It seems harmless, doesn't it? A journey. A gentle voyage on a boat. A train ride to the south coast. An ocean crossing to a new life. It seems Victorian - picnics and sandwiches, lemonade and a squalling baby. Not any more. Not now that Tony Blair, toned and tanned, has thrust his moody face on to the cover of a book and called it . . . The Journey.
Tony, why are you so effortlessly irritating? Whether it's cosying up with hedge funds, or accumulating cash like a panic-shopper in a fuel strike, or telling us all what to think about Iran even though it's not your job any more, you aggravate for a living. And you top it all off with that book title. Because "the journey" - in the context of a Blair memoir - doesn't actually mean journey any more.
This is not a book about the time Blair flew from saving Sierra Leone to sort out the Middle East and what he watched on the in-flight entertainment. This is a journey. It is something waffly spiritual, something abstractly internal, something indistinctly emotional. Some other examples of journey books - The Journey: an Extraordinary Guide for Healing Your Life and Setting Yourself Free; The Journey for Kids: Liberating Your Child's Shining Potential; and Where's Wally? The Fantastic Journey.
With the honourable exception of Wally, none of these journeys is a journey at all. They're all intangible efforts to do something about your life or someone else's in a way that is definitely going to make everyone cry at the end. Good old Wally, flying the flag for hard truth in the midst of psychobabble. There's even "journey therapy" now, a "healing process" that "gives you the tools to resolve your issues and let them go". Maybe Tony has sampled its powers, resolved his "issues", and let go. No wonder he could simper his way through the Iraq inquiry.
So, a rallying cry: let us reclaim "journey" from the hands of these empty emoters. Let's get back to its basics - the gentle act of going from A to B, getting on and getting off, a sketched line following a contour on a map. This is a journey, Wally-style, the real deal.