Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Goodbye Tony

Tony Blair is going to resign as Prime Minister today, after serving for (just) over ten years. He is not someone I have usually liked but nor is he someone who I have ever really disliked. I think the UK has changed for the better under his premiership, but how much that is down to him and how much to general changes in society and to buoyant worldwide economic conditions, it is hard to say. At least he did not screw things up too much. He really is a great leader with the knack of giving inspirational speeches, which often made one proud to be British. I did not agree with his decision to join the US in the war against Iraq and I never believed the stories about the weapons of mass destruction which provided the pretext for the war. This war has cast a shadow over his last years.

However, I do think he has harmed democracy by centralising so much of government and over-riding his cabinet and parliament, as well as relying too much on 'spin'. I also think he has been too cautious in many of his policies, afraid of what the right-wing gutter press might say about any progressive policy he may pursue. That said, after ten years he has achieved a lot for a number of people in society and, certainly, gay and lesbians find themselves living in a much better country than they did under Thatcher, for example.

So, it will be interesting to see how Gordon Brown will fare, although by all accounts he has had tremendous influence over what has been done over the past ten years. When Tony came in we won the Eurovision Song Contest within two days. Now if Tim Henman were to win Wimbledon just as Gordon Brown takes power, that would be nicely symmetrical. Somehow I doubt that wil happen. Maybe Tim will win his second round match...

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Charles,

I'm a regular visitor of your blog and I really enjoy reading your posts. I hope you will keep on finding enough time to post on a regular basis now that you have a job, it would otherwise be such a shame. Good luck with your new job btw.

Farah

27 June, 2007 14:37  
Blogger Philip Booth said...

Blair lost our trust a long time ago. Far from seizing the initiative on climate change, and responding to public demand for action on this issue, he has presided over rising emissions. In the future, this will be remembered as his biggest failure. Iraq was - and still is as you suggest - a travesty, but the effects of inaction on climate change will be felt for millennia to come.

Blair also failed dismally to narrow the gap between rich and poor, instead he has pursued disastrous privatisation of our public services, a £30 billion road building plan, more incinerators, a massive expansion of aviation, and has consistently attempted to avoid fully implementing EU legislation on the environment. Blair also squandered the opportunity to make the world safer by forcing through Trident renewal and pushing new nuclear power stations. We are also rapidly becoming a database state, with encroaching curbs on our civil liberties and a more monitored existence than ever before - and as you also note his continuing of Thatchers' moves to centralise power has seriously damaged our democracy.

04 July, 2007 10:16  
Blogger Charles Roffey and Fred Oosting said...

Yes, indeed, Philip, you are right. However, may be I am a bit kind in attributing much of what has happened in the last ten years to things outside Tony Blair's control.
Much of what has happened is a function of the political, economic and social systems we have in the UK, combined with the development of new technologies and just the way things are in the world.
Would anyone else have done much better? I think Gordon Brown might do better.
As for the widening gap between rich and poor, to giove labour credit, they ahve tried to narrow the gap in many ways, just that it didn't work out that way. The rich have galloped ahead and the poor have trodden water.
Anyway, maybe it is better to carry on this discussion on a nice balmy summer's evening in your back garden!

04 July, 2007 16:54  
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