I have been thinking about this for a while, we see Tony Blair on the television telling the pope his views on homosexuality are wrong (a strong and appropriate reaction from Mr Blair which should be applauded) and we see him attempting to resolve the Israel, Palestine crisis through negotiation. It occurs to me that Mr Blair isn't the pariah and bad man he was made out to be towards the end of his presidency (oops sorry Prime Minister-ship).
Mr Blair was a media friendly leader somebody who talked the talk and could persuade others to agree with his point of view, he made some enormous clangers (using god and WMD to justify ousting Saddam), he made some great steps forward in ending Labours reliance on trade unions to do absolutely anything and in trying to combine private and public sectors more, however his legacy appears to be that he knew when to get out, he left office as somebody who was slightly berated because of the Iraq war but someone who appeared on the whole to have been good for the country. Did he know the banking system was in a state of denial, did he know borrowing was on the up and the economy on the brink of collapse, if he did he timed his exit perfectly, surely Gordon Brown must also have known this and either felt he could resolve the problem having been Chancellor through its creation or simply wanted at least sometime in Office.
Overall the legacy of Blair is that we ousted Saddam and misguidedly in some points followed the US against the rest of the world on a number of issues, we have a benefits system which encourages people not to get jobs or to get pregnant as the easiest way to get on the housing ladder and the nation appears distressed by the issue of immigration, all of these issues increased under Blair but putting it in context, we joined the EU fully during this time and this has put strain on all three of these systems allowing EU citizens the same rights as their home state.
In my view, politics is progressive, some of the issues we talk about now are still hangovers from the previous conservative regime as much as they are labour issues, I do think however in a few years when the Blair policies have been in for a long time we will be able to judge more fully the exact legacy of his reign as Prime Minister.
So as we enter into the era of Gordon (and one that ould be quite short in reality) what exactly is the legacy of Anthony Blair and his te years in office.
Well perhaps his biggest success has to be in the fact that he turned the Labour Party into a credible political force that won three elections in a row which is no mean feat given the shambles that the party was in during the 80s and early nineties. He was able to modernise the party and rid it of the loony left label that hampered it throughout these years and at the same time he was able to exploit the divisions in the Tory party over Europe and immigration.
His second big success is the peace initiative in Northern Ireland and the fact that he was able to see to a finish the work started by John Major, this has to be a lasting achievement for him and given the long standing divisions in that community the relative long period of peace and the inclusion of the republican groups within the political process is a major success.
The third positive about his time has been the stability of the economy and the fact that education standards and the structure of the schools have been raised considerably. A lot of schools have benefited from new buildings and although there has been a focus on testing this does seem to have raised standards considerably.
On the negative side there has been a number of scandals within the government and despite the claims of a sleaze free government after the corruption of the Tory government this seems to have continued with Labour.
I think that his actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have made life better for the majority of the citizens however it has come at a high cost in human life and also could have been handled a lot better, certainly the Americans have under estimated the size of the force needed to maintain peace and disbanding the Iraqi army was a huge mistake.
Overall I would say it has been a prosperous ten year under Blair and he will go down as one of the great Labour leaders.
Tony Blair served as Labour Party leader for 13 years and as Prime Minister for 10 years and 1 month.
Blair made huge impact on British politics.
Blairs legacy will be tainted with his biggest error as a politician, getting involved in Iraq.
He lied to pave the way for British involvement. His lies have cost the nation hundreds of soldiers and a suicide attack in London which killed over 40 people.
To me Blair is an enigma. He was a more of a presentation politician than one of substance, that is public perception however he done many things which are good for the nation. Taking interest rate decision out of politicians hand was highlight of his career as previously Conservatives had screwed up the economy to get cheap votes. Blair invested billions in health, education and on fight against terrorism. The implementation of IT and centralising government systems was a major achievement.
Failures include immigration and asylum seekers continue to pour into the country. Blairs love affair with George W Bush destroyed Blairs reputation abroad.
Blairs reliance on spin and giving out false information. He so far was the first British Prime Minister to be questioned by police while still in office.
