Tony Blair: What I got right – and Labour now is getting wrong

Politics is about applying values with an open mind, not about using ideology to avoid hard questions

12 December 2015

9:00 AM

12 December 2015

9:00 AM

All wings of the Labour party which support the notion of Labour as a party aspiring to govern — rather than as a fringe protest movement — agree on the tragedy of the Labour party’s current position. But even within that governing tendency, there is disagreement about the last Labour government; what it stood for and what it should be proud of.

The moral dimension of Labour tradition has always been very strong, encapsulated in the phrase that the Labour party owed more to Methodism than to Marx. When I became the opposition spokesman on law and order in 1992, following our fourth election defeat, I consciously moved us away from a ‘civil liberties’ paramount approach to one that started with the rights of the victim, their pain, their suffering, and put first our moral responsibility to stand with them. Of course the two shouldn’t be in conflict. But nonetheless — tonally at least — I shifted our position and did it for moral as well as political reasons.

I also revitalised the notion of community, of the importance of family ties, things which in the 1960s had become more associated with the Tories, but which actually had strong roots in Labour working-class communities. When we rewrote the party’s constitution, we put as the central tenet: ‘By our common endeavour we achieve more together than we do alone.’ We retained the ‘social’ part of socialism, but effectively discarded the ideological one. We distinguished between state and social action.

So the values of New Labour were very well articulated. Even today, many of those who did not agree with the later actions of the Labour government like this moral stance — even if they came to believe that over time we lost that imperative. So having asserted the importance of public services, we then — they say — became obsessed with introducing the market to them, thus diluting their values. That in wanting to prove our ‘business’ credentials, we believed the private sector could do no wrong. That in supporting America post-9/11, especially under a Republican president, we became fellow travellers of the ‘neocons’, rather than champions of peace. I have never written about this in this way before; but let me explain how my thinking developed and why.

Until 1997, the Labour party had been in existence roughly a hundred years. But during that time, it had rarely been in government. In fact, at that point, it had never won two full terms of power, let alone three; not even with the Attlee government. This was because we could win power by dint of the unpopularity over time of a Conservative government; by appealing to the need for change; and by burnishing our values as better and in a sense more moral than those of the Tories.

But the problem was that once in government, where hard choices had to be made, and where supporters had to be disappointed as well as indulged, we fell short. In particular, significant elements of the party saw the process of governing with all its compromises, pragmatism and embrace of changing times as implicit betrayal of our principles.

We were sometimes more defenders of the status quo than changers of it; and where we made change, it could be less driven by practicality and more by ideology. At Labour’s best — as with the creation of the NHS — idealism and realism came together perfectly. But elsewhere, as with our adherence to the nationalisation of industries long after it was clear it was inefficient, or the refusal to countenance a legal framework for unions, we confused defending interests with defending values. In this way, we fought for the traditional methods of doing things — even though it was clear on hard-headed analysis that those methods stood in the path of progress for those we claimed to represent. As a result, the public liked what we stood for in broad terms, but distrusted us as a party of government.

I wanted this to change profoundly. I could see that the chief characteristic of the modern world was the scope, scale and speed of change. So our values had to be applied in that context. What’s more, we had to apply them rigorously, unafraid to challenge old thinking even if it came from within. And where there were new problems and new contexts we had to be first to face up to them, again with rigour.

Above all, in a society in which fewer and fewer people thought of themselves as traditional working class, we needed to build a new coalition between the aspirant up-and-coming and the poorest and most disadvantaged. For the task of winning power, the emphasis on the values of community, society, family, compassion and social justice was highly effective.

But for the task of governing, we had to do more than proclaim our values: we had to have the courage and creativity to apply them anew to a changing world and make what counted what worked rather than defending interests or tradition.

This took time. Often in the first term, though we remained politically popular, we were not taking brave decisions; we were content to manage the existing system, albeit with rhetoric which reflected our different values. Some reforms — the minimum wage, Bank of England independence, devolution, peace in Northern Ireland, civil partnerships — represented major change. And progress.

