Blair’s back: TB to advise Labour on “Olympic Legacy” – but how big a role is this?

July 11, 2012 10:03 pm

Tonight at Labour’s (expensive) sports fundraising dinner, it was announced that Tony Blair will be returning as an advisor on the “Olympic Legacy”. As the Guardian reports:

Tony Blair is to be given his first formal role in the Labour party since retiring from frontline politics, when he stepped down as prime minister five years ago, as an adviser to Ed Miliband’s policy review.

The former prime minister will be giving specific advice on the Olympic legacy and in particular how to “maximise both its economic and its sporting legacies”, Miliband said on Wednesday.

The role reflects Blair’s part in the successful 2005 bid to host the Games and his sporting foundation, one of his key charitable causes in his retirement.

But for all of the recent talk – much of it provoked by Blair himself – about making a return to domestic politics, is this really what he had in mind? It doesn’t sound like a particularly large role, and will leave very little scope for Blair to influence domestic policy.

Or perhaps that’s exactly what Ed Miliband had in mind after all?

Update: Seemingly some in the party are already rowing about Blair’s role. If the party is going to fall out over what Tony Blair thinks we should do with a velodrome, we’re in real trouble…

  • http://twitter.com/suey2y Sue Marsh

    Blair’s back, baby, Blair’s Back.

    Name that Film…..

    • John Dore

      Pulp Fiction?

    • James

      The Terminator?

      • treborc

         Billy lier

    • http://twitter.com/mistyblulabour dave stone

      From Beyond the Grave?

  • derek

    Maybe Jowel, Coe and Blair should be asking why G4 security have left a gaping hole in security with only days before the Olympics are due to start?  

    • treborc

       To keep our soldiers employed.

    • http://twitter.com/mistyblulabour dave stone

      Looks like those in the security game have taken a leaf out of the banker’s play-book and realised the Olympics are too big to fail.

      It’s another private sector rip-off.

      Tax payers have already gifted G4S almost £300 million and now 3,500 of our troops will have to step in to make up the security short-fall while G4S are fined only £50,000 a day for their failure (total of £7,650,00).

      http://www.itv.com/news/update/2012-07-11/report-g4s-fined-50-000-every-day-for-not-meeting-staffing-levels/

      • treborc

         You have to worry why Blair has come back and why labour has asked him to look at the legacy of the games, does Blair see a way of perhaps making his fortune larger.

      • treborc

         Just hearing troops who are on leave are being told leave is cancelled, they are not saying are they that will all the people who will be working as stewards for free cannot be employed to do this.

        Not enough Polish people maybe.

    • treborc

       By all accounts they could not find enough out of work people to work for nothing

  • treborc

    I think Blair will fit right in with the legacy of sport, FIFA today the President who is 96 with £9 million in back handers, Cricket we all know about that, today we are hearing Football teams with Spot betting scams, we are hearing again about Cyclist  going to court to stop the release of  information about drug tests.

    I think like banking and like the financial  institutes who have seen bonus scandals and money scandals sport is another sector in which money rules, so it possible Blair will be right at home, but I suspect once the games are over and the drugs cheats are known as they always are, we will see perhaps labour and the Tories perhaps not wanting to know the legacy.

    • treborc

       Tonight MP’s accept  free tickets for the men 100mtrs final from BT the MP’s are on the watch dog for BT.

      You cannot make it up can you.

  • Robert_Crosby

    Let them get on with it… just keep him away from the more important stuff, Ed!

    I was appalled when I received the Campbell e-mail touting for punters for this dinner… just the wrong signal and the wrong event when there has been so much talk of getting “the big money” out of politics and curtailing the scope to get involved of those who would use their fortunes to “buy influence”.  The sad thing is that none of this will have occurred to those behind the dinner and the e-mail.

    • franwhi

       What was the price list ? Bet it was dearer than Nando’s. Seriously was it per head or per table ?  

      • John Dore

        I love Nando’s, but seriously what is he hoping to achieve? Has his ego been inflated by the US situation where they still like and respect him?

  • http://twitter.com/QMannRed Q ‘Straw Hat’ Mannan

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh crap.

  • http://twitter.com/tristanpw1 TristanPriceWilliams

    No mention of Iraq and the hundreds of thousands that died, or were maimed in the search for all these weapons of mass destruction? How many were there again?

  • http://twitter.com/tristanpw1 TristanPriceWilliams

    No mention of Iraq and the hundreds of thousands that died, or were maimed in the search for all these weapons of mass destruction? How many were there again?