I, the Rt. Hon. Anthony Charles Linton Call Me Tony Blair MP, surely soon to become Lord Blair of Somewhere-or-other, do hereby bequeath to the British nation:
1. An unwinnable war in Iraq.
Dont ask me to be sorry for getting rid of Saddam Hussein (not that deposing him was the objective of the war, of course; that would have been illegal under international law) and his non-existent weapons of mass destruction (which I believed in at the time, having read the sexed-up dossier I told my staff to write). Its a shame so many Iraqis have died since, and so much damage has been done, but dont blame me if we didnt have any coherent plan for managing the chaos that our occupation was inevitably certain to create. That was the Americans responsibility. I just unquestioningly supported them in everything they did. So, not my fault.
2. A bit of a mess in Afghanistan too.
Not my fault either. That part of the world has always been unmanageable, and no foreign invader, including Britain on more than one occasion in the past, has ever encountered anything but grief there. But my friend George W thought it was a good idea to invade, and I thought it was a good idea to be photographed standing shoulder to shoulder with the worlds most powerful man. And it made me very popular in the States, at least back in the days when he was also popular. Why, now some Americans even have a hazy notion of who I am and where Britain is. Thats what I call a special relationship.
3. Reduced respect for Britain in a more dangerous world.
Carping cynics say my visionary foreign policy has back-fired, and Britain is now seen as a meek lapdog to an increasingly disliked and discredited American regime. But dont expect me to be sorry for standing by our oldest ally (or to pay heed to carping historians who point out that America is not our oldest ally, not by 555 years; its the sound of the phrase that matters, not the factual accuracy). And if the worlds more dangerous, thats not our doing either. If you get stung when stirring up a hornets nest, thats the hornets fault, not yours. They shouldnt be hornets in the first place, should they?
4. The dismantling of citizens legal safeguards.
I have made huge progress in doing away with all those old-fashioned notions of justice: like the presumption of innocence and having to be found guilty by a jury in a court of law. You can now be sent to jail for behaviour that is not illegal without ever seeing the inside of a court and on the basis of no more than hearsay evidence. How? By being deemed to have disobeyed an ASBO; what a fine idea of mine they were, bypassing all those legalistic niceties. You can have your assets seized on the presumption that they must be the proceeds of criminal activity without any criminal activity by you having been proved. You can be extradited to the USA without the Americans having to substantiate any charges against you or subject them to scrutiny by a British court (needless to say, although I agreed to this I didnt secure any reciprocal agreement from the Americans; theyre our friends and we do favours for them, not them for us). And if so far you can only be detained for twenty-eight days without charge or any grounds beyond vague suspicion, thats not my doing; I wanted ninety. At least. I have to admit that there is still a little way to go before you are deprived of all your liberties, but I can proudly say that I have taken some giant strides in rolling back the evil wrought by centuries of struggle for citizens rights, and similar affronts to the arbitrary power of the state.
5. The foundations of a police state.
Well, of course, Ive given more power to the police than theyve ever had before. Not as much more as they would have liked, or even that I would have liked those foot-dragging fuddy-duddies in Parliament prevented that but more than ever before. Ive done my best to provide them with the necessary tools: diminished rights for suspects, surveillance cameras everywhere, the storing of private information on official databases, the identity card scheme, stop-and-search, and so on. The fact that they seem to be less effective than ever before in tackling everyday crime can only be someone elses fault, not mine.
6. A degraded environment.
Ive really worked hard on this one. Ive talked the green talk and argued tirelessly for a climate change agenda and only backed off when Dubya has told me to, and you cant blame me for that, can you? Of course, I havent actually done anything to restrain the paving over of the countryside, or to discourage immigration and population growth in our already overcrowded island. Or to cut Britains contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, except to give the nod to a revived nuclear programme. No matter that the problem of nuclear waste disposal is unsolved (future generations can worry about that) or that uranium mining/refining is vastly energy-consuming and polluting in itself (that mostly takes place in other countries), its a start. A start in the wrong direction, but still a start. What more can you expect?
