>I know it has taken me a few days to post on this but that’s work for you. A secondary reason is simply that few, including myself really care anymore. Blair leaves office still a young politician, yet with 10 years of national leadership behind him. Why don’t we care so much? Is it the modern apathy that infects us as we feel powerless to influence events? Or is that we are more interested in who wins The Apprentice?
Well one reason is a Blair success. Britain is a skills economy. Finance and services are the driving forces behind our economy which has continued to grow throughout the last ten years. Aiding that growth has been Blair’s vision as Britain as a global investor, a flexible and professional service provider and creative powerhouse. Unlike previous Labour governments (or frankly any before them), there has been no intervention in the movement of capital. British companies are free to buy and be bought. Economically we are in good shape and that isn’t just down to interest rates and tax cuts.
Devolution was handled well but the perennial problems of a universal health system and an unsure education policy have improved little under Blair, despite numerous policy changes. Labour’s foreign policy, with ever-decreasing ethical dimension ultimately floundered on the decision to invade Iraq. A poor policy choice leaving him forever tainted alongside the discredited Bush. The death of Dr David Kelly was unforgivable.
Will history judge him better? I don’t think so. Today’s British are too savvy and independent to make a clear judgement even if we are too apathetic and selfish to do anything about it. I was privy to a conversation in 2000 between two political Press Secretaries while I worked in as a political researcher. They discussed Blair’s grand failure. Remember this was 2000. Blair could have done everything and anything when he came into power, they agreed on. He could have reformed the nation beyond anyone before him. But he lost his nerve and allowed circumstances to dictate rather than leading the nation into a new millennium.
Will I miss him? No, not really. He had milling around too, like a school assembly that’s just too drawn out. We’ve got restless and dissatisfied. His farewell speeches, which have taken a few years to be spoken were sad and almost apologetic. We’ve had few more intelligent, near-perfect politicians. While Clinton also failed across the pond, he seems more content with it. Clinton has the force of personality, a charm and a smirk to get away with the bluff. For Blair, I just don’t know what he will do. It’s a sad ending to a potential great Prime Minister.