On Tony Blair

It took me a while to realise it (2 general elections, I think) but Blair has absolutely no principles. That is to say he is a pragmatist through and through. He works to expediency. How could anyone with any principles whatever move so seamlessly from a close relationship with Clinton to an even closer one with Bush?

He would sell his own grandmother for a bit of influence.

He used the Labour Party to get to power. Last week he enacted his Education legislation leading the Tory party, with the Labour party in opposition. He has completely sidelined the Trade Unions and embraced privatisation, even where nationalisation would clearly make more sense and would be extremely popular (railways). He took us into a war which the vast majoriy of the country has always been against. He managed to get Student Loans on the statute book without ever getting them into a manifesto, by so doing setting this country’s debt culture in concrete. He continues to make noises about climate change while doing absolutely nothing about it other than to make it easy for big business to pollute.

He now has no credible opposition in his own party other than the Chancellor. Neither has strong allies – everyone else is a pygmy by comparison. I think it was Andrew Rawnsley who wrote that when Labour came to power, Blair had only three really able politicians in his cabinet. Robin Cook is dead, Peter Mandleson is in Europe, Gordon Brown is his enemy (compare Trotsky / Stalin). Even Prescott, who wielded a lot of power and could have made life difficult for Blair if he had wanted to, is now just a shell of a man after his recent scandal.

Blair seems to me to be one of the most brilliant politicians this country has ever had. He is a disaster as a Prime Minister, but an absolute master as persuading enough of the people that matter to support him when it matters.

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