Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blair the healer says farewell

And so it is done. Tony Blair has made his last party conference speech as Labour leader and Prime Minister, and British politics will never be quite the same again.

Watching the speech via the BBC website rather than live in the conference hall as of old, it was clear to me that he has his eyes on one last great historical achievement before he hands over, working to resolve the Middle East conflict that is the fulcrum of so many of the world's problems.

"I will dedicate myself with the same commitment I have given in Northern Ireland to advancing peace between Israel and Palestine," he said.

If he can achieve that, I will gladly take back everything I have ever said about him.

But Mr Blair also made clear his intention to try to heal the wounds closer to home, pledging to work to unify the party in pursuit of "the only legacy that matters" - a fourth-term general election win.

And in that context, though they stopped short of an endorsement, his words about Gordon Brown this afternoon must surely be seen as an attempt to end the "deep fissure" in the New Labour family about which Peter Mandelson spoke this morning.

Mandelson's words seemed to me to signal a rapprochement and Blair's tribute to Brown's "remarkable service to the country" has underlined that.

Are the Blairites finally getting the message that by attacking Gordon, they only help David Cameron's Tories in the longer-run? Let's hope so.

Either way, this speech surely laid to rest any scurrillous suggestions that Blair sees Cameron as his real political heir, and is content to adopt an "apres moi le deluge" approach to the Labour Party.

The attacks on Cameron were the most convincing - and most loudly applauded - bits of the speech, mocking his foreign policy for simultaneously flirting with both anti-Americanism and Euro-scepticism.

"If we can't take this lot apart in the next few years, we shouldn't be in the business of politics at all," he said.

I may hate the bugger for what he did in Iraq, for what his henchmen did to David Kelly, and for all the years of media-manipulation and spin. But you can't help but admire a winner.

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Anonymous said...

My dear Linford, much as one may understand your particular antipathy towards the Princes of Darkness down in the bowels of Number 10, do you not think Blair's performance (for that is what it was) rather put the Glid of Glood's efforts yesterday into perspective?


Anonymous said...

Given your demonstrable admiration of 7/7 survivors, your piece stenches of NuLab hypocrisy. Iraq and D. Kelly were not the only lurking bete noires. Next thing you'll agree with Gordon that he invented PFI. And that that's a good thing. One would have thought you would have done better. Get out of the conference bubble, as if it was relevant to the non-voting man on the street. Also, the revelations regarding the Euro on pano-dross-arama. Did Tony compensate for his lack of influence with multiple foreign troubles? Count the dead from Pristina to Kabul and Harare. He never really screwed his democratic credentials to the sticking place - merely simulated the very act. Thus ends the 1000 year blair-reich of hypocrisy etc. etc.
PS. Where's Cherie? Still in Fiji backing anti-democrats?

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul

Wer regiert in Berlin ?

Is it Mr Blair or Mr Brown ... or indeed Mrs Blair ... or are events going to sweep them all away ?

If Mr Blair were so keen on healing, wouldn't he have announced his immediate resignation yesterday (Tuesday)

As to admiring a winner, what is it that Mr Blair has won ? Certainly not a disastrous war, with so many families (british & even more Iraqis) mourning their lost Loved ones

Isn't your "favourite" Mr Brown the major cause of the Pensions Crisis, having taken £5+ billion a year since 1997 in extra taxation on Pension Funds

I wonder if you will revise your "left of centre" views if unemployment levels continue to rise relentlessly, as they have in recent months

Your obedient servant etc

G Eagle

Cyberleader said...

Don't believe the spin Paul, sounds like your getting close to being sucked in over your last three posts.

Oratory is what Blair is good at, but what about his actions ?

The New Labour legacy is decades of war and a massive rise in the cost of living and Gordon Brown has to share the blame for that too.

This country should never forget he took us to war on a lie, and he has seriously misrepresented and underestimated the mission in Afghanistan.

Even if he did achieve peace between Israel and Palestine (which he won't) that would never erase the stain of his other actions.

Alfie said...

Admire a winner?
Joe Stalin and Pinochet were winners, but I don't admire them - and I bloody hate Blair.

He's an actor, out-performing anyone at an Oscar ceremony. The man who implored his ministers to give him some good news at regular intervals so he could unveil it to the nation and bask in the reflected glory of it all is about as shallow as it can get. He was never driven by conviction, he was driven by spin, testosterone, vanity - and in the case of Bush, the puppy dog syndrome. Blair doesn't believe in anything other than his own featherbedding. (Do you think he's trying to stay in power to A) reform services for the benefit of the nation or B) make it to next May and thus qualify for an extra 35 grand pension - to take his annual wedge up to 85K?....)

Blair is a fraud, a liar and a war criminal. He can't even be bothered to visit any of the relatives of the dead soldiers, or even their injured comrades from the Iraq debacle. The overheared 'Yo Blair discussion' with Bush sort of summed everything up. He's a doormat for Bush - and the very idea that he could do anything, ANYTHING in the Middle East is so fanciful as to be dillusional. It'll be the same as everything else Blair touches, big headlines today, tomorrow? Amnesia - and yet another cause to chase.

In 1997 Blair was given a fantastic mandate from the British people (including me for God's sake) - he has squandered that, and as far as sleaze goes, he and his ministers have taken th dark arts into the Premier Division when compared to John Major's Beezer Home League Division 3 efforts.

The whole country is falling apart, constitutionally, socially - and it's all his handywork. And what will he do when he jacks it in? Well, from the gist of his speech, I reckon he'll be going to live overseas - probably America (and he can finally accept his medal of 'honour' from a grateful nation)........ afterall, he's hardly going to stay living in this UK quagmire he has so dilligently created is he?

Paul Linford said...

Interesting that as soon as I say anything remotely complimentary about Mr Blair I get this sort of response!

Read my pieces in context. I've not fundamentally changed my view of the guy, but I do acknowledge that he is a consummate operator on the conference stage.

Alfie said...

I wasn't ranting against your piece, I was ranting against HIM. It's always him, the St Francis of Assissi of the political world. Every time I see him and the God like adoration he gets, I want to smash the telly in. (I half expect him to start doling out loaves and fishes)