But in public services, welfare, crime and pensions, we were at first timid. With experience in governing and with an attitude which was open to change irrespective of ideology, we then began to make change which was much more radical. Hence the drive for health and education reform, culminating in the opening up of the health service providers to competition, including provision in the private sector, and the academy schools. The public private partnerships for the renewal of the nation’s infrastructure; the antisocial behaviour legislation; and even identity cards to control illegal immigration. In short, we pushed the frontier of what the Labour party was supposed to be about. We were proud of our iconoclasm.

The ‘we’, I accept, was not everyone. But we should never forget that David Miliband won a clear majority of the party membership in the leadership election of 2010. He lost because he lacked support from the trade unions.

We spearheaded inner-city regeneration; mounted an audacious bid to host the Olympics; and targeted socially excluded families who were causing community problems. The school reforms were transformative. By 2007 — hard to believe now — we had satisfaction rates in the NHS higher than at any time since it was created. Crime fell, not by a little, but by over 30 per cent.

Of course we made mistakes. But we were a radical reforming government. And we tried to put the moral purpose of the Labour party into practice — the only sort of morality worth very much.

We didn’t spot the financial crisis, along with the rest of the world. It was more an absence of understanding than an absence of a will to regulate which was the issue. But the essential position we occupied in British politics retained appeal, which is why we won a third term in 2005. We were never in any real danger of losing that election.

After the 11 September attacks, I became convinced that Islamist extremism was the security issue of our time. People can agree or disagree with the decisions which I took, and the emphasis I put on the partnership with the USA, but I took them not in defiance of progressive politics but in furtherance of them.

I believed then, and believe now, that this extremism is a modern form of fascism, albeit one based on religious doctrine, and that we’re engaged in a global war against it. But the point for these purposes is that I didn’t start as one type of leader and end as another in terms of my values. What changed was that my experience of governing led me to solutions which became, over time, more radical and less traditional.

My essential argument — and indeed my argument with the party today — is that this approach has not become redundant with time. It is even more important. The pace of change is not slowing; it is accelerating. The next generation of technological advance — big data, possibly artificial intelligence — will be akin to yet another industrial revolution. Except that this time it will affect the service sector too.

We have to understand it and prepare for it. Infrastructure, housing, social exclusion — all these challenges require more modernising and less ideological thinking. So do issues to do with economic policy, particularly the impact of quantitative easing and its relationship with fiscal policy. Issues such as how to regulate banks in a way that protects us as far as possible from crisis, but also recognises the cardinal importance to a thriving economy of a thriving financial sector. All of these issues should be a huge topic of debate in progressive circles. But today they barely feature.

Right now we’re in danger of not asking the right questions — never mind of failing to get the right answers. All of this is about applying values with an open mind; not boasting of our values as a way of avoiding the hard thinking which the changing world insists upon.

Many, especially in today’s Labour party, felt we lost our way in government. I feel we found it. But I accept that in the process we failed to convince enough people that the true progressives are always the modernisers — not because they discard principle, but because they have the courage to adhere to it when confronted with reality.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Tony Blair’s first contribution to The Spectator appeared in the 18 August 1979 issue.

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Show comments
  • King Kibbutz

    What you got right Mr Blair, is you were successful in keeping your plans for mass immigration under wraps. Labour now have to put up with a voting public who know exactly what the plans were, who made them and the consequences they have to put up with for your/their continuing vain pursuit of multiculturalism.

    • red2black

      The plans you’re talking about began with Mr Reagan and Mrs Thatcher.

      • King Kibbutz

        In my opinion, the old Left/Right stuff is a hindrance in trying to grasp what has happened/is happening. They are offered us as a means of letting us think we might be addressing problems as we bungle one bunch out and march in the next. All the same result in this regard. The Tories’ version of Andrew Neather just didn’t turn up yet.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          That’s a way of trying to tinsel for radical views. That divide exists, across basically every society on earth, for good reason.