  • http://twitter.com/mistyblulabour dave stone

    This is a masterstroke from Ed. How to keep Blair from making a nuisance of himself? Play to his vanity and offer him a seemingly prestigious yet impossible task: maximising the Olympic’s sporting and economic legacies.

    Let no one say Ed is without a sense of humour.

    • derek

      @Dave, it will give him air time and he’ll hit all the marks about regeneration and employment while exciting the Blair group to bid for further scope. Bad move @Dave I think! 

      • treborc

         While the anti war and the working class decide New labour is alive and that Miliband has a problem with a power base with in the party, to win over some Tories I suspect a dam sight more will now say new labour is alive and well.

        I suspect New labour are looking to get more of the disillusioned Tories thinking maybe it’s worth losing the poor they never voted for us anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Trembath/753518357 Paul Trembath

    I really think he should deal with the “Iraq Legacy” first.

    • John Dore

      Good post Paul. Ed hasn’t really put a foot wrong over the last 4 months, this may be his first major mistake. Blair is toxic, a bit like Partridge.

      • Col Wildebore-Smyth Rtd

        If partridge were toxic wouldn’t more of the hunting, shooting and fishing brigade have succumbed to salmonella or e.coli poisoning?

        • treborc

           Of course Bore is now telling us Blair is Toxic a few months ago he was telling us Blair was the saviour of the Labour party, the little man is a bit of a fibber.

          poor lad has problems

          • John Dore

            For the wider community The third way stands, it spoke to the widest section of our country, sadly it failed for two reasons, Iraq and Browns disastrous economic policies. Iraq is 100% Blair, he wasn’t in control of Brown but is 100% culpable because he could have removed him. The British people will not forget. I believe that this is the thin end of the wedge, he knows that Euro President is impossible. If Blair tries to make a play for the top he has no chance.

            Tre-Bore still twisting words?  I read fibber as calling me a Liar and I take real exception to that. Just like Partridge you are plain old nasty.

          • treborc

            I think people can make their own minds up on people like you mate

          • John Dore

            ha ha the patronising use of the MATE retort. Going to be here all day are we? Nothing else to do? You are so sad and deluded.

          • treborc

             And what are you doing Mr Brain dead I agree with you.

          • uxx

            i think it failed because people realised that blair lied about iraq, wmd, and kelly.
            it failed because labour followed  a con-man with a messianic complex and a drive for self-publicity who was to weak to stand up to brown and who didn’t understand the americans were playing him like a fish on a hook.
            he was so involved in himself that he did not realise / care what harm he was doing to the uk.
            we are still paying billions for the wars in iraq and afghanistan, as well as the costs of increased security 
            against terrorism and lost influence in europe and elsewhere.
            ship him back to america

  • Bill Lockhart

    I can save him some time.

    a) Economic legacy: none, except for costs of maintaining/ disposing of crumbling, jerry-built  facilities designed for unpopular sports with no alternative use. Also decades of litigation as various sunset quangos try to absolve themselves of responsibility

    b) Sporting legacy: none, except for generations-worth of shortage of money for grass-roots sports.

    • http://twitter.com/mistyblulabour dave stone

      Nail on the head, Bill.

      You should email that to: info@tonyblairsportsfoundation.org .

      Don’t forget to include consultancy fee invoice.

  • Daniel Speight

    The problem is that for a large part of the population Blair is toxic. Of course there is another part of that population where he isn’t. The measurement that needs to be made is whether the damage done by upsetting the former is greater than the good done by pleasing the latter.

    Now my suspicion is that doing nothing in relation to Blair, i.e. not giving him employment or highlighting his connection to Labour does little harm, while doing anything, such as giving him this job, creates unhappiness in that group that despises him. Therefore, again in my view this wasn’t such a bright idea.

    Then again we have all those Oxbridge bag carriers who talk about triangulation and focus groups who should be able to give us some numbers. Where are they when you need them?

    • treborc

      We will see time will tell.

    • Lembit Opik’s Lovechild

       Blair isn’t toxic. I just wouldn’t p*ss on him if he was alight.  Let’s face it Blair oversaw the biggest expansion of PFI, shackling the country in debt to the bankers for 30 years, ably assisted by Brown and Balls. Yes I know, the Tories are started and are continuing PFI. A plague on their houses too!

