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I actually think Blair would not have been a "great" Tory leader but I think he'd have been ok. He would certainly have had much more support for his instinct to reform the public services. He would have been a liberal conservative --- a bit like the man now in charge of our party.

A stunningly effective political operator.

It is rather odd that even the Conservative columnists say that Labour has managed the economy okay. The key factor for the benign (low inflation)economy is that massive low cost factory called China (and add a sprinkling of other Asian Tigers and the recession hit Japan). In the past, whenever demand got out of hand, prices went through the roof, interest rates went up and there was recession. The boom and bust which Gordon Brown constantly harps like a broken record.

Thanks to free trade there are no consumer goods made here in the UK. The stealth taxes were used to boost Public sector employment and the wages, although at present we run a trade deficit and even the current account is in deficit - not a good sign. The raid on pension funds weakened a lot of company balance sheets, which depressed their values and a number of British companies have fallen into the hands of overseas companies - taking HQ jobs (and R&D investment) with them.
In 10 years New labour has bankrupted the country and relative poverty has gone up.

Added to this is the institutionalised sleaze on the part of Blair and his cohorts - Britain has lost its respect.

Some achievement !!!!

A disgrace . For many years a complete moral coward and when he finally finds his courage we get the Iraq war.
I think he more than any modern leader in Britain has debased British politics,
He has however proved that lying and spin can be used effectively with the electorate.

He allowed Gordon Brown to wreck our economy, driving down our growth rate, decimating our pensions and letting inflation reestablish.

He allowed John Prescott to corrupt public administration, and create regional government without a popular mandate, along with 100's of quangos which have destroyed morale in all areas of public service...health, education, prisons, the armed forces and so on.

Public spening rose from UKL8 billion a day in 1997 to UKL14 billion in 2007.

People are miserable living in a country whose leaders have no values other than their own aggrandisement, and whose petty private jealousies dictate the course of government.

In essence, in ten years Blair ruined Britain which was a great country, and is now an economic and social disaster.

The only solution is to quit the EU, sack the quangocracy and reestablish accountability at local level. It will take a generation to undo the mess that Blair has wrought.

In fact he did little. He allowed others to pursue their pet policies and pursuits just as long as they flattered his tiny little ego. A flaw character about to be followed an even more deeply flawed character in Gordon Brown.

How can anyone who spent the 12-15 years up to 1992 as an active member of the Labour party EVER be thought a credible leader of the Conservative party?

I allow that John Smith's advent gave birth to less lunacy, but up until then you had to be bonkers to believe the Labour line on a whole raft of policies.

J Wells above compares him directly to Cameron, which, dismally, is about right. Statist soft-left consensus politicians, both of them. They ought to be in the same party, the one currently led by Ming Campbell.

Blair was an ineffective leader of the UK who failed to make necessary reforms, living on the structural achievements of the previous right-wing administration, and the inefficiency of the political machinery of the Tory party. The main consolation is that he was better than all the other Labour alternatives. By his own standards he failed, he did not achieve his aims of taking the UK into the Euro, of being "whiter than white", of being tough on the causes of crime, of giving the UK a leading role in the EU, of increasing educational standards, or of making the Labour Party the natural party of government. He came wanting to bring in a new style of administration but instead brought all the vices of state intervention. In short, New Labour has failed.

"What you think of Tony Blair..."

Thanks to Tony Blair's election to No10 I was galvanised to get more actively involved with the Conservative party back in 97'.
I was annoyed at Michael Portillo on this week when he poked fun at Mrs Thatcher for phoning him after that result to say "the fightback starts now". It is a pity that advice was not heeded by people like him who seemed more interested in fighting his own colleagues over the next few years instead of the government.

And while I am in rant mode, Tony Blair is not and never was a conservative, because if he had been he would not have pursued the Foreign policy direction or made the decisions he did. I don't think it is that surprising that many Conservative politicians who held cabinet office before 97' were sceptical about Blair's decisions regarding Iraq!
He allowed his Stalinist colleague next door to run a domestic policy portfolio which has had many Conservatives reaching for the smelling salts over the years.