7. Wasted years and wasted money on public services.
Well, we could hardly just carry on with what the Tories were doing, could we? We are doing so now, of course, when our own ideas were found wanting, but were doing so under different labels, and that makes all the difference. And in the meantime, weve chopped and changed, confused the professionals with reorganisation after reorganisation, set meaningless targets that forced them to distort the way they worked and spent hundreds of billions of pounds of your money to negligible benefit. So, thats all right then, isnt it? Ive given you action, Ive given you initiatives, Ive given you dynamism. Ive spent more of your money than ever before. What more do you want? Results? Oh come on, get real.
8. A degraded political process.
The supremacy of Parliament? What are you talking about? Once elected by our flawed voting system which, of course, Ive done nothing to reform since it put me into power backed only by a small minority of voters the House of Commons is only there to support the government, and the government should be supported in doing exactly what it wants without constraint, especially when led by me. Thats why I relied on a small coterie of cronies to help me take all the important decisions, and announced them or leaked them, whichever suited outside Parliament. Its also why I refused to countenance an elected House of Lords that might have become a legitimate restraint on the governments power. As it was, when they acted as a restraint, I could point out they werent legitimate. In that case, you may wonder, why have a House of Lords at all? Well, youve got to, havent you, or thered be no reason for the self-important rich to make donations (loans, I should say) to the Labour Party in order to get into it.
9. A degraded political language.
You may call it spin, but really its just government exercising its right to present itself in a properly positive light so that people can admire their leaders. If you cant exaggerate success, they might not appreciate how successful youve been. They might even come to the conclusion you havent been successful at all. Governments all about image. If you want to be seen to be spending big, you double-count and announce the same expenditure several times over as if it was new each time. Bad news is fit only for burial; for example, did you notice that the estimated cost of the identity card scheme went up by about £1billion on the same day that I made a major speech and the Bank of England raised interest rates? No, I didnt think you would. Tee hee.
10. An egregious example of all thats worst in political leadership.
Hey, steady on, I promise you that I always did what I thought best for the country, as great leaders always do. And some who arent so great. In fact, some who are downright despicable or even monstrous. Come to think of it, its what every leader says, and maybe even believes in. So youll have to judge me on my achievements, not on what I say about my motives.
And you can see my achievements, my legacy to you, listed above. All that in just ten years. Didnt I do well?
© duncantorr 2007
Alas musics meaningless loss was our unfortunate gain, as the young Tony Blair was so desperate to be loved as a rock star, but was thwarted by a lack of any musical talent. So Tony then found a new calling, he could become an actor. And we have now seen him as a world leader, "acting" the role of a world leader. Still wanting to be loved, and like a miss quote of Princess Diana I can almost hear him say "I just want to be the Priminister of peoples hearts".
Through his acting all we are really seeing is an ego that over shadows any political or ideological thinking. His love for Bush is based purely on only one thing, that a US president is more powerful than a British Prime Minister and should therefore be admired and worshipped, regardless of content. A sycophant to who ever is the most powerful.
Blair has endorsed Thatcherism and brought the free market to socialism, an oxy moron if ever there was one. With targets and numbers he counts everything which can not be counted. Tonys number crunching as a solution to society has endourced increasing poverty, and a lack of social mobility, and in-equality, and reducing our civil libertys and ancient freedoms.
The CCTV and ASBO God, the grinning malign Mary Poppins of the super nanny state.
Phony Tony, a vacuous actor with the Dome as his exemplifying monument of inept uglyness, a lover of foreign trips to celebrity hideouts owned by other members of Cool Britannias delusionary wanker elite. His gifts of Honours for cash. A Clintonian disappointment, with vast sums of money thrown at public services to no avail.
But worse than anything is Iraq. Tony did imagine himself as a beloved savior and liberator of Iraq and would wage "aggressive war" to bring that country a free market ecconomy and liberal democracey, a Churchillian romantic who could save us from all those science fiction bio-chem nuetronic Sadam death rays. It was the over riding conclusion at Nuremberg in 1945, when all those German Generals defended their actions with "we had to wage war in order to defend Germany against communism Yugoslavia Polish ambitions and the price of fish" that there is no excuse for waging agressive war. We are going to lose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather we have already lost them.
The blood that Blair has spilt has encouraged a rise in the prowess of militant Islamists, who had previously failed to inspire the ordinary Muslims of the middle east, and who's attempts to hit back at western imperialists, and despotic rulers in their own country's had been an un qualified failure. Now they see it is at last a possibility.
