Now listen up, you poor, pitiful saps. I know the Brexit vote wasn't really your fault. You just couldn't help it. You're as thick as mince. Ignorant. Uneducated. You didn't know any better. Like children playing with matches, you had no idea you were heading for disaster. But don't worry, my people. I'm on a mission to save you. There! I bet you feel better already!
Yes, with a mighty fanfare of bells and whistles Tony Blair is back in the political arena, with a speech so comically lacking in self-awareness, so gloriously arrogant, patronising and disdainful of us little people, that for a wild moment I thought it might have been meant as a joke.
But of course he's in deadly earnest. Though I've paraphrased his speech to the fundamentalist europhile Open Britain group, it's a pretty accurate description of his message.
He really does think he's on a "mission". He implores us to "rise up" and reverse the result of the referendum, since apparently we voted Out "without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit". What a bunch of wallies, eh?
Then he switches to the Messianic mode that became so familiar to us in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, though this time the issue isn't weapons of mass destruction but the supposed perils of Brexit. "Our challenge is to expose relentlessly what the cost is... to show how this decision was based on imperfect knowledge... to build support for finding a way out from the present rush over the cliff's edge."
Well, it's familiar stuff. During the referendum campaign the whole case for staying in the EU was summed up by Project Fear, a laughable catalogue of lies about the disasters that would follow a vote to leave. And as we know, every single significant economic indicator since then has exposed those warnings – from Downing Street, the Treasury, the Bank of England, the CBI, the TUC, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all – as a load of scaremongering rubbish. Sadly, Blair is simply apeing that miserable example.
But could there nevertheless be problems ahead? Of course. Nobody can know for certain what will emerge from the coming negotiations with our European neighbours. It's possible that their demands will be so unreasonable that we would simply walk away from a deal and rely on World Trade Organisation rules to regulate our future dealings with the single market.
Yet there's a good chance that it won't come to that. And even if we did go over the cliff edge – to use Blair's alarmist metaphor – would it really be so bad? There are very distinguished economic thinkers – Professor Patrick Minford, chairman of Economists for Free Trade and Roger Bootle, head of Capital Economics, for example – who argue that a freebooting, tariff-cutting Britain would be much better off without the restraints of an EU deal.
Interestingly, these were two of the economists who scoffed at all the dire warnings of project fear and who – so far – have been proved resoundingly right. But Blair? I think it's fair to say that on every single issue involving Europe he has proved miserably, embarrassingly wrong.
Remember when a whole swathe of nations from Eastern Europe became members of the EU? While other countries imposed transitional restrictions on workers coming from those lands, the Blair government immediately opened the doors, claiming that only 13,000 people would take the opportunity to come. In the event, more than a quarter of a million Eastern European migrants arrived here in the first year.
And what about the famous concession won by Margaret Thatcher when she secured a rebate worth billions on the money paid into the EU budget? In an attempt to curry favour with our partners, Blair tamely gave a huge chunk of that rebate back to Brussels, apparently in the hope that the French would agree to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in return. Britain's taxpayers ended up with a huge bill, while the CAP, needless to say, remains unreformed.
On and on it goes. Blair was desperate to join the euro and was only stopped when Ed Balls at the Treasury invented five economic 'tests' that Britain would have to pass before signing up. Without that blocking tactic – for which Balls is owed a national vote of thanks – Blair's folly would have led us to ruin.
And then there's the Lisbon Treaty and the associated Charter of Fundamental Rights. Under that Charter, the European Court is given sweeping new powers to interfere in almost every aspect of Britain's domestic policy. Blair understood this very well. Yet he allowed his Europe Minister, Keith Vaz, to assure the public that the Charter had no more legal significance than the Beano. That phoney assurance was backed up by Downing Street.
So that's the Blair record: blunders, misjudgments, cave-ins and economies with the truth. He wants to "expose relentlessly" the costs of Brexit? This posturing buffoon would be better occupied in examining the costs his incompetence have imposed on the people of Britain.
Michael Toner is a former Fleet Street political editor and co-author of a series of Bluffers' Guides on Europe.