So Long Tony!

tonyblair1.jpgSo today is the day that Tony Blair leaves Downing Street, after 10 years as Prime Minister. Wow how time flies. 10 years ago I was nearly 17 and was preparing for my A Levels.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be sad to see Blair go.  Despite the fact that I stopped voting Labour some time ago, and that Tony Blair made a massive error of judgement – and that’s putting it nicely – with the Iraq invasion I still believe that he is an amazing politician.

He ushered in a new era for British politics; a new way of being and interacting with the people far far removed from the Iron Lady approach of Maggie Thatcher. Him and his ‘Third Way’, that clever maneouvering of the Labour party into a political space where it is now neither Right or Left, are the reason why the Conservatives are in such crisis. He made England into a global economic powerhouse.

He has made mistakes for sure. In addition to Iraq, he also made some very bad moves for education by (amongst other things) bringing in university tuition fees and abolishing state assisted places which assisted poorer students in attending private schools. Under him house prices have risen uncontrollably and the gap between the rich and the poor has widened. But aren’t some errors to be expected? Is it possible to expect a PM to please everyone?

Society has changed in the past 10 years and he has had to respond to that. Now we no longer have the same levels of unemployment and so on that we had a decade ago…instead terrorism and multi-culturalism are new challenges. I am interested in seeing how Gordon Brown will deal with these.

However, even from a distance Tony Blair is like an old friend, someone you could have a good chat with in the pub. Affable and likeable to normal people, musicians and entertainers, but also able to deal well with his political colleagues on a national and international level. He is a great leader, a great orator, someone who inspired people to follow him. Isn’t that really what a Prime Minister is meant to be? As a figurehead for the Labour party he has done his job superbly. After 10 years it’s a bit like saying goodbye to a good mate!

Numerous articles have been written about Blair’s legacy and how he will be remembered. Unfortunately for him I think Iraq will overshadow everything, but I’m pretty sure that he will brush it off and continue to thrive. He certainly has the personality for it. Good luck Tony!!

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