          • King Kibbutz

            I suspect the divide is particularly acute in British politics. Certainly, in comments, we tend to knee-jerk to our respective corner; to the extent that debate is polarised and largely paralysed.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Not really. Look at America, where two right wing parties…

            (To be fair, a lot of the problem is caused by FPTP…)

          • King Kibbutz

            America looks to be in a similar position to us in this. I don’t even think about electoral reform.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Well, we might be starting to head that way, as the rabid accusations against Corbyn strongly resemble the Birthers…but we don’t have a tea party equivalent undermining the Tories from the inside (they’ve used primaries there to get rid of moderate candidates, and their system relies a lot more on cooperation than ours)

          • King Kibbutz

            I’m no Corbyn fan but have to agree that the front page yelpings are not the work of a healthy press. As far as the Tories and undermining: they do that themselves from the inside.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            But there’s not the primary effect. Neither we do have the **** the Americans do with sneaking things through in unrelated laws (bills here have to be related to their long title), which is highly damaging…our Judges are career professionals…

            ( http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/09/an-elected-judge-speaks-out-against-judicial-elections/279263/ )

            Oh, and we don’t have a codified constitution. “You can’t do that” is not a hard and fast rule because of some guy a century ago… (and the judicial “interpretations” there…are entirely partisan on most issues too)

            So not as bad. But the Tories seem to want to move us there.

        • red2black

          ‘Rubbing the Conservatives’ noses in diversity’ sounds more like a reason for a bunfight between political parties at Westminster than anything to do with the voting public. The economic reason was
          ‘to plug gaps in the labour market’. The relationship between British employers and British workers is quite a contrast to those with Japan, for example: ‘Another thing that helps the Japanese keep Muslim immigration to their shores to a minimum is the Japanese attitude toward the employee and employment. Migrant workers are perceived negatively in Japan, because they take the place of Japanese workers. A Japanese employer feels obligated to employ Japanese workers even if it costs much more than it would to employ foreign workers.
          The traditional connection between an employee and employer in Japan is much stronger than in the West, and the employer and employee feel a mutual commitment to each other: an employer feels obligated to give his employee a livelihood, and the employee feels obligated to give the employer the fruit of his labor. This situation does not encourage the acceptance of foreign workers, whose commitment to the employers is low.

          • King Kibbutz

            Yes, the old bunfight trundles on. Unfortunately though, it is very much to do with the voting public, as it is they who are now suffering the consequences of this particular bout.
            And yes also, Japan sees itself as a nation whose people belong. Their concept of ‘wah’ roughly translates as ‘all pulling together for the common good’, and is ingrained in the workplace and in society as a whole.
            This might have overtones of the Tories’ ‘we’re all in it together’ but here again the difference between Britain and Japan: in Japan, words do not matter nearly as much as deeds.

  • Jack_H


    Weapons of Mass Destruction
    David Kelly
    Afganistan open ended commitment,lack of resources to the poor hapless Kids you sent out there.
    Human Rights act,bad news for everyone save a few criminals,nutty Jihadists and the barristers of Matrix Chambers(Who runs that again?)
    Participating in the Global Financial meltdown that our grand children will still be paying for,then going off and getting a very well paid job with Goldman Sachs,was this a payoff?

    On Balance not a great premiership and one that looks increasingly tawdry as each of your ‘Achievements’ is scrutinised with the benefit of hindsight.

    • post_x_it

      JP Morgan actually

      • Jack_H

        i do apologise.

  • ADW

    Roy Jenkins, one of the principal architects of the disastrous ideology of multiculturalism, admitted towards the end of his life that he had not foreseen that some groups would not accept his liberal values and instead hated the British state, consipired against it, and imposed mediaeval values on their own community especially against women (never mind LGBT). Why Jenkins did not see that coming is bizarre, but is the result of his life in the Ivory towers as the Chancellor of Oxford – he thought Oxford scholars would be representative of minorities as a whole. The ultimate seal is that when Jenkins retired he chose not to live in a multicultural paradise but in a tiny Oxford village with an ethnic minority count of zero.

    I choose this as but one example of where Labour went disastrously wrong – abandoning the white working class whom it was formed to represent, and throwing the doors open to all and sundry in the hope of attracting a new client state, the ethnic minorities.

    Jenkins died early in New Labour’s tenure. But did you learn a thing from his errors? Nope, you pursued a total open borders strategy and lied to the public; you set out to rub the right’s nose in diversity. We now all live with the consequences – ok almost all of us do; you have jetted off around the world making millions and leaving the rest of us to it.

