Blair is still here

Blair is still here

Tony Blair has slowly been coming back into the spotlight. The former Prime Minister must feel he has served his penance, given time for the glare to fade, and is steadily becoming more vocal in his opinions. Most recently, an article for the New Statesman has acted as a warning for Ed Miliband -the man with the job Blair held for just shy of thirteen years.

In the piece, the longest serving Labour PM urges his party – without mentioning the current leader by name – to effectively remain in his image, with the policies of New Labour. Of particular note is a particularly salient section of the closing statement – ‘out of our comfort zone but on a centre ground’ – an admission that New Labour moved to a place where the party should not naturally lie, even now. In this week, this is of great relevance – a nod to Lady Thatcher, the face of the movement necessary in order to make Labour electable again, Blair himself admits that the first and so far only female Prime Minister was responsible for forcing the party of the left to become more centre than left.

The implications for Ed Miliband are also interesting. The highest profile Blair faction MP left British politics just over two weeks ago. The exit of David, the elder brother, provided a greater sense of job security for the younger, with the party left in the hands of Brown disciples – Blairites now a minority. This piece provides a reminder that they have not gone away. Tony may have gone from Parliament, Gordon is now a mere backbencher, yet their struggle still remains.

Tony Blair, in the nature of a stereotypical politician, is attempting to soothe a damaged ego in standing up for his legacy; the question remains whether a clash of ideology is best for his party. For the next few days at least, Baroness Thatcher will continue to dominate the news, pushing other news to the background; scant consolation if the potential rift escalates.

Regardless of the words and future implications of them, one message shines through above all: Tony Blair is not going anywhere.

By Richard Hayward


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