Friday, 11 May 2007

Blair: Going…Going…

*cough*

Hardly news really and not much of a surprise and some smart arse at the back it screaming: “At last!”

Prime minister Tony Blair will be standing down as of the 27th June and what a drawn out, horrible and sometimes embarrassing process it’s been. At least now we have a date so all the speculation can end and New Labour can get on with the business of electing a new leader (shoo-in Gordon Brown, who I have a real soft spot for wholly based on his excellent economic record) and taking the country into a General Election.

Like most British people I have mixed feelings about Tony Blair, in two of the three elections I’ve voted in, I’ve backed his party and it was only the last one where I eventually turned to the Liberal Democrats; the decision on Iraq and the junior partner role in the axis of imperialism with the US the straw that broke my back. That’s a lie, the aforementioned cult of the individual was getting a little too overbearing, as was the heavy handed policy making that seemed set on convincing us that taking our human rights away was the best way of savaging them as we lay under siege by terrorism.

The highlights of Blair? Great campaigner, great people skills and wonderful emotive speech delivery that set him above rather dry opponents and marked him as a statesman of much charisma. Bank of England’s independence was a masterstroke, as was devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and, via a tough but worthwhile peace process, to Northern Ireland. Support of the US versus Afghanistan was admirable in removing al-Qaeda from direct rule but the backing of the Iraq invasion was no doubt the greatest mistake of his rule. For me though, it is the economic stability, low unemployment and sensible fiscal policy (that man Gordon of course) that has made the 10 years of Blair and New Labour worth it.

The trouble was, back in 1997 the expectations of the nation were too heavy, after a long and torrid affair with the Conservative Party that nearly ran the country into the ground, both socially and economically; we wanted something amazing to pull is out of our Tory stupor and we thought, albeit briefly, that we’d got it. We hadn’t but it was far better than what we give it credit for now.

Maybe when the dust settles, we’ll look back a little fonder on the Blair years, that’s if the spectre of Iraq does loom too large…

12 comments:

  1. I find this really interesting. Not being an expert on Blair, I hate to weigh in too heavily. However, it seems like he started out with so much promise that was destroyed by his blind following of Bush and his idiotic war policies. I pity him more than anything.

    BUT, I have a question for you and maybe you'll know (I tried Googling this but had no luck):

    Glenn Beck, a well-known moderate talk show host (3rd listened to show in the USA), reported about a week ago on some wacky concentration camps that Blair has set up and sanctions. Apparently people who are fractious and not doing well in their neighborhoods are rounded up and put in some sort of happy camp where they're taught how to behave. Then they're gradually reintroduced into their neighborhoods. Apparently entire families have had this happen to them?! Is there any truth to this? Glenn Beck is ALWAYS (until now, perhaps) careful with his sources and reporting.

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  2. Labor has lost in Scotland and Wales. Unless there is a change of course, expect Tories back in power.

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  3. Read this week's Economist on Blair. You're just about on par with the oped.

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  4. Saur: that is totally invented and not true, madness indeed!

    RE: Labour are still a force in both nations and as for losing the election against the Tories, I don;t think you know of the 18 years fo hurt they caused the UK when in power.

    Clarissa: I have and I like it.

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  5. We're not getting any information here. Why did he resign? Did it have anything to do with the 9/11 conspiracy theories? Are they running things on the BBC that say that the Trade Center was blown up instead of brought down by the planes? We're in the dark here.

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  6. UWL: I'll come over to yours to answer but in a nutshell, he is more retiring than resigning from being PM, he is remaining as an MP until the next election, there is no real reason why a part from he has been in charge too long and gone rather stale, there is no conspiracy theory involved, just political shelflife.

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  7. Also praise to Tony for intervention in the Balkans and Sierra Leone. The salvation of the NHS (because, despite the endless moaning, it is one hell of a lot better than it was 10 years ago.)

    Minor critisim for the endless ill concieved reactionary education initiatives.

    but on the whole, not bad for a smug, irritating, mass murderer & war criminal.

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  8. Honestly, you guys focus on Iraq too much. Only 150 British soldiers have been killed there, compared to some 3,300 U.S. troops.

    but you did mention something good about the economy....

    You British are like hybrids between Americans and Yuropean mainlanders....

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  9. Matt: Iraq matters not just for the impact on our troops but the money we throw at it and more importantly, the side we chose and how vigourously we chose it, Blair's course was/is an embarassment.

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  10. Nice post. Very well-written, as per usual.

    Iraq will remain the biggest stain in Blair's rule, not just for his aligning with the daft Bush, but for his mendacity (that's the only strongest word I can think of) about Iraq launching in 45 minutes. Plus, in my view, the killing of Kelly, whom I most definitely believe he was killed by MI5. I don't for one second believe he would have committed suicide.

    The truth will only out one day.

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  11. Is it me, or does that picture of Blair on the right make him look vampiristic. Must be allthe sucking up of Bush he's been doing!

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