2 thoughts on “Tony Blair, dread creature of the forbidden swamp

  1. Ramsay says:

    There has been one Labour Prime Minister elected during your lifetime. That was Tony Blair. Before that, the last Labour Prime Minister to be elected was Harold Wilson in 1974.

    Blair paved the way for Cameron (a faux conservative); Wilson paved the way for Thatcher (a real conservative).

    So Blair is not merely the ONLY electorally successful Labour Party leader of your lifetime. He is also the only Labour Party leader who shifted overall ground of British politics towards the left (at least since Clement Attlee, who was in power all the way back when Winston Churchill was still in parliament, homosexuality was illegal, and India was a British colony).

    But, by all means, continue to make the legacy of the ONLY successful Labour Party leader that most people have ever known into a hate-figure. It just helps to guarantee that Blair will be the only successful Labour Party leader you’ll ever have.

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    • lukesavage says:

      It’s too bad you weren’t able to enjoy this post (reblogged from somewhere else, not written by me) because it’s actually very amusing, which is the main reason I posted it.

      To your comment though: I reject the premise that Blair somehow “pulled British politics to the left”. On the contrary, his embrace of the Thatcherite consensus was met with an aggressive zeal for neoliberal marketization that in some cases exceeded hers. Under Blair began the privatization of the NHS – something even Thatcher never attempted. In its first term, Labour even proudly matched the spending plans of the Tories. Blair’s principle ally on the international stage was arguably the most right wing US President in decades. That Cameron followed (after Brown) probably does have something to do with Blair, but the idea that Cameron is a moderate conservative is not born out by his record in government – however he initially softened Tory rhetoric with a patina of localist and communitarian language. The Cameron government has shifted British politics even further to the right, something which Blair is partially to thank for.

      It’s true that Blair won three general elections, but Labour also lost about 5 million votes between 1997-2005. And they didn’t lose them to the Tories or Lib Dems either – many of those people, Labour’s traditional base, simply stopped voting or, on occasion, have voted for parties like UKIP and the BNP.

      Even if we disregard Blair’s record in government, his career since has involved collecting absurd speaking fees to address issues such as “world hunger” and advising dictators on how to best spin massacres. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/11052965/Tony-Blair-gives-Kazakhstans-autocratic-president-tips-on-how-to-defend-a-massacre.html

      He is not a figure to be celebrated by any measure.

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