So it’s farewell then Tony. What did you do for the British Isles – or did you in fact do anything? Charles Moore in the Telegraph has a few interesting, and for me, accurate remarks.
When Margaret Thatcher was forced out in November 1990, almost everyone could have given an account – favourable or unfavourable – of what she had done. “She’s put the Great back in Britain,” said some. “She’s destroyed the social fabric,” said others.
It is much harder to sum up Tony Blair in terms of what he has actually done, for good or ill. He inherited a successful, but over-regulated and overtaxed economy. That is what he leaves behind. He inherited educational failure. No change there, either. He inherited a health service struggling half-heartedly with reform. That is still the case.
In 1997, there was economic inequality, too much crime, anxiety about immigration, a battle about “multi-culturalism”, and indecision about Europe. Ten years later, snap. Even the famed peace process in Northern Ireland flowed naturally from the earlier work of John Major.
Oddly enough, it is only in the field of the constitution, in which Tony Blair never expressed much interest, that huge changes have taken place. The relationship between the judges, government and Parliament is now dangerously in flux. The United Kingdom, thanks to Europe from above and devolution from below, is starting to unpick.
True – he did the right thing on Iraq and I will always thank him for that. But at what expense to his homeland in neglecting other things needful?
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