  • Alan Giles

    An ex-Prime Minister, loved by some, loathed by others who just cannot get off the stage is given a non-job to flatter his vanity. Advising Labour on the “Olympic Legacy” (assuming there is one) might have some relevance if the party was in power. As it isn’t, this just looks sad and pathetic. It is time EM proved he was a man and not a jelly and just told the old has-been there is no role for him. The longer Blair sashays around, the bolder it will make Ed Miliband’s opponents in his own party, who want nothing more than a return to 1997.

    Blair really is becoming the “Norma Desmond” of politics:

    “I’m still big  - it’s the pictures that got small….. I’m ready for my close-up now, Mr DeMille”

    (Sunset Boulevard) 

    • treborc

       Or of course pressure on Miliband  to allow him back, or of course Miliband may see the New labour brigade as a sort of win win situation. Or of course Blair will splash the cash and if you splash the cash in labour you can go all the way to the top or of course Prison.

      In the end I think a lot of the Public will think new labour is back, Miliband had no choice, and are we seeing a dream team, Blair and David Miliband.

  • Dave Postles

    ‘Seemingly some in the party are already rowing about Blair’s role. If
    the party is going to fall out over what Tony Blair thinks we should do
    with a velodrome, we’re in real trouble…’
    There are such concepts as symbolism and representation.  Labour has not changed.  Concurrently, we have MilibandD making his pitch.  Blair’s first incumbency ended in tragedy; this posture is just farce.

    • Alan Giles

      Blair is shameless: If he really cared about the Labour party he would remember the halved majority in 2005, and even with the “help” of his dear friend Mandy, the defeat of 2010, and keep out of the limelight. He will always be a “Marmite” politician (either loved or loathed), and just to use one four letter word “Iraq” is something that will never be forgiven or forgotten.
      If he had any self respect he would realise that his time has past.

      I agree with Dave P: my concern is that with Blair, Mandy and D Miliband all making comebacks, it can only fuel the ambitions of the Progress shower, and it will be a matter of when, not if, they try to recapture power for the right wing.

      If I were Ed Miliband the last thing I would have done is give him the oxygen of publicity.

      It will be interesting to see the coming few months opinion polls if Blair is allowed too much prominence.

      One other point: in what is truly an age of austerity for those on low incomes, not to mention the unemployed, this expensive opulence looks really out of touch and insensitive – Blair the “Marie Antionette” of politics.

      • John Dore

        I don’t think its right for Blair to come back. What is shameless is that you spin winning an election win as failure. Foot and Kinnock lost really badly. The agenda that they drove was an election liability.

      • Hugh

        Do you mean 2005 when Blair won with a solid majority; or 2010, when Brown had been leader for three years and lost?

        You may worry about Blair making a come back, but it’s worth noting that according to the survey results Mark put up recently, even among Labourlist readers the majority would prefer that to a Brown come back.

        • treborc

          I suspect after 2015 a few books will be written about the return to Blair sorry new labour

        • bustop

          Yes, like the majority would prefer to be skinned alive than burned alive.

        • Alan Giles

          Yes you;re right – 38% wouldn’t mind Blair back compared to 24% for Brown. But that is no ringing endorsement, is it?. In other word 62% of LL reader’s DON’T want Blair back.
          If I am wrong, and the opinion polls get even better for Labour I will admit it, and I hope if you are wrong you will do the same thing.

          The real reason Blair didn’t get an even bigger thrashing in 2005 was that Michael Howard was the alternative and I think even his own party saw him as a mere stopgap.

          • Hugh

             I’m not sure how I could be wrong on that basis, since I’m not arguing it will improve Labour’s ratings; I’m simply saying the visceral hatred of  Blair is a minority pursuit even for readers of this blog. Most Labour members, it seems, let alone Labour voters, are considerably less bothered – that seems fairly unarguable.

            I’ll be happy to admit I’m wrong, however, if Blair having some involvement does materially harm Labour’s poll ratings, which seems a rather fairer test.

          • Alan Giles

            I would suggest Hugh you go on some newspaper sites (and I don’t just mean the red top tabloids) and see some of the reaction to Blair – the dislike of him is palpable and deeply felt, often expressed in very coarse langauge.

            He really isn’t as popular as some of his fans (and probably himself) thinks he is, I can assure you of that

      • Robert_Crosby

        I agree with you, Alan.  The only possible justification for this is to offer a very limited sop to the Blair lovers in the Shadow Cabinet (and backbenches) who still worship him.  It has to stop here though.  For Blair’s “shamelessness”, read also Mandelson, Jacqui Smith and several others who keep popping up when most if us wish they would do the dignified thing and go away.

