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As a Blair sceptic I could give you a long rant about how undemocratic and arrogant his latest intervention on Brexit is. Already the usual suspects have condemned him and some people are getting angry that a man who used to be Prime Minister has made a speech.
But what’s the point? Why bother being annoyed? All Blair is doing – unintentionally – is underscoring how irrelevant he has become. Ghost-like he is condemned to wander the world speaking at conferences, making money with his powers long gone. His worldview – pro-EU, restless change merchant, wide open borders – is in the dumpster of history.
I can remember back in the late 1990s when he was really annoying, when like a gifted footballer with seemingly magical powers he could dribble his way around opponents. What a wizard! How did he do it?! How did he get away with?! Couldn’t more people see he was fundamentally an ahistorical chancer?
No. Not at the time. Blair in his pomp almost killed the Tories. He realigned British politics and redesigned (though design is too strong a word) the British constitution. And with his Chancellor Gordon Brown he ended the cycle of boom and bust. Oh, hold on… And modernised British foreign policy and defence capability… Oh, hold on…
Of course, the reason Blair is stuffed is that he presided over an unsustainable mad boom in which the banking system became dangerously large, dramatically increased immigration and put the cherry on top of the icing with his handling of Bush and Iraq. This is – however one looks at it – not the strongest record
In one respect his few remaining devotees resemble those Thatcherites before her death who worshipped at the shrine and would hear no criticism. There is a crucial difference, however. There are plenty of criticisms that can be made of Thatcher (who has slipped into history since her death and the seismic referendum result ) but on the big tests she won big. She unleashed an economic revolution that, while imperfect, had an epoch-defining impact that was, for many, many people for the good. And she was a central figure in the West’s defeat of Communism and the Socialist scourge.
Blair in contrast failed his big non-electoral tests, put his party on a path to destruction in Scotland and cleared the way for Jeremy Corbyn in England. Poor old Tony.