The half a million dead and the two million refugees of Iraq and the continual killing, and a nation bombed into the stone age is all the Islamists need to prove their point.
Arms and legs blown off Tony, and bodies knee deep in oil and ego, here and abroad are down to you and the Neo Cons. That is your legacy, The mass murderer of children the, destroyer of so much human life. Tony smells of death, it ozez out of every pore and every breath he takes.
All of my adult voting life has been spent with only the one prime minister so it is actually quite a strange thing to think that in a few weeks there will be a change, not that I spend much time thinking about it, it is just that it was something I realised the other day when talking to friends.
So what will Blair legacy be, well I guess the most dominant one will have to be on the subject of Iraq as this very much feels like a job that is nowhere near finished and will carry over into future governments. I can't see anything changing short term with this countries support of the Americans, at least until they have their own elections. Certainly while I can see the reasons for the war it does seem like they under estimated the number of troops they would need to secure peace and Blair must accept some responsibility for this.
There are a number of positives that Blair will leave as his legacy, Northern Ireland and the peace agreement that has been moved forward has to be one of them, this has been a great achievement which he has played a part in.
I also think that the economy is a lot stronger and that we are now a lot closer and more involved in Europe than we have been previously and gaining the benefits from being involved.
The final bit of his legacy which may come back to haunt Labour is the fact that his success has made the Tory party elect almost a clone of Blair to fight the next election as they are desperate to get back into power.
Tony Blair will leave 10 Downing Street on 27th June. He has served as Prime Minister for ten years. His successor will be Gordon Brown. How will the public and his peers remember him. His legacy is controversial.
Two sore points during Blair's tenure will be the death of David Kelly, forgotten by pubic but not by historians and the war in Iraq. Blair failed to convince the nation about the war, he lied repeatedly in parliament to win the vote for war. OK Blair had decided to go to war when he himself knew there was no credible evidence or reason to invade. MP's knew that yet they backed him. Cabinet ministers knew the truth too yet they backed him. In next ten years people will forget the war, historians won't. It won't matter, Blair won't be dragged to international courts as a criminal. Never mind ½ million Iraqis are dead. Do any of you know any Iraqis? I don't. Blair will get away with lying to public about Iraq war. He will get away with the fact that over 100 British personnel are dead in this war. That is life of a politician.
On home front Blair has been incredibly lucky. Economies of G8 are doing well. Is it Blair's policy or global trend. Perhaps global trend.
Blair's major major disappointment was the razzmatazz that he brought with him. It was era of King Arthur and Camelot. Ethical foreign policy died with Robin Cook. Elsewhere Blair smiled a lot but did little policy wise.
Blair is a total failure as a fair and able leader. Despite winning three elections I think he never had the balls to make bold decisions to change the country. He never effectively dealt with crime or immigration, two of the most important issues domestically. He enraged many Muslims by treating them all like terrorists and arresting people without proof. He failed to recognise the problems within Home Office. He failed to root out corruption. British passports are on sale for hundreds. He failed to control crime, he failed to build more jails. I can go on and on.
I think Blair is a failure. He is a mirage that fooled us all. Legacy don't matter. People don't care about what politicians get up to. Newspapers and TV stations don't care. Blair has got away with treason. He is a traitor.
He was a good prime minister. His legacy will be good one. Even Blair will admit that war in Iraq was a mistake. In hindsight we can blame him. One thing that we can't tell is the future.
Blair has changed so much and made this country a better place to live in. No worries of paying £200 mortgage one month and £600 next (remember Lamont).
turned around NHS, invested millions, benefit is showing now.
Schools improved under Blair. Higher percentages of students going on to higher education and coming out with degrees.
Employment, more people are working now than ever before. Tax credits for low paid workers.
Mothers can go to work, leaving little ones in private nurseries at fraction of cost.
Robust economy, high employment, low inflation and low interest rates legacy of Blair making interest rate change decision independent.
Blair's legacy in Kosovo, troubled nations in Asia and Africa is a good one. He helped stop a genocide in Kosovo.
Blair's standing in Europe. Much better than previous government.
