignation speech. But it is a bit, tucked away later on in the speech that made me think again about "what ifs", and it is astonishly pertinent.
"What has come to trouble me over the past weeks is the suspicion that if the hanging chads in Florida had gone the other way and Al Gore had been elected, we would not now be about to commit British Troops."
Such a huge decision, and so many lives left hanging by a "chad". That's a big, "what if". But it highlights the way in which major events can turn on one apparently desultory turn of a card.
In the preamble to his book, The Point of Departure, Cook says:
Political movements that leave their mark on history do so because they shape the political culture of society to their values.
Is it not then, a sad irony that Cook was replaced, following his death, by the election of the disgraced (and soon to be jailed, I expect) Jim Devine, MP for Livingston who has demonstrated by his greed and deceit, the very antithesis of what a career in politics can achieve?