What I think about 'Mr' Blair isn't printable

The most successful political operator of his generation. He will be greatly missed by Nulab supporters when they realise they have replaced him with a Scottish dalek.

A. He was a cunning operator and a pretty bad PM.

B. He was much better in both departments than Cameron will be if he wins. Since Cameron has no idea how to deal with the Culture or BBC how could he possibly avoid being destroyed by the BBC given that Blair (superior performer) was destoyed by the BBC...? The only way to avoid being destroyed by the BBC is to be a BAD PM as defined by the supporters of this site. Ie. Cameron will try to be Macmillan/Major leading to inevitable incompetent farce and the Tories discredited for another decade.

QED you are heading for a miserable time made more miserable by unrealistic expectations.

Looking forward a hundred years, I'm not sure that he'll merit much more than a footnote in the history books. All that kids will learn about Blair in school is: i) ten years in office; ii) Iraq.

"Thanks to free trade there are no consumer goods made here in the UK......a number of British companies have fallen into the hands of overseas companies"

Er, correct me if I'm wrong by all means, but a liberalised economy and free trade resulting in a structural shift away from manufacturing and the ownership of UK firms by foreign companies were something encouraged by the Conservatives......

Maybe it would be wise to keep the other results until Friday?

As leader of “The Project”, founded upon building up the NuLab Client State and systematically eroding the savings and liberties of his middle class opponents while tolerating the super rich (who could more easily live with his stealth socialism), there is no doubting his impact when measured against the goals he set out to achieve. The destructive effect of his legacy is another matter altogether. We should make it a primary objective to Disclaim The Legacy.

I'd rather have Blair than Ken Clarke any day. At least he knows we're at war.

The most effective political operator the Conservatives have ever faced, and a moral leper.

Blair is an utterly ruthless, amoral, narcissistic bully and liar. For him, truth is a timeshare: something to be visited on an occasional basis out of sheer curiosity. I disliked him from when his unctuous grinning persona first began to occupy our TV screens when I was a student. I almost made the mistake of voting for him in 1997 until my 25-year old PA asked me the key question: would I buy a used car from him?

The problem is that a lot of career politicians now regard him as a role model.

Sean, you are right but your comment really says as much about the vacuum at the heart of the Conservative Party as it does about Blair's political effectiveness.

He's certainly debased British politics, Michael.

I can at least say that I loathed him from the oustset, and was never disappointed by him.

"I'd rather have Blair than Ken Clarke any day. At least he knows we're at war."

Umbrella man, I would rather have the economic legacy that Clarke left without the Foreign policy mess left by Blair!

"I can at least say that I loathed him from the oustset, and was never disappointed by him."
Sean, I can share that comment although it has not made it any easier watching the way British politics has been damaged by Blair and Brown.

It's been like watching a slow motion car crash.

The willingness of British middle class turkeys to vote again and again for Christmas never ceases to amaze me.

Blair's worst achievement has been to create a myth, now being followed by our own dear leader, that pyrrhic victories are acceptable to the real believers. This is not true as the populace is now well aware of the "say anything, win at all costs" style of politics that we are also now peddling. It will end in tears just as it did for the country under New Labour.

Sean, whilst I know what you mean, I am hoping the real slow motion car crash will start next week, as the Labour Party moves further towards the distastrous appointment (for them) of Gordon Brown as PM.

Whilst our Party has possibly sometimes been too ruthless in getting rid of our leaders, the Labour Party doesn't even have the guts - or survival instinct - to get rid of its leader in waiting.

Verdict on Blair: fastastic election winner, lousy PM. Why the latter? Lack of judgement on the big issues, lack of grip or application on the detailed ones. Lack of historical perspective.

"Nearly a third agree that he forced the Conservative Party to the centre."

Don't you mean

"More than two thirds do not agree that he has forced the Conservative Party to the centre."?

Actually, I overlooked that question, Hayek's Granddad. I would say he shifted the centre of political gravity leftwards, while pretending something else. That doesn't mean a Conservative government couldn't pull it back again, so long as it had the will.

Londoner, I hope so too. I would like to think that in the long run, Blair has put Labour on the same road to oblivion as the Liberals in the 1920s.