Blair's standing in his own party.
Blair's ability to win over public. Three elections consequently, first for Labour.
Blair has achieved so much in a decade. I can't criticise him. Honestly I can't find any reason. He was a great leader I wish him luck for the rest of his life.
$$ Tony's legacy $$
I've never been Prime Minister... I'm very sure that I won't be either, nor am I an actor unlike Blair, or an aspiring MP of any numpty party that dreams of power every 4 years or so whatever the probability. I don't give out leaflets with a grin and give out clammy handshakes hoping for a job in parliament. Hoping that people I don't know will vote for me... to serve this country... slag off other MP's who are just as sleasy as me. Pretending to like and back fellow members of the party for the sake of unity and cohesion and power, chant crazy slogans like "NHS is in the best shape ever" while on Question Time; leaving a look of despair sketched on the drawn faces of the unemployed young Doctors in the arena. That one momentary pen mark on a ballot paper, makes all the difference. Elected and ready or not able by law to serve to the nation.
In 1997 it had been so long since a Labour government. TB and comrades had to re-invent itself to 'New Labour'. Now they were all in untread waters. In power. Waiting for all the gloriness to die down so that actual work of governing can take place. For any work to be done... yeah the policies and all the reforms and all that spin can start. TB had to get Noel Gallagher out of number 10, re stock the wine seller, get pictured playing on the guitar. Make 400 phone calls in thanking Lord Levy Mr Cashpoint to his friends. Get the printers to change the letterheads. Remove Margret Thatcher's portraits.. No he left those; especially the one in the bedroom. he also had to send Fred Perry jersey's to the US as gifts, and keep Gordon Brown out of number 10 as for the first 1 year he kept mistakening it for number 11. With all that going on... we still expected an unmeasurable amount of change. That is exactly why he was elected and for many of us, unfairly I feel, are still waiting, 10 years on. During the last 10 years of his PM ship he even had holiday's to West Indies, Italy's wine forrests, and got to know Cliff Richard. TB has worked tirelessly for years on many Plans for making the Middle East democratic, without knowing the cultural differences and the damage it will endevour. Time is spent keeping wife Cheryl on a leash, by vetting all her friends and business contacts after all her mishaps and dealings.
He was the youngest elected PM Britain at 43 years of age. At the start all full of hope and fresh faced, able to knock a football around, play tennis, he certainly wooed the mature ladies, with his mincey smile perhaps apologetic. He was the ultimate picture of total committment to the Premiership and his young family.
10 years on... He has claimed to being tired of his Premiership and it is clear "we" as a nation have grown tired of him; it was inevitable. The fresh face Tony is no longer fresh faced. We have seen him on the TV in some manner, twice a week on average for 10 years. That is over 1,000 times and that is not including all the newspapers. The Premiership is a very intrusive job with a 24 hour media service that looks for discrepancies of many kinds. I'm no Blairite, but even I can see that eventually TB boredom would prevail.
In a months time we will be having the "Brown" installation. Mr Prudence himself. It has been well documented that "Brown" is a very insular man. He works only with a tigh knit of colleagues.. He will have to broaden out his work ethics otherwise he and the Labour party will crumble. The Premiership is on unchartered waters. Mp's will now rally round GB and be very agreeable all of a sudden to gain a cabinet placement. In the coming months this whole scenario will determine Tony's Legacy. A dawning of a Frank Sinatra styled encore may arise, to save a deminishing party. I understand that you cannot get on with everyone in politics... but actually hearing Mp's resigning from posts fearing GB's wrath is totally unheard of. Tony's Legacy could still be in the making, I can see a Frankie rendition of 'New York .. New York' after a swan song of 'My Way'.
TB has been thinking about his legacy for well over 14 years; about 6 months the media documented the NHS was on the legacy agenda.... Time is running out on that one. Last week it was Northern Ireland... admittedly this is surely the closest of any kind of legacy.. however, it does have Mowlan's signature all over it. She was the darling of Northern Ireland.
