Tag Archives: tony blair

Blair’s other legacy

It is inevitable given that it became the issue that defined his premiership – the failed invasion of Iraq will be seen as Blair’s great legacy.

He got plenty of other things wrong too, but for all his words about a progressive majority, his inaction on electoral reform paved the way for majority right wing government.

Had he been brave enough to face down the conservative forces in his own party we could have seen the 1999 Jenkins commission proposals implemented.

He wasn’t.

In his excellent autobiography, Ming Campbell recalls his wife Elspeth whispering to Blair at John Smith’s funeral, ‘Don’t Forget The Liberals’. ‘I won’t’ was the response.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Telegraph reports Farron email 24 days after we did

Interesting story in today’s Telegraph about a fundraising letter from Tim Farron to combat Tony Blair’s £1000 donations to Labour’s target seats.

Interesting, but old.

We told you about this way back on 5th March.

LDV Blair post

 

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Farron seeks £20k for Lib Dem campaigns to match Tony Blair’s donation to Labour

Tony Blair“Rich Labour Member gives £100k to Labour” is not the biggest surprise in the whole world. When it’s Tony Blair, though, and he’s giving £20k to campaigns against Liberal Democrat MPs who stood up against his catastrophic intervention in Iraq, that will set Liberal Democrat blood boiling.

At least that’s what Tim Farron hopes.

He’s sending an email to members and supporters asking them to donate enough to match Blair’s £20k against our MPs. Labour candidates fighting fabulous Lib Dem MPs like Lynne Featherstone, Jo Swinson, Jenny Willott and Julian Huppert will be getting Blair money.

Anything you donate will be spent directly trying to win those seats and others like them and is money well spent to keep these stellar Liberal Democrats in Parliament.

Farron said:

We reckon that about £20,000 of his donation is going directly to fighting the Liberal Democrats in seats where we’re up against Labour. Those Liberal Democrat candidates opposed Blair’s illegal war in Iraq and are fighting to get the Chilcot report published so he can be held to account.

He is trying to silence them, and we don’t want to let him.

Please will you make a donation today, so we can match the £20,000 Blair has put into fighting Lib Dem candidates?

Every pound you give will go into our election campaign and will be used on the front line. Every Lib Dem candidate is committed to getting the Chilcot report published, so that Tony Blair can be held to account.

A donation from you today will help make that happen.

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Martin Horwood writes …Tony Blair’s legacy

Tony BlairTwenty years ago yesterday Tony Blair became Labour Party Leader. The man who delivered a landslide victory for Labour in 1997 is now seen as a polarising figure in British politics.

Blair loved to be seen as a ‘modernising’ force in his party. Whether it was the abandonment of Clause 4, the drinks receptions for celebrities or leading a Government which was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”, this was a world away from ‘Old Labour’.

As Prime Minister, however, there is no doubt it was his approach to foreign policy that defined his premiership.

Britain’s involvement in the illegal war in Iraq left a particularly indelible mark. Blair seemed to offer Parliament a choice. But his case was built on sandy foundations: his personal word that the intelligence case presented to MPs had not been exaggerated or ‘sexed up’.

Blair had used his own personal charisma to defeat opposition to his changes to the public sector and indeed to the Labour Party itself. He used this tool once again in making the case for the Iraq invasion, alongside a particular brand of political ‘spin’ that grew to typify Labour’s approach in office.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 40 Comments

Caroline Pidgeon AM writes: In praise of Freedom of Information legislation

Parliament ActsTony Blair’s latest comments about Iraq, seeking to defend his disastrous actions back in 2003, have generated extensive media coverage.  However, there are other views expressed by Tony Blair which also deserve attention, most notably his incredible views over freedom of information.

But, before examining his comments lets go back 20 years or so.

For some people it might be hard to remember how Government departments and public bodies often operated.  Holding onto vast amounts of information, however mundane or non-controversial, was considered totally appropriate by most Government departments, quangos and local …

photo by: -JvL-
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Opinion: After 150 years, the Gettysburg Address still matters

LincolnIt was just ten sentences long. A mere 273 words delivered in less than three minutes. Yet the Gettysburg Address has resonated through history, finding relevance in every age.

In May 2003, I was researching history in Los Angeles. The news channels had cleared the decks for just one story. One hundred or so miles to the south, President George W. Bush trying to define his own place in history.

The USS Abraham Lincoln was stationed off San Diego after a long deployment, including action in the Bush/Blair war in the Gulf. Beneath a banner of “Mission Accomplished”, a jubilant Bush told the assembled crew and an attentive nation that major combat operations in the Iraq War had ended. In a speech that lacked humility, he said: “We have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world.” Bush boasted of the precision of war, of how “new tactics and precision weapons the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.” Seemingly oblivious to the huge cost in human life, he declared that war against terror, against Al Qaida, was being won.

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Good on Damian McBride – making the case for coalition government

damian+mcbrideI’ve met Damian McBride only once, in February this year. Two things struck me.

First, how much healthier (and happier) he looked than he did in 2008 when his role in a dirty tricks campaign against the Tories was exposed. He was only 34 when that furore flared, yet in pictures from the time he looked at least a decade older.

Secondly, he is seriously smart. A career civil servant promoted to Head of Communications at the Treasury he retains a deeply impressive knowledge of the knottiest tax policies. It makes …

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