        The one mistake Brown made politically was his flirtation with the election that never was… a classically Blairite stunt pushed by Douglas Alexander and others, we are told??  Any Blairite who doesn’t believe that we would have lost in 2010 with him in Downing Street is deluded.

      • Chilbaldi

        “If he really cared about the Labour party he would remember the halved majority in 2005″

        If you really cared about the Labour Party you’d care about his majority in 2005.

        But you don’t. You’re a bloody Green.

        • Alan Giles

          You and William must do a double act. I am now very sympathetic to the Green party, which has more of the principles of traditional Labour. I won’t bother to explain that as I doubt you would be interested.

          Blair saw the majority HALVED in 2005 – it wasn’t a case of a small reduction – 50% isn’t small, and the fact that Howard was all he was up against from the Conservatives, a stopgap leader, that wasn’t a good result.

          I care about the Labour party, but not slavishly – if there was any suggestion that Blair’s fingerprints were over the 2015 manifesto, yes I would vote Green again. 

          I did not like and do not like Blair and I don’t trust him. End of, as the saying goes.

          • aracataca

            Any views on the Green Party in Ireland by any chance? Or is their record conveniently irrelevant?

          • Alan Giles

            The other half of the double act has turned up!

            As I told you before William, I have no knowledge of Irish politics so I am in no more of a position to answer your question this week than I was last week and the week before when you bought it up previously.

            I will only say though, that I don’t think they went to war based on a false premise and a dodgy dossier. Very few parties would be that foolhardy.

          • treborc

             It’s the same person for god sake do you not remember William/ Bore  with his  nappy rash.

          • aracataca

            Maybe you should look up their record as part of the last Irish government
            This might help clear a few things up:http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/42182 

          • Alan Giles

            Thanks for the link. Interesting, but what do you want me to say?. I don’t disagree with the gravamen of the articles author – that is, that Greens should not, as a left-leaning group, go into coalition with the Right.

            I don’t disagree – do you?. Well, I guess you must do because you continue to defend the most right-wing  “Labour” Prime Minister, who deliberately and with malice aforethought dragged this country into an unwinnable war, aided and abetted by a dodgy dossier cooked up by an ex-porn writer – a man who has admitted he would like to be a Prime Minister for a fourth time, even though Labour and non-Labour voters were heartily sick of him after his third term – indeed, BEFORE the end of the third term.

          • aracataca

            Nice to see you disagreeing with actual Green Party policies for once. Thanks once again for putting words into my mouth.  I don’t think I have referred to Blair once in my postings except to say that it is time to move on from New Labour -incidentally a sentiment echoed by our leader, (oh and that the term ‘Blairism’ is essentially meaningless and primarily used as a term of abuse within the party).   I also think perhaps you should  move on and engage constructively in the debates within the party in 2012 – back to the land of dreams.

          • Alan Giles

            Condescending as ever William. It would be people like  you who would make me wash my hands of Labour altogether, you and your sidekick on LL. 

            I merely made the point that the Greens should not go into coalition with right wing parties, thereby agreeing with the author of the piece you were so anxious I should read. That said  Iraq would be hard to beat in the context of disastrous policy.

            Interestingly, the Tories have always tried to airbrush out Anthony Eden, PM 1955-1957 – he came between Churchill and Harold McMillan . Eden ‘s nemisis was another 4 letter word (“Suez” in his case) – and to his credit Eden didn’t flounce about after he left office. Blair should follow his example.

          • aracataca

            What’s the point?

          • aracataca

            No but they did end free healthcare to pensioners though.  Sick Irish OAPs were delighted about that.

            BTW Ireland has been a neutral country since independence. It didn’t go to war against Hitler for example.  No Irish government of whatever colour can take the country to war.

          • Chilbaldi

             that was Blair’s third election victory. The most a Labour leader has ever achieved. A quick study of electoral history shows that you can expect substantial decline in seat numbers as government gets older.

            change the record, or rather stop scratching the record so it plays your own warped tune.

          • Alan Giles

            Harold Wilson won three elections as well. Arguably 4 if you include the two 1974 elections. 

            I’ll ignore your playground abuse

          • John Dore

            Any normal person would have said we lost in 79, 83, 87 and 92, but won in 97, 01 and 05. You are so desperate to lay a punch that you say anything.