Blair, Blair, Blair.. what do I make of him?


He's basically a torn character. He deeply wants to be popular - and is clearly deeply hurt about how hated he now is - but he also wants to be *remembered* for something significant too.

In other words, he's driven by his ego - a desire to be looked up to and admired - although he wouldn't see it that way.

His politics are driven by ambition, the desire to be seen as the "progress" (against the Labour left, Conservatives or anyone else) to be admired a force for good, to be thought of as a "good guy".

As he's got older, and increasingly vilified, he's retreated more and more into religion to justify his actions and his record to himself. He has managed to convince himself that he is right and everyone else is not. He bases it on his faith.

All this belies a chronic personal insecurity. That he can only justify his actions through his "faith", shows that he is too unsure of his own political convictions to base them on arguments from first principles.

What will he be remembered for?

Unfortunately for him, only 2 things.

Winning 3 general elections and Iraq.

""Nearly a third agree that he forced the Conservative Party to the centre."

Tony Blair neither forced us off the centre ground or dragged us back to it.
We left to have a fight among ourselves on the sidelines and only returned when we realised that the spectators had not followed us, they preferred to watch a B team kick the ball about among themselves even if they were off target more often than not.

Michael McG - re your comment on the middle classes, his trick was that he was not an immediate threat to them/us in the way that all previous Labour leaders (and the likely next one) are. He never increased the top rate of income tax (except the 1% NI surcharge), he never introduced a wealth tax, he never threatened independent schools, he never showed any interest in redistributing wealth, he never let the unions run the country, he never threatened the monarchy.

Whilst he was ineffective on public sector reforms, inattentive to the Treasury's stealth taxes, negligent of our true interests in foreign policy, and thoughtlessly destructive of aspects of our constitution, he shared many middle class concerns and, above all, was not a socialist. He therefore didn't frighten the horses and was a "safe" repository of middle class votes.

His only lasting harmful legacy is probably to a balanced constitution, the Union and standards in public life but, hell, how do they directly affect the average non-political member of the middle classes trying to get on with their lives?

Whilst we are right to be disdainful of him, we must remember that our task is to win back the Labour voters who have only ever voted Labour with Blair and who, whilst sometimes slightly regretful, will not take kindly to being told that they have been total idiots throughout.

A constitutional vandal.

The only thing I find to admire in him is his ability to tolerate his wife.

Not an immediate threat, Londoner, but still a threat in the longer term. The damage he did to private pensions, the creeping tax rises (eg Stamp Duty, council tax, IHT,), the charges for providing services that people thought they were paying for in their taxes (eg congestion charging, tuition fees) are all starting to bite at the level of people who are reasonably affluent, without being rich (the rich have done very well indeed over the past 10 years).

These people were gulled, but I agree it would be counterproductive to tell them they were stupid.

"Londoner, I hope so too. I would like to think that in the long run, Blair has put Labour on the same road to oblivion as the Liberals in the 1920s."

Interesting possibility. With the decline of the traditional Old Labour working class and their increasing switch to the BNP Labour's core vote will continue to shrink. Conversely the southern middle classes (traditional Tory supporters) continue to grow, although this doesn't necessarily equal more votes for the Tories. Nevertheless, with the breakdown of traditional class-based politics the party of the nation, as the Tories liked to present themselves, does seem to be in the best position to cope, especially if Labour swings left again.

Londoner, I understand where you are coming from and you are of course a Conservative activist which I am not. All I would say is that Blair has successfully pursued a pretty leftwing authoritarian agenda while making non-leftist noises. He has gullible "aspirational" voters to thank for falling for this pap time and again. In the last ten years, for lower middle class people in particular, taxes (and pseudo-taxes such as tuition fees) have risen steadily; the quality of public services continues to decline; their prospects of a prosperous retirement are very marginal; and the outlook for their children is even worse. Courtesy of the Labour Party, with its spurious claims to be the party of compassion and social justice, the under-35's will be paying through the nose to fund the privileges of babyboomers which they will never enjoy, while facing the full blast of global competition for high-end jobs. No doubt their expensive "degrees" in golf-course studies will stand them in good stead....