TB has served as he only knows how, by doing the best he can, making the hardcore decisions, taking responsibility, and spinning it about like Kylie of course, coming up to the table when times were tough, and it has been very tough; for instance, he will not stop thinking about that infamous 45 minute quote. That has stuck... It would not surprise me if Gordon Brown had planted a memo in Tony's Iraq file; a knowing look is evident behind TB when it is read out in parliament...
Unruths of that magnitude becomes unmeasurable, since then Tony Blair has been on the tight rope of 'damage limitation'. It was no surprise that the Hutton report had to become a total farce. The powers of Premiership can create smoke screens that publically will be forgotten eventually, within time. It will be, won't it. The electorate has a long memory span. The same as cash for peerages; aaahhh well this is another facade that has come unstuck and potentially could become the legacy that Tony Blair did not invisage. Money matters are notoriously messy especially when dealing with a democratic elected parliamentary system as we have in Britain. The bottom line and only line is that Mr. Blair is the only person who can handout peerages. Read the small print...Tony we all have to.. you cannot re-invent law to suit your means.. Oh I forgot .. we are in an illegal war. Oh it is all about OIL.. right, no.. it is all about the Iraq peoples security. It's rather confusing.
It is no doubt a very difficult job being Tony Bliar. TB has been fortunate to have been elected 3 times; due to poor opposition. TB's apologetic mannerisms have done him proud over the 10 years. Over 60% of UK think that TB has been a good PM. His role play with Vicky Pollard alias Catherine Tate, was clever and dissolved tension in a few areas. TB could of been very good, but however I feel the legacy is yet to be written. Gordon Brown holds the key. His historical book of 'Policies of Britain' looks from the front cover as if Brown may have a more dictatorship method in mind.
I feel that Mr. Blairs legacy title may have another chapter to run, you never know he could appear in cellebrity Big Brother.
Thank you for reading this marathon review:)
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair was born in 1956 to Leo and Hazel Blair. Leo was illegitimate child of two actors, Blairs, a Scottish family adopted him. Blair's legacy is huge. What he achieved is probably due to his genes (grandson of two actors).
In 1994 Labour leader John Smith suddenly died of heart attack. There was no front runner and Blair with backing of Gordon Brown became Party leader. He made a pact with Brown on power share which he never honoured.
Blair's biggest achievement was amendment to clause 4 which set out party policy. By 1980's the old clause had made the party unelectable. Blair came in from the cold and built a warm future for the party by amending the clause from:
"To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service."
"The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few. Where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe. And where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect."
I see this change as the biggest legacy of Tony Blair. This change helped Blair to win three elections. Before him no other party leader had won more than one election.
Blair's economic success is legacy of Ken Clarke's brilliant stewardship at number 11 under John Major. So I want to credit this to him.
Blair did pump lot of money into NHS and Education system. Things have improved but not as much as Blair had hoped.
Blair failed on foreign policy outside Europe. In fact Europe is the only place where he can be proud, Europe is shaped in Blair's vision and not Chirac's.
Blair's biggest mistake was to ally with Bush. Relations with Russia are at all time low. War in Iraq is disastrous and Blair is hated by majority of Arabs.
Blair's other success is in Africa. He set out to relieve poverty in that continent and that is slowly taking effect. Many of the countries have had their debt reduced and slowly but surly Africa is coming out of bleakness.
Blair will forever be remembered for lying to people on Iraq and helping in an illegitimate war.
Blair will also be remembered for starting the campaign to help Africa and finally he will be remembered for changing clause 4 which made his party electable.
Lauren: But Prime Minister you invaded Iraq and hundreds of thousands of people have died, Britain now hated as much as America..?
Blair: Am I bothered
Lauren: And you made higher education too expensive for working class people here, meaning more foreigners have more places in British Universities than the our own poorer citizens who are smart enough to go...
Lauren: Your slow creep privatization of the health service means two million people wont get the treatment they need because all the extra money has been spent on unneeded staff, pensions and PPF schemes that can never be paid off.
Blair: Look at my face. I Aint .Bothered!
Lauren: Violent crime rates are rising quicker than South Africas with ethnic and white underclass gang violence reaching epidemic proportions in UK inner cities
Blair: Iraq immigration crime top-up fees waiting lists speeding cameras 7/7 Bothered face look!
Lauren: Still, its better than that knob Brown.