            The election in 97 was an enigma and enormous majority. In 92 Kinnock polled 34.4% votes. Blair turned that into 42.3% in 97. in 2001 it was 40.7% and in 2005 his third term where governments are carrying and element of tiredness he won (that’s all that matters) he got 35.2%. Brown got 29% in 2010.Please do join the greens, IMHO you have no place in the broad church that is the Labour Party. Goodbye.

          • Alan Giles

            Any “normal” person wouldn’t repeat the same “joke 28 times in two and a half weeks – your “Partridge” one which was doing the round again earlier.

            Forgive me if I don’t take any notice of your mitherings.

          • aracataca

            Quite right yet again JD. I’ve been saying this for ages he’s just not listening.

          • aracataca

            Well said JD. Apparently according to AG you’re my sidekick. First, I’ve heard about it. You?

        • aracataca

          Indeed he is Chilbaldi. He also wants Labour’s poll rating to be damaged. In that sense by his own logic ( I use that term loosely) he should be pleased about Blair’s comeback.

          By the way you should have suffixed your comment that ‘he is a bloody Green’ with ‘he is a bloody Green who thinks that the record of the Green Party in Ireland is totally irrelevant to how we should view Green politics.’

          Therefore, in with all the other old crap is an inherent belief that what happens in other countries (especially old colonies) is of no importance whatsoever.

  • Hirondelle61

    In the words of the late Lyndon B. Johnson “I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in”. It will also serve as a reminder that the current Labour front bench is irretrievably tainted by Blair/Brown association. Talking of the latter, where is the non-serving MP?

    • Robert_Crosby

      This stuff about Brown not being around is boring and pathetic.  Virtually every ex-PM keeps a very low profile once they’ve stepped down.  He spoke out in a debate very soon after the election (in support of the aircraft carrier programme) and was vilified by the media.  He’ll get criticised whatever he does.  

      He’ll almost certainly stand down at the election, I’d have thought.   Unlike Blair, he seems set on raising money for causes and not for his own pocket.

      • treborc

         Low profile is one thing, he’s of course doing a disappearing act.

        As for making money for good causes is he, is he really.

        • Robert_Crosby

          That’s disingenuous.  Have a look at how many times Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher and Major spoke in the Commons after standing down.  It’s the convention that you get out the way (Heath being the exception) and only Brown gets stick for it.  Blair of course couldn’t be bothered with being a backbencher and resigned immediately.

          Brown’s accounts are on the record and they show he hasn’t pocketed anything from his book or his lectures.  Suggesting otherwise is plain wrong.

          • treborc

            yes I know all about his charity work, I also know where his place of work is.

  • http://twitter.com/_DaveTalbot David Talbot

    As someone who enjoyed the Labour Sports Dinner last night, my reckoning is that Blair is using this “Olympic legacy” as his first foot in the door back into British politics. It will (and dare I say: must) be expanded. 

    Anyone who thinks that a former prime minister will risk coming back to front line politics for a two weeks sports tournament are slightly deluded. 

    • John Dore

      David,

      Why do you think this is a must?

      • Alan Giles

        John I think David is right in that Blair wouldn’t have gone to the expense of hiring a new press secretary (back in the Spring) if he didn’t seriously think he stands some chance of becoming influential again – it would not have been worth it.

        My advice to any former PM is not to try for a comeback. You are rarely a success second time round. Much as I admired Harold Wilson, there can be no denying the 1974-76 return was “less” than the 1964-1970 period. The later term was more managerial (apart from the fact that the Heath government left many deep problems), and in the way the world moves so fast these days, compared to 35 years ago, I think Blair would now look somewhat dated.

        • treborc

          Who cares the people will either elect Miliband or not, I suspect if Miliband does lose we have the new leader waiting and the new Chancellor, Blair and David Miliband.

          Have to find  him a seat of course a very safe one, or make him a Lord Blair of Essex.

          I bet Miliband is now wearing a  stab proof vest

      • http://twitter.com/_DaveTalbot David Talbot

        Because I genuinely think he still has something to offer. What that ‘something’ is I do not know at the moment, but to not utilise his considerable strengths (whilst acknowledging his many weaknesses) would just confirm Labour’s historic preference for purity in defeat rather than compromise in power.

