My general strategy with this blog is to consciously not be topical, mainly because I think there are lots of people who are better at it than me but also in order to highlight things that are in greater need of attention. Nevertheless, it would probably be churlish of me not to offer some form of quasi-obituary of the Reverend Blair (or Father Blair, as he may soon be), not least because of my other blogging strategy.
It is important, I feel, that when we bandy around words like “good” and “great” that we have some semantic understanding of what they mean. This is particularly important given the number of deluded Labour members (as if there’s any other kind any more) who will undoubtedly try and pin “great” on him merely for winning three elections. Margaret Thatcher is a great Prime Minister, but not because she won three elections against the Winter of Discontent, The Longest Suicide Note In History and what can only be described as Neil Kinnock. Similarly, victory over Grey Peas Man, Tory Boy and the Vampire of Folkestone is not the stuff of greatness; being in the right place at the right time just isn’t enough.
Greatness, if such can be defined in Prime Ministerial terms, is surely a question of ideas; whether you changed what it meant to be British or to live in
The question, then, is simple; has Blair fundamentally changed life in
But the real disqualifier from greatness is that Blair never faced the electoral math, never had to worry about losing an election. From 1997 to 2001 he did everything right, laid a foundation and guaranteed the landslide second term. Given what we know of that night at Granita, a great Blair would have opened up in 2001 with a second term on the scale of Thatcher’s, then jumped ship at the end and handed it to Gordon, avoided the lame duck years and made a real difference. As it is, he blew his political capital on
I suppose it all comes down to my abiding memory of the Blair years; that arrival at