    • UncleTits

      Roy Jenkins didn’t see it coming but Enoch Powell did.

      • Tom M

        True, I recall from Jenkins’ biography him quoted as saying with some amazement “didn’t think they would ask for sharia law”.

  • Fife Lad

    Let’s see….unbridled, unchecked, rampant immigration that you foisted upon us all. Won’t affect you though cos you’re earning £millions swanning around the globe talking p&sh to anyone who’ll listen…so a nice leafy retreat for you and the missus away from the whinging, now multiethnic Prols!
    ‘ Yo Blair!…we’re gonna make Iraq and that other place..diarrhoea-stan glow in the dark..and you’re coming with us. Got a problem with that?!!’ I’m sure Bush junior didn’t say any of that…(much!)…except the very first bit!
    #sighs# 12 years later….hundreds of our splendid young fighting men and women lost, billions of pounds squandered not to mention wrecked countries, hundreds of thousands of civilians killed and millions displaced, a now rampant insurgency running amok….all on a false premise ….and on your (and Bush’s) watch. Quite a legacy Mr Blair. I could go on however that seems to be the meat and potatoes of it. If there was any justice in this world you’d be doing ‘fifty to life’ for just the last bit alone!

  • PaD


  • Todd Unctious

    Blair was a disaster for the UK. Burgeoning ambition. A massive ego. A total lack of intellect. The vacuous and casual arrogance of a Victorian millowner coupled with the pathetic bland morals of the hippy generation.
    Shameful. He deserted every principle the Socialist movement ever had. A grim ,shallow, mistake.
    Blair’s greed knows no bounds. His morality is a truncated little joke.

  • DuValois

    Ah Blair, you again, the quintessential, the archetypical, the par-excellence political figure of this generation. Labour (or could be tory or Lib Dem) through and through, treacherous, amoral, compromised, greedy, a champagne ‘socialist’ with a deep sense of entitlement.

    Let’s remind ourselves what the Blair/Brown dynamic duo (with much help from the tories) have given Britain:

    1. An illegal war

    2. Mass invasion of Britain with welfare and tax credits payouts included… and demolishing ancient town centres to re-build Eastern Europe in England

    3. Bailing out the banks to the tune of £1 trillion with our money, i.e. applying socialism for the rich and capitalism for the rest of us, missing an historical chance to reform and clean up Britain’s banking/financial industry

    4. Pampering to islam/muslims, promoting sharia law in the UK

    5. Rotherham/Rochdale, etc

    6. Dismantle our manufacturing industry (started by Maggie) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10417838/Harsh-truths-about-the-decline-of-Britain.html

    7. Multi-culturalism, diversity

    8. A corrupt political establishment (they are all at it)

    9. Corrupt finance/banking industries

    10. Knighthoods to the likes of Fred Goodwin and Philip Green

    11. Denying the UK or renegating on an EU referendum

    12. Rampant youth unemployment

    13. One of the biggest rich/poor divides in the western world (pure treachery by labour) https://fullfact.org/factchecks/ids_on_income_inequality-28478)


    14. A bloated, corrupt and ineffective house of ‘lords’

    15. A one sided subservient ‘special relationship with the usa (the tories love them too)

    16. Repeatedly renegated on a Euro referendum

    17. Years of legal proceedings to extradite known terrorists

    18. A convenient first pass the parcel voting system to perpetuate their grip on government

    19. A cosy immoral relationship with the media barons

    20. Crazy use of PC policies in every aspect of our lives (how good labour is at this)

    21. Allowing the yanks’ NSA to ‘unmask’ our personal data. Selling us to the NSA and bankers in 2007 without any regulation whatsoever (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/20/us-uk-secret-deal-surveillance-personal-data)

    22. A party which no one knows what it stands for anymore and now only exists to provide a platform for political careers of the likes of Balls, Vaz, Harman, Cooper, Abbott, Chukka et al in government

    23. Etc, etc.

    You and your treacherous anti-British party, the labour party must be consigned to the dustbin of history once and for all.

    • Noa

      Until the last sentence I thought you were referring to the Cameronian elite which now controls the Conservative party.

