Sunday 24 June 2007

Goodbye Tony. It's Been...Interesting.

And so ten years of Tony draws to a close...

He goes, less with a bang, more of a whimper.

Tony may be musing now on exactly what his legacy will be, what is it that will capture the imagination of future historians?

What were the defining acheivements of the Blair years?

Back in 1997, I guess people were hoping for an end to sleaze, scandal, corruption, cronyism...

Moving on...

The main slogans that we heard back then were 'Cool Britannia', 'The Rebranding of Britain' and other such drivel. Obviously, these actually didn't have much meaning, but we were less used to the full on spin than we are now. The cynicism, whilst there, had not reached saturation point.

There was this genuine sense that a new era had begun, an era of new ideas unconditioned by the old ideological divides.
This was Thatcherism with a Conscience.

OK, stop laughing, people believed it then.

They'd not read Tony's original election address at Beaconsfield in 1982, where he pledged himself to Unilateral Nuclear disarmament and EEC withdrawal. I guess he forgot about that too.

We had the New Deal, that was going to end unemployment and tackle the causes of crime.

We had the much trumpeted Lords Reform, that started...

We had elected Mayors which were introduced in a few places, before that idea hit the back burner.

We had Czars for drugs, police, knitting... But then Putin became unfashionable, and so did Czars.

We had... Jesus, I forget. There's been so many of these policies and none of them lasted long.

Oh they DID ban fox hunting. And smoking in public places.
Our lives are better for that.

Indeed anyone could be forgiven for thinking that New Labour had a lot of slogans, but no actual ideas how to implement their supposed policies.

Except devolution, of course. That was quite well thought out. It certainly put the relations of the constituent parts of the UK on a much more secure and satisfactory footing.
Actually, thinking about that again...

OK, so New Labour's policies have been ill thought out, piecemeal and often contradictory, thought up on the back of a napkin in Islington Coffee shops, mainly in response to whichever pressure group has been loudest at the time.

Thankfully for Tony however, his record need not rely on this.

He is saved from this.

Luckily for Tony, he's got his record in Foreign Policy to be remembered for!


Anonymous said...

Lies, deception and spin were at the heart of TB’s politics from day 1. No matter how Blair portrays himself, he will go down in British history as one of the most destuctive PMs ever. We need look no further than his performance at the recent EU Summit for proof of his casual relationship with the truth. A sell-out is now dressed up as a “triumph”.
How we get rid of his real legacy -a state that wants to totally control every aspect of our physical, economic,intellectual and spiritual lives - is another matter altogether.

Anonymous said...

I have been out of the UK for the whole time of Blairs term of office. It seems that he is more highly respected as a politician outside the UK than within.

When Thatcher left, most people said thank god with respect, but with Blair, it is thank god he is gone with disrespect.

Goodbye Tony. I am sure he will still be very visible.

Anonymous said...

I for one am glad he is dead!!

Anonymous said...

Tony Blair is the victim of his own spin machine. He tried to be everything to all people and eventually wasn't anything to anybody.

Anonymous said...

I feel sad for the hopes we had then.

Anonymous said...

The really depressing thing is that he believed his own own crap and having said he would be purer than pure has polluted our system even more. How will anyone believe it when another politician says "I will end spin"??

Anonymous said...

Istanbul T- This is true, but it marked a new departure in politics. Politics without ideology OR principle. Usually we've at least had one of the two.
I think his real lehacy has been making sure no one any longer can work out how our constitution works and what our rights are.

Colin- I was surprised when I ran that poll asking who would be remembered more favourably out of the two. The only unanimous poll I have run to date.

Mutley- You may have to wait a while for that. I don't wish him dead, but if he turns up in my local, he may get wet.

David- Poetic justice. Live by the press, die by the press. And he has.

Welshcakes- My hopes weren't that high. I always suspected his campaign style to come straight out of Goebbels' text book.

Part of his problem, I think has been the control frakery. He hasn't dared to allow competent people anywhere near prominent roles in his government for long.

Ed- Did he believe it? No. If he really was a man of principle, holding the views he was elected leader on in 1994, then he wouldn't even have ben a Labour candidate in 1983. He would have stood for the SDP.
To me that, speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

I heard about this on the radio. And I immediately knew what I'd be seeing next time I dropped over here.

That was a really good post. I got most of the jokes, even though it doesn't apply to me and I knew nothing about it. The last one went over my head though. I'm thinking its kinda like Howard's policy.

"Yes Mr President Bush Sir. Can I use tongue next time I kiss your arse?"

Anonymous said...

Isn't the dead? But the Pope is dead - and TB went to see him...isn't politics confusing?

Anonymous said...

Mutley, That is just wishful thinking.

Did you know that with so many praying for Tonys painful demise yet nothing happened that it is proof that god is not listening to us. So many people prayed and for naught.

Anonymous said...

I didn't understand a word of that. I can only assume that Tony is a premiership footballer that has just been transferred or a blogger on hiatus.

Anonymous said...

Phish- It is a common point made over here that Blair will be remembered mainly for getting us into Iraq and a policy on Eorope that managed to give huge concessions to Brussels, yet STILL piss the rest of europe off. Some doing.

This means that the imeptness of all his other policies may be overlooked.

Mutley- I hear he is retiring to Bridport.

Bag- I think, just to show he means to us, we should all go and stand outsode No 10 ansd sing 'Things can only get better.'

JJ- I believe he plays for Aston Villa. He'd fit in there.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any opinions about Blair's political legacy, but damn...he is good new fantasy...threesome with Bush Jr. and Blair!

Anonymous said...

Colin, that is just because you see the smiling face of Tony Blair in the media, you haven't suffered the same way, as has been so brilliantly outlined here.

Anonymous said...

Jenny you have just gone down in my estimation ;-)

Anonymous said...

Jenny- When he first became leader, he was always touted as good looking. I always thought he looked a little effeminate, but that's me.

Ellee- I tried to keep it short.
I suppose the one thing we can say, is Brown is less of a spin merchant.

Ed- I think it was just the mask picture she like...
The others weren't exactly flattering.

Anonymous said...

Tony could certainly talk the talkand he was a hotty too but he couldn't walk the walk. If you left out his politics,he represented England well.
Brown looks too grubby to be a P.M

Anonymous said...

How disappointing. I think I'm beginning to understand more fully the disenchantment that many Brits feel with Blair and his legacy. Do you have higher hopes for his replacement? I listen to the BBC on the radio very late at night here (around 5 or 6 in the morning in London) and it seems as though there isn't much regret at the departure of Blair. I don't sense much real excitement about Brown, either, though. It seems subdued.

Incidentally, my brother keeps saying Putin should just come out with it and declare himself "Czar Vlad the first."

I think he may be right.

Anonymous said...

The Ego- A hottie? Blair?
Have you looked at the pics I put up?

Ruthie- A lat of talk, but no clear sense of direction.
We're all a lot more used to everything changing again yearly. We were talking about this in the pub Thursday, comparing when thatcher went to Blair. With thatcher half the nation cheered, the other half mourned. With Blair, it's just a 'Good riddance.'

But no, we're not expecting great things from Brown either. Or Cameron. The nation right now seems never to have been less impressed with it's political class.

I think he would be Vladimir II. Russian ordinals include the Early Grand Dukes of Moscow, which is why Ivan the Terrible is Ivan IV. I'm sure one of the Muscovite Dukes was a Vladimir.
Useless point, I know. I might be wrong as well.