        There was quite a telling moment last night which I shall relate. Blair gave a short speech on the Olympics, which was really him confirming his return to the British political scene, and he spoke on Labour’s achievements. At the end it drew a spontaneous standing ovation. In contrast, when Miliband spoke he was wooden and the speech heavy going. The first person to stand up to applaud once he has finished was Blair himself. Everyone else was was either unsure, or wasn’t moved enough to rise to their feet. He still has that ability, and to deny his talents is I think folly and a return to the divisions that are sadly to often prevalent within the Labour party. The Tories certainly don’t suffer from it.

        • http://twitter.com/mistyblulabour dave stone

          “I genuinely think he still has something to offer. What that ‘something’ is I do not know at the moment… ”

          I’d put my money on Blair offering arguments in support of bombing of Iran.

          • treborc

            Not unless he can make money out of it, new book maybe

        • Alexwilliamz

          I fear you may have missed about 15-20 years of conservative party history from your last line.

    • Alan Giles

      Good morning David, the fact that Blair has employed at great cost a new press secretary to aid his “re-engagement” proves he is serious, so I for one am not deluded.
      Whether it will be good for either the party or the country is a different matter.

      Let’s wait and see the opinion polls in the months to come and we should get some indication.

  • Daniel Speight

    I guess having said that Blair is toxic, I should at least try to prove it before the ‘won three elections’ brethren start drowning out the voices of reason.

    Think of an answer to this question. Where could you take Blair in public in Britain without there being either hecklers, someone trying to make a citizen’s arrest, people trying to punch him on the nose, or worse?

    Another question. What would lead the news broadcast that evening? The policy Blair was publicizing or the protest against him?

    Last question. Would the party get stuck with his security costs? You know, like the football clubs have to pay all that police overtime so the cops can watch the football for free;-)

  • James

    After the Millennium Dome fiasco you’d have thought Blair would have learned not to run with scissors before involving him in further celebratory or legacy projects post-Olympics. Labour will be doubtless sorry when he invoices later for services provided.   

  • treborc

     
    Since walking out of Downing Street in June 2007, Mr Blair, the most
    successful Prime Minister in Labour’s history, has struck a number of
    lucrative deals that have earned him millions of pounds.

    Tony Blair is a burgeoning brand. He is an adviser, sometimes paid, sometimes
    unpaid, to foreign governments – and in some cases dictators; a hugely in
    demand, highly paid public speaker; an international business consultant;
    and a philanthropist with two charities in his name and another devoted to
    improving the plight of Africans. He is also a Middle East peace envoy with
    an office in Jerusalem and author of a best-selling memoir, the proceeds of
    which he gave to charity.

    Mr Blair is paid in the region of £3 million a year to advise both JP Morgan,
    the US investment bank, and also Zurich International, the global insurer
    based in Switzerland. On top of that he runs his own consultancy firm – Tony
    Blair Associates – which advises the oil and gas rich governments of Kuwait
    and Kazakhstan.

    It is a confusing mix of business, politics and philanthropy that is
    administered by a complex system of companies, operating out of plush
    offices in Grosvenor Square in Mayfair in central London.

    There are two parallel companies both with similar structures. One is called
    Windrush Ventures and another is called Firerush Ventures. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/8999847/Blair-Inc-How-Tony-Blair-makes-his-fortune.htmlSo if Blair is back in Politics the question is why, what for, who will benefit, will it be the poor the sick the disabled or will it be Blair PLC   I think it will be Blair

  • Paultmsmith

    Guys grow up – if it were not for Blair we would not have returned to government. Whatever your prejudices regarding the war or its legitimacy faced with similar circumstances and the trappings of power you have no idea how you would react. Fact is you were not and you will not be in this position Mr Blair was and he lives by this decision every day. Yes the war cost lives and also saved millions of others but for Gods sake don’t you remember those first progressive years and the years under the Tories before that – and now look what they are doing – and you want to argue about Blair……..

    • Chris Matheson

      Paul I am not anti Blair like some on here and I recognise his contribution to the Labour Party even if I don’t like much of what he stood for in terms of privatisation and marketisation etc.

      But please don’t produce that “we would never have won in 1997 without Blair” line which is simply incorrect. Immediately after they won the 1992 election the Tories went into freefall, with issues such as the closure of the coal industry provoking outcry.  Then the ERM debacle culminating in Black Wednesday lost them their economic credibility which they never regained. John Smith was popular and trusted (ironically, now, likened to a trustable  Scottish bank mananger) and although we will never know for sure, I am pretty confident that he would easily have won in 1997 too. Blair was a great communicator and with a very clear vision of where he wanted to go, but his timing was fortunate as well.

