Archive for the ‘British Conservative Party’ Category

Found it. Cached. Number 10 website. Deleted page on The Queen & Her PMs

June 7, 2012

All blog posts 2012 + Original, from 2006 to 2012

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8th June 2012

Follow-on from my previous post –  ‘Number 10 deletes its page on The Queen’

I found it, though it took some searching. Had to look through ALL of these 20 search engines until I found a cached version of Number 10 website’s 6th June article “cached”.  Didn’t find it until I got to the last one – Yahoo. One has to be a terrier-like at times in the search for truth, doesn’t one?

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You have reached the cached page for http://www.number10.gov.uk/history-and-tour/queen-elizabeth-and-her-twelve-prime-ministers/
Below is a snapshot of the Web page as it appeared on 6/5/2012. This is the version of the page that was used for ranking your search results. The page may have changed since it was last cached. To see what might have changed (without the highlights), go to the current page.

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It wasn’t here yesterday –  http://www.number10.gov.uk/history-and-tour/queen-elizabeth-and-her-twelve-prime-ministers/ as it had been the day before.

As it happens I didn’t originally notice that article because of their mention of Blair and the Royal Yacht. I noticed it because it seemed to mention Conservative PMs a lot more than it did others. And on first reading this had also escaped my notice: one of The Queen’s Conservative PMs seems to be by FAR the most important for 1,000 years!

MODESTY BECOMES ONE, MR CAMERON

‘His most important dealing with the Queen so far in his Premiership is one of the most significant in a1,000[sic] years of monarchy: the proposed change in the law regarding primogeniture’

Oh my!

With all the Royal going-ons at the weekend Jubilee celebrations I recalled that they had made this confession there:

“[The Queen] … lamented the loss, in 1997, of the Royal Yacht Britannia (a decision wrongly ascribed to Tony Blair, but in fact inherited from the Major government) …”

And with so many little tweeps constantly having a go at Tony Blair for this and so many other things, I thought it worth revisiting Number 10’s page. And there it was – GONE.

So, just in case it disappears again, here it is in all its modest, unselfserving glory, links and all. Purely in the interests of open government, you understand, Mr Cameron. I DO realise you may have been asked by an external body to remove it. One has to be careful as Prime Minister whose apolitical toes one steps on.

My thanks to Yahoo at this for this

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Queen Elizabeth and her Twelve Prime Ministers

by D R Thorpe

On her 21st birthday in 1947 Princess Elizabeth broadcast from Cape Town in South Africa:

‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great Imperial country to which we all belong…God help me to make good my vow and God bless all of you who are willing to share it.’

The Queen’s relationship with her 12 Prime Ministers (eight Conservative and four Labour) over the past 60 years demonstrates how she has fulfilled that vow.

Churchill was a formidable presence for the young Queen, who remained in awe of the great war leader. At their first audience, Churchill told the Queen he could advise her from a lifetime of experience, but the time would come when she would advise Prime Ministers younger than herself from a similar standpoint. So it has proved. The first of the 12 Prime Ministers younger than the Queen was John Major. Tony Blair and David Cameron were not even born when she acceded to the throne.

The central assertion about the rights of a constitutional monarch, as defined by Walter Bagehot in 1867, remains as true as ever:

‘the sovereign has under a constitutional monarchy such as ours, three rights – the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn.’

The Queen has exercised all three rights. An early example was the issue of live television coverage of the Coronation in June 1953. Churchill opposed it, and, initially, the Queen was also doubtful. Eventually, the Queen’s view that the benefits would outweigh the disadvantages prevailed. Asked by an old court favourite whether Churchill was attempting to mentor her, as Melbourne had mentored the young Queen Victoria, she replied, ‘Not at all, I find him very obstinate.’ Nevertheless, she learned much from the old warrior.

The weekly audience between monarch and Prime Minister remained a fixed point of contact. At these audiences, the Queen found her second Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, a sympathetic listener to her concerns. Dominating their early meetings was discussion of Princess Margaret’s possible marriage to the divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend. The Suez crisis in 1956 led to much speculation about the Queen’s views and what she knew of unfolding events. Eden believed that informing the Queen was of supreme importance and all the Suez papers were sent to her, the first time she was to be shown secret government papers. Their relationship was one of impeccable constitutional propriety and confidences were maintained. The Queen was able to draw on these experiences at later audiences with Margaret Thatcher during the Falklands War.

The Queen has two prerogatives, to choose, or now to confirm, a new Prime Minister in office and to grant a dissolution of Parliament, triggering a general election. The first prerogative was exercised in 1957 and in 1963 when the leadership of the Conservative party became vacant between general elections. After taking advice from senior Conservatives, the Queen invited Harold Macmillan to become her third Prime Minister, a process repeated in October 1963 when Sir Alec Douglas-Home was appointed.

At first, the Queen did not find Macmillan easy to deal with. He was unsure whether the Prime Minister’s annual visit to Balmoral was a social occasion, with ‘talking shop’ relegated to the margins, or a Highlands version of his weekly audiences at Buckingham Palace. However, it was not long before they  were on the same wavelength. Indeed, the Queen soon came to rely on Macmillan to offer wise counsel, both while in office and after his retirement in 1963. They discussed issues including the inauguration of the memorial to President Kennedy at Runnymede in 1965, and the 250th anniversary of 10 Downing Street in 1985. Crucially, the Queen also sought his advice following the uncertain General Election outcomes of February and October 1974, when he advised on historical precedents.