Blair: For real!
So, TB flew to Sedgefield in grand style to announce his departure in front of a hand-picked audience at the place it all started. The gleeful activist clapped away, in awe of being Tonys mates for the day, Tony happy to have some mates. The trains were obviously too full and running late up to Gatshead and the carbon footprint of a Learjet not relevant, Blair, ever the showman and hypocrite to the last, perhaps the most succinct gesture yet by a PM that hes all hot air and no substance. Blair will only be remembered for that chesty style and that air guitar of rhetoric and spin.
In hindsight I kinda feel for Blair over Iraq as any incumbent PM had to invade alongside the Americans, our oil reserves dangerously low twenty years from now if we didnt. Its what Empires do to keep their economies going and on top. You can see by the agitated and resigned look on his face that he knows that we know that fact, and yet we wont cut him a break, and he doesnt expect us to, both parties in denial that we do terrible things to feed our rampant capitalism. That was one of those tough decisions he was on about. I just wish there was another way of going about removing Saddam, the region once again empowered in hating the West, the way the Middle East seems to function best.
Young British Pakistani Muslims didnt blow London up for God; they did it because they finally felt a chance to be relevant and noticed in a society thats pulling them apartparents and boring multiculturism one way capitalism the other...The fact we havent had any other attacks in America and here is reassuring, suggesting they were the top of pyramid rater than the bottom. I believe the threat is small but needs to be talked up by the intelligence services to justify our oil grab in Iraq, those oil companies announcing last week that there just so happens to be twice as much oil in Iraq as they expected, meaning we have to stay twice as long.
Terrorism aside, Blair has made big mistakes in other key areas, his education policy anything but for the people. Introducing charges to go to university means one thing only: intelligent poor people will be discouraged from going. 50% of our home grown rich list never went to university and so in spite of it, an impressive statistic if you think 25% of those on the same list have inherited wealth. Why dont the middle classes want to share higher education? I suppose its the same reason why they wont use public buses and toilets.
The fact that cheating is effectively encouraged by the league tables means we get a false picture of how smart our kids will be for the work place. An E grade A-Level Math pass in 1979 is now a B pass with the same paper, and soon to be an A-pass... Students who score ten percent in their exams can get an A-Level pass in the more menial courses like Media studies and sports. Yes it mentally empowers kids that wouldnt normally have the chance and confidence to go to Uni but the same kids drop out, wasting lots of money.
Under Labor and Blair A-Grade passes and university Firsts have risen 50%. A quarter of A-Level passes are now A-grades. GCSEs dont escape the grade inflation menace. In Blairs first year only 67 people in the UK passed 14 or more GCSEs. Today its 18,000! In that first year of New Labor passes rose an incredible 14%. Two thirds of secondary school teachers dont have a degree in their subject. 58% of maths teachers dont have maths degree. Less able students are the most affected, those schools employing likewise teachers.
Some schools are even sending their teachers on courses to help their students and staff cheat on exams and so ride up the league table, insuring more funding. The courses of up to £200 a time offer ways for teachers to be generous with their marking, a swag bag or oral exam scripts and how to teach key phrases to their kids that will win good marks. Other tactics include teaching kids scripts of model answers and expected and even known questions in coming exams. It seems everyone wants to the kids pass those exams and they dont care how they do it.
Blair on health
To me theres no doubt we are seeing slow-creep privatization, a method were private practice is introduced to undermine the free services, eventually the now majority private services being the norm. We are now seeing it in dentistry and once in motion nothing will stop it. Health costs in the US are horrendous, the drug companies artificially inflating prices at will because of private medicine. The people that most need AIDS treatments-90% of all cases-are the ones that can least afford it. How does that work guys?
Blairs big money push into health has been impressive, but most of that money has gone on staff wages and pensions, consultants getting those amazing new contracts where they get 20% more money for 20% less work .they dont have to work weekends or do night call-outs. I am fed up with hearing junior doctors bleating about not being guaranteed a great job. Welcome to the world guys!