    • Alan Giles

      Perhaps you need to take your own advice, Mrt. Smith and “grow up”. Those of us who were adults in 1997 know only too well that the Conservative government was in such low regard by the public that almost anybody could have won that election for Labour.

      I doubt “Mr. Blair” worries too much about the misery he helped create in Iraq – I am sure he has convinced himself he “did the right thing” and now he cries all the way to the bank.

      If I may say so, it is this ridiculous rewriting of history by Blair’s admirers that annoys me almost as much as the Dear Leader himself.

      • treborc

         The Pope forgave him

        • James

          And so did God according to Cherie Blair.

          • treborc

             They do have a connection straight to the top, wonder if God’s  a banker, explain a lot

          • James

            I think Blair advises God about the troubles in the Middle East. No doubt one of Blair’s Windrush companies will invoice the Almighty for consultancy services provided in due course. Tony Blair and his business interests, just like God, move in mysterious ways… especially as far as taxation goes!

      • Alexwilliamz

        I don’t believe just ‘anyone’ would have won it. 

    • John Dore

      Paul you make an interesting point on Blair winning the election. Some who because of their hatred of Blair suggest that a chimpanzee could have beaten Major. I think they are wrong, 1993 proves this. Majors government wasn’t brilliant, closer to really crap and yet Kinnock lost! People didn’t want Kinnock.

      The key to 1997 was we had the master communicator with the right team behind him and the right strategy. That is why Major got a drubbing. Most people in the UK want fairness and to vote Labour, they don’t trust the Labour party for a number of reasons.The difference with Blair was that he motivated people to come out and vote Blair’s “no issues Labour”, not Labour but Blair’s Labour. This is a difficult concept for the left to understand.

      I’m not that keen on his return as an MP, in fact I am against it. What I could live with though is a role such as chairman, where he could really help Ed. Ed has a huge problem on his hands, the Unions are stirring for a big fight, they want to take control of the party and to take the government on. Both of which are hugely damaging to Labour support amongst the non tribal fraternity. I think Ed has courted Blair to help.

      • Alan Giles

        For one thing “Blair’s Labour” is now dead and buried – “no more boom and bust” “my government will be purer than pure” and “45 minutes” are now shown up for the nonsense they were.

        Old PMs do not come back, especially when they have offended so many different people.

        Secondly, if Blair became Chairman of the party, Ed Miliband and his cohort would forever having to look over their shoulders because his vanity would forever be looking for a way to get “his men” into positions of influence.

        And for the record I don’t “hate” Blair – I don’t hate anybody – you or the poster with three names, or the most inane disc jockey on radio. 

        There are people I despise and distrust. Blair happens to be one of them

    • Alexwilliamz

      I reject your first sentence. Of course it is one of those unknowns as we cannot rewind history, but I kind of feel that there were others who would have brought us back into get also. To pretend otherwise is verging on a personality cult. Sure characters are important but there were hell of a lot of other factors that contributed to the 97 election and for my money the identity of the person in charge was not the biggest one.

  • Daniel Speight

    And from no less a source than Dan Hodges in the Telegraph.

    A couple of months ago, the pollster Survation asked whether Tony Blair’s return as leader would make them more or less likely to vote Labour: 24 per cent said more likely, 40 per cent less.

  • longsight 9a

    Time will tell re. Tony Blair,But I think we should trust the political nous of Ed & his advisers. There are too many “LABOUR S/PTS” slagging off ED on TWITTER,I thought the enemy was the TORYS. Joe

  • Doc!!!

    Blair may toxic on some issues but it is always good to have people who have won elections in the mix somewhere. 

    the same as it is to have DM working publicly on issues but seemingly on his own steam not through a party role 

    • Alan Giles

      On that basis, the Tories should be wheeling Mrs Thatcher out again!

      • treborc

         They need not bother Blair is here

    • John Dore

      David Miliband has been good from the sidelines, he’s not getting in the way and will return to offer whatever help is required but not in a front bench role. Whilst Ed is in charge he will do nothing Brown’ish to usurp him. Should Ed move on he will succeed him, should Blair be in the house he will have to install CCTV to constantly watch his back.