  • R Fairless

    Blair got absolutely nothing right because he ruined the country. It is changed beyond all recognition and for the worse. Of course, if you are a millionaire you are largely unaffected. What with wars, fraudulent and immoral finance, unrestricted immigration, political correctness, diminished legal system, fraudulent foreign aid, destruction of the energy system on fraudulent grounds, billions wasted on subsidies to the already rich and the ordinary citizen penalised in so doing. Where to halt the criticism that is the question. Never in our history have two men, Blair and Brown, done so much damage to so much of the country. Their names will survive in infamy for many years ahead.

    • Gilbert White

      Yes but he was elected like in the Alice Cooper. The people who voted it will soon be kickback time.

  • LoneStar

    ‘What I got right’
    Tony Blair, the Lance Armstrong of politics, the parallels between the two are uncanny.
    Typically psychopaths can never see or admit to wrong.

    • davbeau

      Like DC the other day in parliament – just couldn’t apologise. Did not compute.

      • LoneStar

        Our Dave doesn’t strike me as a psychopath, he’s not nearly glib or charming enough. BoJo on the other hand. He proved his true colours not just an few months back when he flattened a school kid in promotion for the rugby World Cup. I’m not a psychologist, just my opinion

  • evad666
  • Harryagain

    Tony Bliar, War Criminal that destroyed the UK culturally,economically and morally.
    ALL form of socialism are disastrous. Bliar is the living proof of it.

    • smoke me a kipper

      Blair a socialist. That’s a good one. The child of Thatcher a socialist. You’re funny. Do you do stand up as well

      • Harryagain

        Well, all the socialists voted for him so he must have been a socialist.
        Socialist will try anything, say anything, do anything to get in power.
        They specialise in lies and hypocrisy.
        They are of course all brain dead.

        • smoke me a kipper

          Socialists voted for him. You do do stand up!

          • Ridcully

            Was the state bigger or smaller by the time he left office?

  • UncleTits

    “Tony Blair: What I got” AREN’T YOU IN JAIL YET?

  • Gilbert White

    Family property potrfolio went well. Not many refugees in these?

  • cromwell

    Blair never was Labour he was Thatchers love child.

  • freddiethegreat

    What I got right – and Labour now is getting wrong
    One of the shortest books ever written, followed by one of the longest.

    • Darnell Jackson


  • Phyllyp Sparowe

    In the wrong column:
    1. significantly increased NHS spending with no corresponding rise in taxes to pay for it,
    2. universalized benefits creating the myth that everyone could suck at the teat of the state,
    3. allowed millions of Curryology students to flood in, many of whom are now angry West hating colonists sucking on the teat of the state,
    4. invaded Iraq,
    5. sold us out in Europe despite your opt outs.
    So nothing fundamental.

  • Tom M

    The Labour Party? They were unelectable before Blair and he convinced them to be Tories with a small “t”. The Tories’ (with a big “T”) behaviour managed to infuriate the electorate just before 1997 enough to ensure Labour’s success. They were elected and screwed the country up big time for reasons that are well listed here regularly. They were thrown out of office. They chose a 12 year-old-nerd as a leader. And became unelectable. They have now chosen a 66 year-old-nerd. And to date are even more unelectable
    That’s all you need to know about Labour in the last 20 years now for heavens sake Blair GO AWAY.

  • mecha-rigsby

    Ha ha. F**me, you’re priceless Blair.

    You also have more blood on your hands than any other person alive, and have turned my country into a third world toilet.

    So shut up.

