Jordan Carter blogs his approval of Tony Blair’s last party conference speech and Blair’s contribution to the UK. It is certainly a great speech.
I regard Tony Blair as a centrist right winger at heart who was in Labour because the Torys were so unappealing to “middle” Britain. It was when I was over there for six weeks last year I realised that his instincts are of the right.
In health and education he is a champion of choice and competition and the private sector having a role. In law & order he is very genuinely hardline. His welfare reforms (like Clinton’s) have appalled the old left. On defence he is hawk. Even on environmentalism he balances up the need to confront climate change with the realisation Kyoto is the wrong solution for it.
I used to think Blair was like Clark. Clark sometimes goes centrist on some issues. But Clark does it purely to gain votes, or deflate a hot issue. Clark instinctively is very much on the left wing of Labour – she is just willing to compromise as much as is necessary to stay in power (I say that with a mixture of appreciation and condemnation).
Blair though is a genuine believer in education and health reforms which provide choice and competition. His language is often language of the right. He definitely is a believer in third world poverty relief etc, but that is not universal to the left.
It is a pity that Blair’s record will be judged mainly on his decision to support action against Saddam Hussein. He does deserve more consideration than that.Tags: International Politics