Early extracts from Blair’s autobiography

BlairjourneyBy Mark Ferguson / @markfergusonuk

As Tony Blair’s long awaited autobiography comes on sale, the first extracts from the book have been released on his website. The Guardian also have extracts, and an interview with Blair.

On Gordon Brown:

“I came to the conclusion that having him inside and constrained was better than outside and let loose or, worse, becoming the figurehead of a far more damaging force well to the left.”

“So was he difficult, at times maddening? Yes. But he was also strong, capable and brilliant, and those were qualities for which I never lost respect.”

On Iraq:

“On the basis of what we do know now, I still believe that leaving Saddam in power was a bigger risk to our security than removing him, and that terrible though the aftermath was, the reality of Saddam and his sons in charge of Iraq would at least arguably be much worse. None of this in any way dismisses the force of the criticism that we failed to foresee the nature of what would follow once Saddam was gone.”

On Northern Ireland:

“Every time we set foot in Northern Ireland there were protests – large, small, peaceful, violent, some Unionist, some Republican – always showing how divided the politics of Northern Ireland was from that anywhere else. That day for the first time there was a protest not about Northern Ireland, but about Iraq. When I saw it, I felt that Northern Ireland had just rejoined the rest of the world.”

On the Labour Party:

“I wanted to modernise the Labour Party so it was capable, not intermittently but continuously, of offering a progressive alternative to Conservative rule.”

“In particular, as I always used to say, I owe the Labour Party, its members, supporters and activists, a huge debt of gratitude. I put them through a lot! They took it, most of the time, with quite extraordinary dignity and loyalty. It is true that my head can sometimes think conservatively especially on economics and security; but my heart always beats progressive, and my soul is and always will be that of a rebel.”

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