Share via Email This article is over 4 years old Tony Blair: In a lengthy essay on the threat posed by Isis on the eve of the UN general assembly meeting in New York, Blair warned that air strikes alone would not be enough to combat the jihadis.
Chariots of fire Tony Blair campaigning his way to a landslide victory for Labour, April Standing next to me was a young David Miliband, then a Blair adviser. After 18 bleak years of defeat, schism and humiliation, British Labour had finally triumphed.
The New Jerusalem nerve was tingling again. Ten years later, Blair stepped down, exhausted and diminished. Bullied out of office by a relentless rival, a ravenous media and the accumulated weight of many disappointments, he moved on.
Few modern political figures have attracted as much adulation and vilification as Blair. Even fewer have seen their names turned into abstract nouns, denoting a distinct doctrine and adherents.
Fewer still have changed global politics in the way Tony Blair did. In the jaundiced world of political insiders, Blair is largely remembered for the invasion of Iraq, the elevation of spin, and a supposed disconnection from the party and movement he led.
This perspective is as superficial as it is pervasive. Blair was a transformational figure, equal in significance to Margaret Thatcher.
Far from the apparently rootless postmodern marketing guru he is often portrayed as, Blair is in fact a creature of British history.
His desire to heal the hundred-year breach between British liberalism and socialism, his resemblance to nineteenth-century British prime minister William Ewart Gladstone, his devotion to obscure Scottish philosopher John Macmurray all speak of a man deeply immersed in the history and culture of his country.
In part, this is because he offered something different, something less cynical, more ethical and more considered than national leaders usually do. He set the bar very high, then failed to clear it. Had a clever schemer and trimmer such as Harold Wilson, the former Labour prime minister, made the equivalent choice and taken the UK into Vietnam, it would have done his stature a lot of harm, but few would have been surprised.
Blair soared high in the popular imagination, so had much further to fall. His slightly Messianic style made him vulnerable. He refused to take the path of cheap popularity that tempted Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, and allowed his imperial instincts to get the better of him.
His muscular liberalism was at least relatively consistent: Non-involvement is usually easy. The risks of intervention are huge.
In supporting Bush on Iraq, Blair made a terrible misjudgement that will forever diminish his legacy. Perhaps his latent Catholicism and his experience of nasty sectarianism within his own extended family gave him an ability to empathise with the nationalist minority in Northern Ireland that his predecessors mostly lacked.
The ingrained British sense of superiority over the Irish has been a formidable obstacle to peace and justice in Ireland for centuries.
Underneath the hype surrounding major education funding increases lie some genuine achievements. Yet there was also a downside: Changes to the National Health Service were more problematic.
Whether deference to then Chancellor Gordon Brown in such areas was unavoidable is difficult to say, but it seemed to reflect his natural orientation. A barrister, an actor, a marketer, Blair was always more at home in the big-picture world of rhetorical flourish and sweeping initiative.
He deserves credit for navigating a way through the treacherous shoals of Euro-politics, which offer little but trouble for British leaders. He managed to develop and sustain fairly good relationships with major European leaders in spite of some fundamental differences.
His clear interest in the euro currency was perhaps fortuitously doused by Gordon Brown, who read the structural economic challenges more clearly.
However powerful Brown may have been within the government, Blair cannot escape responsibility for the lax economic stewardship of the latter part of his prime ministership.The extract from Tony Blair’s political speech on terrorism at the Labour Party conference was published on “The Guardian” on the 2nd of October “The Guardian” is a British Internet newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group.
Tony Blair was, electorally, the most successful Labour Prime Minister forming three Governments with comfortable majorities. Wilson formed four but two had tiny majorities and one had no majority at all.
Most importantly, Blair’s government has strived to combat poverty and promote development, especially in Africa (Held and Mepham , p 8).
Despite some its shortcomings, it is evident that the Labour’s foreign policy was motivated, at least in part, by moral ideas and values (Heins , Dunne ). Here the most important thing is to expose it, to speak out against it, to make sure that at each point along the spectrum the proponents of this ideology are taken on and countered; but also be.
Watch video · Although the then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, approved the sharing of British intelligence that led to the Libyan couple being captured and tortured, it was Blair's role that was most morally reprehensible. In The Blair Effect.
Ed Anthony Seldon, pp , London: Little Brown, “If Tony Blair had not existed, he would have had to have been invented”. Also very important to Blair has been the Chief Inspector of Schools, Chris Woodhead, originally appointed by .