  • Suzanne Ennazus

    It’s Labour who will keep Labour out of power by repeating Tory propaganda, such as keep going on about Blair and Iraq because that’s all the Tories can use against him, while forgetting that the Tories had already committed us to being the 2nd largest force in the region, which is why more Tory MPs voted yes to the 2nd war against Iraq than other parties. Even so called Labour voters go on about Iraq, and forget all the great things Labour did after the after the Conservative years, such as helping to repair all the lives destroyed in communities by the Tories, to help more people than ever go to university. Being the first party to give us the minimum wage, that the Tories tried to vote against. Now the Tories are trying to act as if they’re for a minimum wage, as they know all most remember about politics is the last Tory propaganda headline they read. If even Labour voters forget that, then what influence do they think that makes at election time? Blair was good at arguing against the Tory BS, where they twist and blame everything they do on others. Labour voters don’t seem to want any Labour leaders that could actually win an election because they were close to Blair, when Blair was the only Labour leader the majority of the country wanted to vote for since the 70s
    The reason the Murdoch media is so against Labour is because Murdoch divorced his wife after finding a love note from her to Tony. The only thing they can say against Blair is Iraq, but the Tories had already virtually turned us into a USA state and made everybody else in the world hate us, from Europe on one side after they didn’t like EU directives good for workers like allowing enough breaks and holidays and making companies label GM food so they can’t feed us rubbish we don’t know about. To Ireland on the other side when the Tories made no attempt at a peace plan, dubbing out voices of N Irish politicians on the TV so we couldn’t hear the whole story while putting us all in danger. The Tories had made us so deeply involved with the USA in the region that we couldn’t have left for the 2nd Iraq war if we wanted, and that’s why more Tory MPs voted yes to the 2nd war against Iraq than other MPs.
    Same as how the Murdoch media tried to convince many that Labour were to blame for the banking crisis, when the Conservatives left us with nothing but banking after they stole and sold off everything public owned in the 80s, which already crashed before in the 90s when nobody could pay back the debts they were encouraged to have. The Tories want us to be like the USA where they can’t go for a minimum wage supermarket job without having their credit rating checked, it’s so important over there. If Labour had put too many controls on all the Tories left us with, the Tories would have been the first ones to complain.

  • Yorkieeye

    No mention of yours and Jack Straw’s unmandated immigration policy that would ’embarrass the right’ but instead served to destabilise and disenfranchise our society.

  • TheJustCity

    Blair talks about ‘social values’ and ‘financial crises’. Financial crises come and go. But the social crisis in the UK is Blair’s true legacy. It is something which may bring us to civil war, a fascist totalitarian government (of one stripe or another), or extermination. It need hardly be said, it is something posterity will not judge him favourably on.

    • gauntjohn

      Very well put. I might add that the real issue, and the real crime of the Establishment pre and post Blair, is the politically generated race-replacement of our people. For a people suffering colonisation and replacement the crime is pretty much the same whether the replacers are Muslims or not.

      The only way to our life now is via nationalism and the full repatriation of the post-war immigrant populations. We have about fifteen years left to do it politically, after which the electoral numbers will not be there; and the securing of our people’s life will fall to men who do not bother with the niceties of the ballot box.

      • silverlane

        And that’s the plain truth.

    • Serenitatis Serenitatus

      Any aspirant PhD student writing a thesis on politics and mendacity could use this piece its foundation.

      The non – sequiturs, lies and obfuscation here defies belief.

      • TheJustCity

        After several days and no point-by-point refutation of my post being offered, what will be recorded is the actual mendacity – in an exhibition of maundering self-deceit and canting obfuscation – of those who, as above, would venture into apologetics for the oily one.

      • Sue Smith

        The things in your last sentence are the staple diet of politics. Why are you surprised?

    • Sue Smith

      Brilliant, intelligent and very well written appraisal of the situation (except for the ad hominem). I hope I don’t live to see any of it. Being over 60, there’s not much likelihood of that. My husband and I have lived through the best era – the post-war, baby boomer revival and boom. Sweet.

  • Pip

    The illegal and immoral Iraq War and the signing of the Lisbon Treaty and the opening of our borders to the Muslim World are just three examples that make everything Blair supposedly believes he ‘got right’ completely irrelevant.

    • jim_joystique

      I don’t think it killed 1 million innocent people, no. Recent studies say it’s about half that but implicit in your comment is the idea that the death toll would be lower if Saddam Hussein had remained in power. This is quite a strange idea given that he was the kind of dictator who’d nerve gas his own people.

      So if you’re going to judge a policy on this calculus of death, why don’t you weigh in the balance the number of people who’s lives have been saved because of the intervention?