Blair on Crime
The prisons are not supposed to be full during relative high employment rates. So is unemployment higher than we are seeing so creating poverty and crime or is our society producing more criminals? We know a couple of hundred scum bags in every town are responsible for half of all delinquent, drug and violent crime, yet they are never in prison long enough to bring down those rates. We also know one in seven of our prison population is a foreign national, probably a much higher percentage out there but too expensive to prosecute. The fact foreign nationals are not automatically deported, especially asylum cases, when they commit serious crime, staggers me.
What sort of message does that send to the electorate and future foreign criminals, targeting Britain to cause chaos? Currently there are 171 known ethnic minority crime gangs operating in the UK, responsible for a significant chunk of street fraud, violent crime and drugs and vice quotas.
Blair should have built more prisons and secure areas to get on top of UK crime. The prisons are full, the jail cells are full, and so judges have too release dangerous people back into society to offend again. There have been half a million more offences a year in the last ten under Blair than under Major.
Blair on Immigration
We needed most of it if we are honest, where as we didnt need the asylum surge but had to cope with. My old dad, before he died, used to say if I knew any kids at school who told their careers officer they would like to clean floors or wipe old peoples bottoms when they left school? If you dont want to do it, and the benefit system allows that, dont ever criticize the black economy. How right he was.
We need immigrants who want to work as 5.5 million of us Brits cant or wont work. I do agree that the original asylum burst was really about putting pressure on to reduce the minimum wage strain on employers-always a part of Blair and Browns negotiations with the CBI before Blair got power-rather than welcoming people here. The transient nature of the Polish immigrant serge has been great for the country. They cant claim benefits but still they pour in. That has to be a good thing. But we need to cut down on other Commonwealth immigration because it brings a caveat of crime and unemployment, only 20% of legal Bangladeshis and 30% of Pakistanis are in full-time work at any one time. Now we have the Poles to replace those guys and girls then all is well on the short fall. We know some of the younger Pakistani community has fallen out of love with the Queen. When you get a situation where a husband allegedly stabs his young wife to death for getting pregnant for honor reasons you know we are losing enough of those guys and we are in reverse gear again.
Blair on transport
The speed cameras are very annoying, part of the great plan to hit motorists for the bulk of family taxes. 17-24 year olds are the most likely to be involved in a serious car accident but the least likely to get a speeding ticket. Thats the way Blair thinks. Tax and target those who will pay. He has given up on fining foreign motorists and lorry drivers, the most likely to break British driving rules on tax, insurance and road worthiness. If we try to do that on the continent you are frog marched to a cash point to pay your bribe and fine.
Blairs biggest mistake has been to undermine public transports and rely on the petrol dollar economy, getting us back in our cars and then taxing our nuts off, yet giving out this erroneous message the hes a green politician. Over zealous parking warden schemes are killing town centers across the land.
Blair on housing
Its clear that buying a house for most is the only chance of pension provision, or at least thats how people feel, our final salary pension schemes collapsing everyday. As we dont have enough houses for our booming population then prices will keep rising. Blair has never addressed affordable housing.
Blair on the feel good factor
I just dont believe the economy is as strong as we are being told, loads of people on hidden benefits, good jobs as scarce as ever. The spin culture has buried any semblance of truth getting out and the cash for honors scandal showing big money is still setting policy for the good of big money. Where have all the idealist gone guys. I dont feel any richer or poorer, although that is my fault not his.
I think Blair has been a constant contradiction in his Presidency. Hes banned fags, but increased boozing. Speeders get nailed for £60; violent offenders go free for the same amount. He allows mass immigration and then hits small business with red tape and extra costs. He makes exams and university easier and cheaper, then double charges for the sub standard degrees. We invade Iraq to stop China and Russia getting all the oil yet we dont help the black people of Sedan being slaughtered by Arabs by China for the oil there.
Being PM is a tough job, the people who voted you in trying to get rid off you again from day one. Blair has paid by aging 15 years and will probably catch a bullet one day for his disastrous handling of post Iraq, something the strategist new would happen and so Blair must have been prepared to let it happenit could have even been the plan. That and not the likes of the minimum wage will be his legacy. If he had come out worse in that meal at the Granita restaurant and Brown was PM and Blair the chancellor, Im pretty sure the world would be a safer place now. I think we are about to find out if that will be the case.