Does Tony Blair support the Coalition (and would it matter to Lib Dems if he does)?

This was a story which entirely passed me by, but throws up a couple of intriguing questions. I tip my hat to the Independent’s John Rentoul for highlighting Tony Blair’s address to the Institute for Government entitled, How to Be Prime Minister, held at the end of June. In it Mr Blair commented,

The British people have again elected a centrist government, and that’s what they decided to do in that extraordinary way they do, they decide they will put in the Conservatives and put the Lib Dems alongside them.

As Mr Rentoul notes,

… this rather goes against the attempt by many in the Labour Party to present the coalition as a right-wing Thatcherite government with soft Lib-Dem cover.

It prompts me, though, to ask two simple questions:

1) Does Tony Blair support the Coalition Government? After all, he was tempted himself to extend the Big Tent to include the Lib Dems in 1997, before ducking the decision on the curious grounds he found himself to be too powerful. And nor is he a left-wing tribalist – Mr Blair even dropped a strong hint in 2008 that he preferred Senator McCain as President to Senator Obama, because of the former’s (then) unabashed pro-immigration free-marketeering. So would supporting a centrist coalition be much of a problem for him?

2) How would Lib Dem members feel if Tony Blair did support the Coalition? Many will say (rightly) that Mr Blair is yeterday’s man, that what he thinks cannot possibly matter. And yet … though sme would undoubtedly feel queasy at the very idea that the man responsible for the single worst British policy decision in post-war history might be a coalition sympathiser, others will point to his undoubted sixth sense in finding Middle England’s g-spot and draw some comfort.

Feel free to speculate away your own hypothesis below …

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14 Comments

  • I wish Rentoul would just out with it and declare his undying love for Tony Blair. Blair calling this government centrist is mere evidence of how skewed his own political compass is, and what kind of things he would have wanted to do. It’s an open secret that Blair and Mandelson wanted the Lib Dems to join them in 1997 in order to do the very same things as this government- with an eventual Lab-Lib merger down the line.

    This almost made me laugh- “And nor is he a left-wing tribalist”

    You think?!?

  • If this is true, it is one more pressing reason to exit the “coalition” at the earliest appropriate opportunity.

  • Yes, Stephen, why did you find it necessary to make that comment to a presumably relatively sophisticated audience??! Surely, right wingism is the normal accusation against TB (Tory Blair or Bliar).

  • Andrew Suffield 7th Aug '10 - 10:20pm

    We know what Blair’s approach to government was like: say anything to get the media on your side. I can’t really attribute any motive to this beyond his wanting to get paid for a lot more speaking engagements.

  • Rob Sheffield 8th Aug '10 - 12:25pm

    We know what Blair’s approach to government was like: say anything to get the media on your side.

    Hhhmmm- sounds exactly like Nick and Dave: this mornings milk snatching U-turn beng just the latest example i.e. this mornings…

  • @ Sesenco

    Hear! Hear! Blair was always a blue Tory. He must be delighted to see the Blue and Orange Tories arm in arm.

  • I don’t think you are curious Jedi… I think you are trying to stir it up!!

  • it is a right wing thatcherite government. tony blair who himself hates the labour party is a centre right politician. cameron,clegg,blair are the same politically. clegg and the orange bookers are centre right.

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