      • MaSek12

        The results of this liar’s actions are still killing people and will kill countless more in the future. He has also influenced British politics for the worse. Can you have missed the fact that Cameron is working hard at becoming as big a liar and is using the same dirty tricks, (releasing a flurry of bad news against the background of his ‘gallant’ attempts to change the EU which he knows from the get – go will fail but can be used to suggest he is ‘doing something’)?

        • jim_joystique

          You know what? How about for once we lay the blame where the blame should properly be. The people doing the killing are responsible for the killing. Not Blair.

          • MaSek12

            He was the one who cried havoc and unleashed the dogs of war. Glad to see that at last there is one person who would exonerate Hitler and Tojo though. Great thinking!

          • jim_joystique

            Funny how you completely ignore the regular mass killings in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, choosing to focus entirely on the West’s effort to free the country.

          • MaSek12

            Excuse me! I just had a laughing fit over your comment about how we tried to free the country! You clearly have no notion of islam baby!

          • Pip

            I suspect Jim is a Blair proxy, either that or a deluded soul who has
            bought into the lies and propaganda.

          • MaSek12

            I think you are right. Either that or he is absent from school on grounds of mental health.

          • Neil Saunders

            You know what? How about extricating your head from Blair’s fundament?

      • Pip

        Seems like you have fallen for the establishment propaganda and false narratives.

        • jim_joystique

          No, I rather think you have.

          • Pip

            Do not be so silly

    • MaSek12

      From the viewpoint of his Zionist backers, he did get it right.

      • Guest

        Yes, of course. It is always the Jews. It was them 2000 years ago responsible for all our problems. And it is them now.
        Sieg Heil.

        • MaSek12

          Sorry if I upset you by telling the truth little jewbot. You could return to Israel to show your unhappiness with Goyim who can see through you.

          • Guest

            I’m not jewish. But thanks for letting everyone know how much of a jew-hating cun* you are.

    • Guest

      It did not kill 1 million people. About a couple of hundred thousand casualties, last I checked. And among those, British forces took out hundreds, and at most thousands of Saddam’s troops. Everyone else that died was due to sectarian clashes among Iraqis.

      It was not justified by a lie. There was near unanimity among analysts around the world including in many regimes opposed to the war.

      On migration I agree with you. It isn’t migrants though as much as it is their children. So we can blame multiculturalism on Labour. Migrants do better than natives in most cases or will in the future.

      • Pip


        • Guest

          Your opinions don’t matter. Facts do.

          • Pip

            The facts are all the matter and like the fact that Blair is a lying crook, warmonger and traitor and the fact that the majority of British people would like to see him jailed or worse, these facts matter very much indeed Tony.

          • Guest

            No he didn’t lie. As for crimes against humanity, do you mean destroying a totalitarian murderous Salafized Saddam Hussein regime?

          • Pip

            Pointless debating a liar or a fool, goodbye.

          • Guest

            As expected, no facts in your response. Goodbye.

          • Sue Smith

            So just ignore liars and fools!!! Easy.

          • Sue Smith

            This could be said about all such comments.

    • Sue Smith

      The victors are historically entitled to write history. The rest is cant.

      All wars end in death and destruction; this isn’t new. And it certainly isn’t new sending innocent soldiers to avoidable death. Look at the history of WW1, just for starters.

  • MaSek12

    What you got wrong from our point of view is that you kept breathing. What you got wrong from your point of view is that you got caught out.

    • Sue Smith

      Appalling comment in your opening sentence. How do you think this enhances your arguments? Clue; it doesn’t.

  • Neil Saunders

    Tony, to address the title of your article, you got EVERYTHING wrong; Labour’s biggest mistake at the moment is not to expel all of those supposedly in its ranks who persist in clinging on to your toxic legacy.

    As for the meaningless verbiage in the body of the article, this is to political rhetoric what the Care Bears are to natural history.

  • Jim Clark

    When Thatcher said Tony was her best ever pupil, I think she meant it.

  • aldousk

    Nothing, nothing.

  • davidofkent

    All Empires fail. All governments end in defeat. All politicians try to rewrite their own history. Trying to justify oneself never works. I favour the maxim “Never apologise; never explain.”

