Today the voice of Britain's anti-war majority will be heard on the streets of London once more. Next week in Bournemouth it will be muffled if Labour party conference organizers get their way and prevent a debate on Iraq.
There is the nub of Tony Blair's crisis. He has lost the argument over the lawless attack on Iraq and with it the confidence of the country, as this week's opinion poll shows, and can now only seek to evade it.
The Iraq issue has become a rock Blair cannot crawl from under, leaving him entirely bereft of the command of the agenda that a premier with a vast parliamentary majority should enjoy. "Don't mention the war" may seem to him like the only plausible policy, but it is a curious start for the prime minister's new "listening" strategy and it will not calm the vast movement of opposition to the war and to the lies which have attended it.
That movement, marching again today, has proved remarkably robust and resilient. Trade unionists, Muslims, socialists, pacifists, liberals, school students and many others will be there, representing the views of the majority of the country.
Will another demonstration make a difference? Around 2 million marched in February, only to be ignored by a prime minister who placed a higher value on his private pact with George Bush than on the views of the people he represents. However, British politics still lives in the shadow of that movement.
Without the mobilization of public opinion against the war, there would have been no Hutton inquiry - Dr Kelly's tragic death would have been a matter for the local coroner's court alone. Alastair Campbell would still be at his desk, Geoff Hoon would not be a household name and Blair himself would not be having to endure the daily exposure of Downing Street's inner workings. The mass movement of February and March made evasion of the consequences of the war impossible.
The intensity of opposition to the conflict articulated through the Stop the War Coalition and its allies (primarily CND and the Muslim Association of Britain) has also rendered it almost - although not quite - inconceivable that Britain could again be committed to join in the next US-led war over a prayer meeting on a Texas ranch. If following Bush to Iraq was a near-death experience for the prime minister, a repeat performance over Iran or North Korea would finish him off.
The US president faces growing domestic discontent because of the occupation of Iraq, which is costing hundreds of US lives without any end in sight. This - rather than any conversion to multilateralism - drives his desire to embroil the UN in the occupation. Indian soldiers dying in blue helmets under US command would not put swing states in the midwest at risk in the same way.
Blair's problem is somewhat different. It stems from the perception that he deliberately misled the country about the reasons for attacking Iraq, dragging us into a war few supported. Every bit of news this week has reinforced that view. It is now semi-acknowledged that the fabled "weapons of mass destruction" are not going to be found in Iraq. Instead, the justification for the war has shriveled to a search for a plan to begin a program to develop the absent weapons.
We are told that Downing Street's defense will hinge on the argument that just because WMDs are nowhere to be seen, it does not mean they are not there - a logic familiar to any parent who has tried to maintain a toddler's belief in Father Christmas.
Meanwhile, the Hutton inquiry has finally prised out of Downing Street the truth that intelligence head John Scarlett rewrote parts of the dossier on those weapons to bump up the threat from Saddam on orders from Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell.
All this cries out for the government to be held to account in a way that Lord Hutton alone, with his narrow focus on the death of Dr Kelly, is unlikely to be able to do. Perhaps those MPs who supported the war, but pledged they would think again if no WMDs were discovered, will indeed find their voice. The Brent East byelection result may have helped concentrate a few minds. Not only is direct opposition to the war policy a growing factor in voting intentions, but Blair's inability to put the issue behind him makes it doubly difficult for the government to grapple with any other issue.
What should be done? A change in policy is more important than any change in personnel, but if every British prime minister were henceforward aware that embarking on an illegal aggressive war in defiance of public opinion would cost them their job, that would not be such a bad thing.
· Andrew Murray is chairman of the Stop the War Coalition and one of the organizers of today's "No more War, No more Lies" demonstration
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