Is a 'ceasefire a.s.a.p' different from an 'immediate ceasefire'?
For days now Tony Blar has resisted demands that he calls for "an immediate ceasefire". Now, after the tragedy of Qana, he is calling for "a ceasefire as soon as possible" which sounds awfully similar. Has he changed his position then?
The answer is no and yes.
No because he has not altered his view that those calling for an immediate ceasefire have no idea how they would bring it about. This is what he derides as "commentary" on events rather than working to shape them. He still insists that a ceasefire must come from both sides, that it must stem from a new UN resolution and that it must lead to a long lasting peace and not just be a temporary truce.
Yes, though, because he has moved to end all doubts that secretly he wants Israel to carry on its military campaign until it defeats Hezbollah.
He will still not utter the words of condemnation that Jack Straw - his former foreign secretary - has, or indeed leaders like President Chirac of France did today. This, we're told, is because he wants to retain influence with the players in this conflict.
Today he's focused his energies on talking to the Lebanese. After the tragedy of Qana it is easier to see why they may want to agree to a ceasefire but harder to see why Israel will. Tony Blair's influence in Jerusalem is limited. His best hope is to persuade the Americans to persuade them.