I’m writing this whilst watching Blair’s speech. Well, the comment about his wife not running off with the man next door was brilliant. He’s also just thanked the activists on the ground. Nowadays, that won’t take long.
But “Our core vote is the country.” Really!?. I don’t think so. This is a party elected on one of the lowest turnouts and one of the lowest shares of the vote ever. Labour don’t speak for the country. And Tony, you don’t even speak for your party any more.
He’s really laying it on thick now with Brown.
He is right to say however that many of the challenges now are different to those of 10 years ago and that policy needs to respond to them. The point is relevant to all in politics.
The point he is making that Labour should not return to days of old. I think this should be taken as a shot across the bows of Labour itself.
Pro-nuclear power comments have just been applauded.
Controversial point about accepting stem cell research here (I agree with him).
The comments on achieving greenhouse gas reductions don’t quite square with the fact that emissions are rising from homes, cars and especially aircraft.
What I particularly dislike about Blair and Labour is their belief that if you are not for them, you are for criminals and crooks. The claim is an outrageous smear but he is now straying onto that territory.
Hardly surprising that he is now moving onto the issue of terrorism and is attempting to justify the war in Iraq. There is no concession to the view that the war has made a bad situation far far worse.
His claim that we should not hand back Afghanistan to the Taliban has been set up simply to knock it down. Withdrawal is not an option and no serious politician is proposing it or backs it in the current circumstances.
He is defending the alliance with America now. It is getting lukewarm applause.
He is now back onto not going back.
“The British people will forgive a wrong decision but they will not forgive not taking a decision.” Agreed! Lessons from that are there for Lib Dems as well.
Big applause for the only anti Lib Dem comment so far.
Back onto nuclear power.
Some good rousing stuff about taking on the Conservatives.
He hates the tradition of losing. Again, he is telling Labour not to go back to its old ways, about effectively being in power permanently.
He’s finished now and this is my verdict. A first class performance that puts Brown in the shade but a warning to the Labour party that they risk going backwards without him. In that sense there is an infusion of arrogance – implying that they will have to guard against moving backwards as he, the driving force to move forward, has retired.
Whatever his faults, Blair is a star performer and I wonder how many in the Labour party are now regretting that they are forcing his early retirement. Whilst I personally shed no tears over his departure, I do find the ditching of Blair to be a staggering act of self mutilation by Labour. All the other conceivable candidates for the leadership are pygmies in comparison to him. I could never imagine Brown being able to deliver a performance like Blair did.
But think about it, the policy differences between Blair and Brown are virtually non existent. These 2 people are of the same model. Stand them side by side and the only difference is the personality.
There are times when it is right for a political party to remove its leader. I wonder how many in the Labour party feel that, now is not the right time. Labour - you are a bunch of fools to do what you are doing.