  • uxx

    god help us all.
    when will labour ever learn
    if ed needs tony’s help he is not fit to lead any party – perhaps he should apply to cameron for clegg’s job in 2015

  • David Pavett

    I am really alarmed and disappointed by the news that Blair is to work with John Cruddas on the Policy Review. The first 18 months of the review under Liam Byrne did absolutely nothing worthwhile. I momentarily thought that with Cruddas there would at least be a chance of some transparency, meaningful policy drafts and open discussion. Having left the Party when Blair was leader I recently re-joined and started to get involved. Now I wonder if it was worth it. Blair’s involvement in policy can only be the kiss of death to any radical aspirations for a Party genuinely standing up for the interests of the great majority. If he has serious influence then the Tory Lite approach favoured by the Blairites in the Shadow Cabinet will become a done deal. I can’t say how disappointed I am with this news. I wanted to participate in Party debate about policy, especially on education. If Blair is to have a significant role in policy making any such efforts will be a complete waste of time. I don’t want to wast my time. I will move onto something else. It’s such bad news.

    • Alan Giles

      I understand your feelings David, but it is  possible,  when the general public discover Blair is back on the scene, that it might result in the opinion polls taking a turn for the worse, in which case I would assume that the party would suggest to Blair that it would be better if he didn’t re-engage. Whether or not they choose to admit it, Blair’s supporters must realise that he is very much the Labour “Margaret Thatcher” figure and attracts as much negative feeling as positive. It remains to be seen which side prevails

      Of course, the public might want him as much as the “Tony-Can-Do-No-Wrong” on LL do and the opinion polls might reflect it in another huge leap for Labour – in which case, like you, I will be off.

      • David Pavett

          I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a while. I assume that this is some kind of manoeuvre
        engineered by the Blairites in the Shadow Cabinet to keep Miliband (and
        Cruddas?) in check. I had hope, after Byrne was replaced by Cruddas on
        the Policy Review, that the Party might have some real discussion of
        meaningful policies instead of the anodyne rubbish so far generated by
        the Review and the Policy Commissions. The last NPF meeting also, from
        what I heard, gave some hope that greater clarity and transparency were
        being demanded of policy processes. But if in the lead up to Conference
        it is clear that Blair is having real influence on policy then we can
        kiss goodbye to all that.

        • Alan Giles

          I must be honest and say I have problems with Jon Cruddas, in that I feel he is more interested in theory rather than practice,  of debate rather than action, very much like an academic. His friendship with James Purnell seems bizarre, but there we go.

          If Ed Miliband is ill-advised enough to allow Blair to get his foot in the door, he will become a hostage to fortune IMO – especially since the Progress shower  and their supporters are so prominent now. I wouldn’t fancy his chances if Blair and Mandy felt that somebody else would have a better chance of winning in 2015 (and we can all guess who that would be).

  • llanystumdwy

    Labour needs this man like it needs a hole in the head. 

    The Blair Brown years will be remembered for spin, SPads, top-down control freakery, illegal wars and a debt binge with little to show for it now. The gap between rich and poor widened massively, social mobility declined and manufacturing investment declined during their years in power. There were some good things done but overall they were 13 wasted years during which time the rivalries between Blair and Brown  got in the way of getting on with the job of governing. 

    Ed Milliband is a descent man and if he has any sense at all, he will distance himself from Blair, Brown and the New Labour years.

    • treborc

      I think we all know know why Byrne was not sacked, the master said he wanted back in and Miliband decided it’s best to allow him back, better keep Byrne.

  • Losange

    Albert Einstein defined insanity as: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We know what Blair is. We know what Blair has done. We all know in which direction Blair would steer the Labour Party given half a chance. Isn’t it kind of insane to believe that Blair Revivimus would behave even slightly differently and more benignly than he has done in the past? Blair’s time is over. He left politics a long time ago to spend more time with his money.

    • treborc

      We all know Blair has a reason he does nothing without a reason, does he see his task of being leader unfinished, well if he came back and lost an election he’d be another has been.

      Nope I think Blair is worried more about this Third way his New labour legacy, he left it with Progress, but Progress has taken a bit of a hammering, so once he gets Progress back on line and the new labour legacy is safe he will move on.

  • Redshift

    If this is restricted to Blair having a role with the Olympics, fine. If Blair does or is even seen be having an influence on domestic policy though there will be a lot of pissed off Labour voters. JUST DONT. We have a good lead in the polls, don’t ruin it.

  • LesThompson

    i do not mind blear do ing a progect when laber get back in but he needs to under stand that he can not inter fear in govoment stering up strif he tends to do that a lot he will be buted out of the partey if he starts that type of shnanigins  put him in charg of buiding houses or wast recoverey and power genorashon  find gorden somthing to but keep then apart ..les

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