Sean at 12:13 - of course I agree. But it wasn't red-blooded socialism was it?

Michael at 12:18 - again, I mostly agree. Actually the damage to the Universities was something I should have added to my relatively short list of possible lasting harms.

I agree that Blair's instincts have been authoritarian, and certainly often Statist and centralising, but I don't think left wing. I remember being very struck during the 2001 election when in an interview with Paxman he was questioned about raising higher rates of tax and stated very clearly that he had no problem with people getting rich, and had no interest in redistributing income or wealth from the better off, stating there was no connection between that and helping the poor. It was a classic conservative position, and extremely reassuring for the better off middle class voter.

OK he has allowed sneaky stealth taxes, hitting, as you say, the less well off middle classes particularly, but there was no leftwing impetus from him on economic matters. Even the introduction of tuition fees and then top-up fees, and the decisive nudge (but not sole cause) towards the demise of final salary pensions, both of which I regret, were not left wing - although of course the strings attached to top-up fees re access etc are authoritarian. Warming to my theme (yawn, I hear you all exclaim), his war excapades were not left wing either. Perhaps in some ways he would have been more contrained if he had had a few left wing instincts!

Also, although it's not your concern Michael, if we start telling everyone that the problem with Blair was that he was a lefty, no-one will believe us.

Blair...where do i start? Liar, disappointment, in-effective, inconsistent, fantacist. More and more he reminds me of Jim Hacker. The sheer vanity and bulls*it he comes out with. Plus Hacker got caught 'lying' to the Commons! I bet the history books written in 20 years time will be anything but kind.

" The only thing I find to admire in him is his ability to tolerate his wife."

oh rich !

All of the above . I thought Blair was a flawed character from the word go . Probably a psychopath .

"Psychopathy is currently defined in psychiatry and clinical psychology as a condition characterized by lack of empathy or conscience, and poor impulse control or manipulative behaviors. It is a term derived from the Greek psyche (soul, breath hence mind) and pathos (to suffer), and was once used to denote any form of mental illness, often being confused with psychosis.

Often listed with dissocial personality disorder. Some experts are working toward listing psychopathy as a unique disorder. Only a minority of diagnosable psychopaths are violent offenders. The manipulative skills of some of the others are valued for providing audacious leadership . Some have argued that psychopathy is adaptive in a highly competitive environment, because it gets results for both the individual and the corporations they represent.

In current clinical use, psychopathy is most commonly diagnosed using the checklist devised by Emeritus Professor Robert Hare. He describes psychopaths as "intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse" .
"What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony".

I think we'll miss him.

Well William you appeared to kill this thread with that comment. I trust you are joking?!!!
Rather suprised that Southends' finest hasn't said something like 'I thort he was a grate bloke'. Make a change from him calling Conservatives useless!

There's something about Tony ... there are few politicians I feel so ambiguous about. I loathe him. But he can rise to the occasion when necessary and articulate a vision with clarity like few others. Yet he is clearly more than a fantasist, he's a pathological liar who was able to deceive himself that corruption such as he dealt in somehow left him untouched. This is why his story is a tragedy and not just a farce.

Tony Blair I expect will be remembered for being Labour leader when Labour re-entered power after it's longest time in opposition since 1923 with it's best vote for 27 years, who was the first Labour leader to be PM for 10 years, but also as the PM who gave full throttle to Peter Mandelson's machiavellian practices and pushed forward style over substance (something which now seems to have corrupted the Conservative Party too), who introduced mantras in place of genuine solutions to problems in the NHS, Education & Criminal Justice.

Who spent the second half of his premiership dealing with problems of fragmentation of the railways that had started before he came to power but had been allowed to continue and fester.

Although also for helping to rein in the Bosnian Serbs and for contributing to the removal of Slobberdan Milosevich, Mohammed Omar\Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein - all evil tyrants who deserved to die along with their regimes.

David Cameron will mainly be remembered for the A List and for trying to be all things to all people.

Malcolm, LOL! I suspect William Norton means we'll miss him because Brown will be even worse.

