Thursday, May 10, 2007

Those Blair achievements in full

By way of a farewell tribute to a great Prime Minister, here's a quick reminder of Tony Blair's legacy to the nation.

1. Northern Ireland peace process. It was John Major who started that.

2. Scottish and Welsh devolution. That was John Smith's idea, and Blair implemented it only with extreme reluctance.

3. The minimum wage. That was Keir Hardie's, and Blair fought it tooth and nail.

4. Low unemployment, low interest rates, low inflation. That will be thanks to Gordon Brown, then.

5. Three Labour election victories. The first one a donkey could have won. The third would have been a bigger victory without him.

6. Restoration of London-wide government. Better not let that dangerous Ken Livingstone anywhere near it though.

7. Tackling inequality. Except that he didn't - it got wider.

8. Saving the NHS. Except that he didn't - scores of health trusts ended up in the red.

9. "Education, education, education." Was that really once what New Labour was supposed to be about?

10. Spin, Iraq, cash for honours, politicisation of the civil service, sofa-style government, "Cool Brittania," the Millennium Dome, the "Third Way," and spending his last two years in office obsessing about what he would be remembered for.

Cruel? Maybe. But someone has to balance out all this absurd memorialising that's going on.

May 11 update: This post seems to have polarised opinion in the blogosphere somewhat. Justin from Chicken Yogurt liked it, which is a big compliment in itself, but Paulie from Never Trust a Hippy was rather less impressed.

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Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

as an unbiased obsderver (ie I hate the tories as much as labour) I have to say you're on the money Paul.

It really rankles with me that after all the bullshit and all the tax,the distribution of wealth is more uneven now than under the Tories.How did they manage that?

as for the stuff about low inflation,interest rates,low inflation---ahem the RPI is running at 4.8% gordon just pretends to himself that it isn't and gets his minions to agree.Look at his borrowing levels.Unemployment is low because he's created lots of non jobs in the public sector.No other reason. The private sector has lost a million jobs in the last ten years.

Anonymous said...

Digger's right - Brown is a rotten Chancellor, but he's been a lucky one.

Can his luck hold?

I wonder what we'll be saying about him on his period in office, when he leaves No.10.

Dirk Nachbar said...


It doesn't matter who had the idea, but who brought it through. You forget 600,000 less children in poverty.

Cyberleader said...


thats not what this fairly recent article says.'a%20moral%20disgrace'/

Child poverty is on the increase again.

I think a key legacy of the Blair/Brown years, but one that isn't really totally their fault will be the rise in House prices and interest rates.

When one or the other is low its ok, but as its going the UK will be split into a property owning class and a new underclass.

VFTN said...

I sympathise with your attack on "absurd memorialising" about Blair but i don't see how taking easy pot shots helps improve the perspective. How long will it take before we get some reasonably objective analysis of the Blair years?

Unknown said...

'Low interest rates and low inflation' is down to GB? The real reason for those is immigrants keeping wages down, and the Chinese reducing the cost of manufactured goods.

GB's biggest weakness is the gap between the public finances he inherited, and that which he is bequeathing. On that single issue, he is the worst chancellor in history (sure, no one measure says it all).

GB's greatest positive contribution, for which he has received little credit, is how he single-handedly kept the UK out of the Euro. TB would have steam-rollered that through with a weaker chancellor.

susan press said...

Quite right. THe BBC are incredibly sycophantic.

Anonymous said...

You forgot about the decimation of our civil liberties, the end of the English Legal System, and the betrayal of everything for which our ancestors fought and died.

Anonymous said...

Major does, indeed, deserve credit for his starting the Northern Ireland peace process.

What he doesn't deserve credit for is his undermining the process through insisting - to placate his party's right-wing - that the Provisional IRA disarm before it could even take part in talks. It was Blair who got the process up and running again (even if he went too far in the other direction by making too many concessions to the Provisional IRA, which completely undercut David Trimble's position).

You also forget to mention the way in which Major insisted a clearly exhausted (not to mention out of touch and incompetent) Sir Patrick Mayhew continue as Northern Ireland Secretary, even when Mayhew asked to be relieved of the post. Anyone remember Sir Patrick snarling 'For goodness sake, cheer up?' as Northern Ireland experienced a widespread breakdown of civil order (and hovered on teh edge of civil war) during the 96 Drumcree Crisis?

Anonymous said...

One of the bitterist summaries I have read today, used to better from this blog

MorrisOx said...


D'you know, I just didn't realise how awful life has been for the past 10 years.

I think I'll go and throw myself out of a window...

Anonymous said...

No mention of SureStart, no mention of civil partnerships, no mention of the equalisation of the age of consent, no mention of the right to join a trade union, the right to leave in a family emergency, the outlawing of blacklisting, the banning of fur farming, the banning of hare coursing, the Freedom of Information Act (what a pity the government's trying to row back on that), or indeed the intervention in Sierra Leone.

Note the contrast with our host's 'soft spot' for Major, the politician who allowed Malcolm Rifind and Sir Steve Robson to talk him into the grotesquely botched privatisation of the railways, abolished the Wages Councils, defended heads of privatised utilities who awarded themselves vast sums while failing to provide a decent service (like Yorkshire Water, whose customers ended up queuing at turnpikes in the street), sneered at beggars as 'eyesores', connived at bullying the Danes into voting the 'right' way over Maastricht, denounced the rights conferred by the Social Chapter as 'immoral', and whose government was happy to see six innocent men go to jail in the Matrix Churchill case.

Paulie said...

"You forgot about the decimation of our civil liberties, the end of the English Legal System, and the betrayal of everything for which our ancestors fought and died."

Oh yeah, that as well. Paul, you really should look at the world though bloggertarianvision before you write anything in future.

Jesus wept.

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