    • Sue Smith

      Yes, because the evidence always speaks for itself.

  • Gilly

    Is it me, or is he a really boring writer? (I snoozed off paragraph 2)

    • Kevin T

      You think he wrote this?

      • Gilly

        Not sure, Kevin T.

  • j33per

    A man who’s lost any credibility he may have had. One word: LIAR!

  • edulike

    The main problem was this approach: “Hence the drive for health and education reform, culminating in the opening up of the health service providers to competition, including provision in the private sector, and the academy schools.” PFI debt is crippling hospitals, and academy schools are patchy at best. as for ID cards, that was an idiotic thing to suggest, and turned many people towards Nick Clegg’s fine-sounding Lib Dems. It is not “progressive” or “radical” to do these things, just counter productive and divisive. I noticed he skirted over Iraq, as well.

  • mmac1968

    I have never voted Labour although my grandparents never did not. You Mr Blair was i admit the only reason i would have. Had you not tried to destroy this society via mass uncontrolled immigration i believe Labour may well have got it right. Ideology has no place in government, only that which works for the benefit of this country and via that any benefit to the wider world. You are correct Islamism is the Nazism of this time and yet your party and its policies via educational left indoctrination has most likely doomed our nation to defeat. The homosexuals and Jews will have YOUR party to thank for their extermination in the future no doubt.

    • Guest

      You were in the minority. Remind me, how many times did Blair win?

    • Leftism is a societal cancer

      Blair’s Labour cabinet had the most Jews in powerful positions of any cabinet in history. No surprise that they opened the floodgates to the 3rd world as they have done in almost every European-majority country.

      Roche and Straw will be fine. Thousands of British girls raped by the invaders they worked tiredlessly to get in won’t be.

  • WarriorPrincess111111

    The man is no more than an unscrupulous gold digger! He would sell his soul for a few pennies! (Oh, yes, of course he did!) I wonder how much he was paid for this interview?
    Vlad the Impaler was a saint in contrast to Tony Blair!

    • Sue Smith

      Completely risible and patently untrue.

  • Carlos M Alvarado

    Will Tony fave the ICC dor war crimes amd crimes against humanity.? Is high time that he faces the court

  • teepee

    It isn’t intervening abroad that is the problem per se, it’s that you wasted the blood of so many British troops on people who so obviously hate us and are not worth a single drop. Apart from that, your deliberate policy of replacing the British population is an act of such betrayal it would be impossible properly to express my contempt for you without attracting the attention of the censors.

    • Sue Smith

      Excellent argument, undermined by the last part of your final sentence. Insult plays no part in intelligent debate.

  • Chris

    A vile toxic little grub whose next and only appearance should be in the Hague.

    • Sue Smith

      In reading some of the previous comments, I came across yours. Inappropriate and foul, these have nothing to do with Labour party policies, but are gratuitously ad hominem. The man was Prime Minister of your country, for God’s sake. You show that you have no self-respect when you speak about him this way. Save your kind of comments for Putin and other dictators.

      • Chris

        Blair conspired with others to destroy this country and knowingly lied to us.
        He is and was filth and one day will answer for his crimes in the Hague.
        Unfortunately there is no longer a death penalty which is what he deserves for the crimes he committed.

  • Precambrian

    ” Some reforms — the minimum wage, Bank of England independence,
    devolution, peace in Northern Ireland, civil partnerships — represented
    major change. And progress.”

    So you subsidised business, gave up control of the currency, surrendered to the IRA, and undermined the principle that heterosexuality is intrinsically better because it is fertile, and then you call this progress?

    Progress towards what exactly?

  • Jaria1

    What you didn’t do would be more accurate Mr. Blair was your failure to repeal the Indusrial relations acts and the Militant Unions led by McLusky have been plotting against you ever since.
    They find it convenient to blame the Iraq war on you but it would have happened whether you approved or not once Bush had decided.

  • scampy

    And your disastrous faith schools dividing children?
    Swamping the country with uncivilized peoples of an alien culture?

  • Sue Smith

    Apart from Blair’s alleged affair with Murdoch’s ex, Wendy Deng (eeeew), there’s not much any politician can really do to change the world.