You all sound a bit like American Republicans griping about Bill Clinton. Yeah, it's obvious that you don't like the man, but he's repeatedly beaten you at election time. So, being unable to challenge Blair on matters of substance, and because the British economy seems to be in pretty good shape, you attack his character, honesty and integrity. At least on those subjects, the Republicans had something to work with (e.g. Clinton's impeachment, disbarment, and womanizing). All you people have, in contrast, is the silly charge that Blair grins a lot, and that he's good at political spin. Well, yes, he is -- and you should be, too. I would suggest that you spend more time learning from Blair, and highlighting the differences between Blair and Brown. Blair, history will show, was one of the good ones, and it will further show that he followed a sensible, moderate, generally pro-business course when the electorate was moving sharply left.

Leonjamespage, in ten years' time, Calvin Coolidge will seem like a great reformer in comparison to Blair. In any case, Brown and Blair are two sides of the same coin: Brown has effectively run UK internal politics for the last decade. The idea that he is a new broom is a joke.

LemonJamsPage - if Blair was "one of the good ones", who were the others, and in what order? My hunch is that you are talking complete bollox but I'll withhold for a moment. I doubt you have any evidence that "the electorate" were upset that the state didn't grow faster than it did, that it didn't tranfer enough power to itself, that it didn't re-nationalise, etc.

I thought Blair was a psychopath before 1997. He is clearly the most effective politician the Conservative party have faced (previous best = Harold Wilson) but we have to ask why he was so effective. One answer is the ineffectiveness of the Conservative party. Unable to compete with Blair's rhetoric because, firstly. during Maggie's time only "safe" (ie. inadequate) Tories rose to the top of the party and, secondly, it was too much hard work for Tory leaders to put themselves out to continually respond to Labour's spin. Then, in the 90s the Tory M.Ps burbled on about Europe and tax cuts when electors were not interested in either and wanted increased public spending.

Also, the media were virtually bought by bullying and withdrawl of information to journalists who wrote stuff not approved of. Of course the BBC was biased all along, remember the memo going round after the 1997 election saying lay off the government now it's Labour.

Industrialists figured out Labour before 1997, (eg. remember Arthur Andersson?) they realised NuLab was more corruptable than the Tories and, as a left wing party, would have more "influence" on where government money went. Hence an impression that NuLab had become industry friendly.

History will look back on Blair and NuLab incredulous at him winning at all let alone three times. We really should carefully analyse what has happened.

Sadly his cock up in Iraq will be remembered after his several undoubted domestic achivements have been forgetten.

He was lucky the Conservatives also supported that illegal and immoral war, otherwise IDS would be in number ten now.

Blair has always struck me as someone who wanted power, but had no idea what he would do with it.

The lack of direction and gross incompetence of the last decade has proved me right, I believe.

Michaael McGowan @ 10.56 - interestingly, that question 'would you buy a secondhand car from him' was posed by my late lamented partner, at exactly the same time in 1997; I had almost decided to vote for him at that time!!

I think Mr. Blair is a control freak, but I think he genuinely believes that he is a straight finda guy, who really wants the best for everything, the trouble is that when ideas, or policies etc: conflict he has no problem in his mind (apparently) with adapting his ideas/plans or indeed the truth if need be. He also sees nothing wrong in getting rid of people who question his 'truths'. An article in Sunday's Telegraph by Patience Wheatcroft called 'Government watchdog wanted: only poodles need apply', illustrates very well how far Mr. Blair and his ministers, which includes Gordon Brown will go to insure their rectitude both politically and legally, irrespective of whether they are legally correct.

Leonjamespage, in terms of personal integrity, there's quite a lot to go on; taking £1m from Bernie Ecclestone, in order to exempt formula 1 racing from the ban on tobacco advertising; the sale of honours for cash; misleading Northern Ireland's voters during the GFA referendum, and then hanging David Trimble out to dry; misleading the House of Commons over Iraq; cadging freebies off celebrities, etc. etc.

Blair believes in the intrinsic value of war. It was never mentioned but I believe a large part of his motivation toward conflict was simple blood lust. He also believes in gay rights.

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