When Macmillan resigned in October 1963, accusations were made that the Queen had colluded with his supposed blocking of the Deputy Prime Minister, Rab Butler, as his successor, leading to the controversial appointment of Alec Douglas-Home as the new Prime Minister. In fact, the Queen had distanced herself from the process, both physically  – by staying out of London, at Windsor Castle – and  personally – ensuring that her Assistant Private Secretary Sir Edward Ford was the conduit between the Palace and the Prime Minister’s Office. The Palace made it clear that the choice of a new leader should be for the Conservative Party alone, a process known as ‘You Choose, We Send For’. Far from colluding, the Queen maintained the monarchy’s political impartiality, waiting for a name to be brought to her.

Subsequent events eroded the Queen’s prerogative. From July 1965 onwards, the Conservative Party elected its leader, as the Labour Party had done since 1922. Today it would be highly unusual if the Queen invited anyone to become Prime Minister who was not the acknowledged leader of the party commanding a majority in the House of Commons. Outgoing Prime Ministers in mid-term have made things easier for the Queen by staying-on until their party has elected a successor, including Harold Wilson in 1976 and Margaret Thatcher in 1990.

When Sir Alec Douglas-Home became Prime Minister in October 1963, for the first time the Queen had a Prime Minister whom she already knew as a friend, Home having been a childhood friend of the Queen Mother. She was now in the unusual situation of having to formalise a relationship that had always been informal. When Home went to Balmoral for his first Prime Ministerial visit, he heard for the first time the sound of the Queen’s official bagpiper before breakfast, an experience he would not have had on his previous visits as a family friend. Over the years, Home often helped the Queen to name royal horses. After hearing the Balmoral bagpiper, Home suggested the names ‘Blessed Relief’ [by] ‘Bagpipes’ [out of] ‘Earshot’ for her three new foals!

James Callaghan observed that that the Queen provided friendliness, not friendship to her Prime Ministers. Wilson and Callaghan, her first two Labour Prime Ministers, both got on famously with the Queen. Wilson enjoyed the informality of helping with the washing-up after the Balmoral barbecues, unlike Thatcher for whom these weekends interrupted work. Wilson noted that the Queen respected those who had served in the armed forces, which made her relationship with Callaghan, who had been in the Royal Navy, so relaxed. The relationship with Edward Heath was not always easy, as his world-view differed sharply from that of the Queen. European integration was Heath’s vision. The Queen, however, saw her role as Head of the Commonwealth to be of supreme importance. For this reason she lamented the loss, in 1997, of the Royal Yacht Britannia (a decision wrongly ascribed to Tony Blair, but in fact inherited from the Major government), which had enabled her to visit the smaller, more remote Commonwealth countries.

Much attention has been paid to the Queen’s first prerogative, the right to appoint a Prime Minister, but little to the second, the dissolution of Parliaments. So far in the Queen’s reign there have been 15 such dissolutions, the two, indecisive elections in 1974 being potentially the most difficult. Returning from Australia in February 1974, the Queen’s role proved invaluable in a volatile and uncertain political climate. However, the recent Fixed Term Act, setting a statutory, five-year parliament, has in effect removed that prerogative, except in the most unlikely of circumstances. In 1952 when she came to the throne, the Queen could choose the Prime Minister, and could grant, or not grant, a dissolution of parliament. Now, in effect, she can do neither. The party commanding a majority in the House of Commons presents its accepted leader to the Queen after a General Election or a change of party leadership in the governing party. The next General Election is already determined for May 2015, unless two-thirds of the Commons decides otherwise.  These changes do not weaken the Queen’s ‘dignified’ position; on the contrary they remove her entirely from the political arena.

David Cameron is the youngest of the Queen’s Prime Ministers and was at prep school with Prince Edward. The Queen first met him when he was nine years old, acting in a production of Wind in the Willows, a rabbit to Prince Edward’s mole. His most important dealing with the Queen so far in his Premiership is one of the most significant in a1,000 years of monarchy: the proposed change in the law regarding primogeniture, which will enable any future daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to become Queen before any younger brothers, a change agreed by the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Prime Ministers.  The evolution of a modern monarchy continues.

© W J R Gardner 2012

Edited by History & Policy

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ADDENDUM

The bias here is even WORSE than I had presumed. Try clicking the link for Tony Blair in the article above. It will NOT open a page with ANY information at the Archives of the Number 10 website on Labour’s longest-serving and most electorally successful Prime Minister ever. But at least Tony Blair gets a mention. Gordon Brown’s name does not even appear. Why ever not, Mr Cameron?

Update: Mr Blair’s page has now opened for me via the link. But poor old Gordon has no chance of being found. Perhaps that is because, in the opinion of the writer of this ‘deleted’ article he did not get on as well with Her Majesty as the article insists some other PMs did.

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Royal Yacht Britannia, History [as at Wikipedia]

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Number 10 website deletes its page on The Queen. One IS disappointed!

June 7, 2012

All blog posts 2012 + Original, from 2006 to 2012

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7th June 2012

“[The Queen] … lamented the loss, in 1997, of the Royal Yacht Britannia (a decision wrongly ascribed to Tony Blair, but in fact inherited from the Major government), which had enabled her to visit the smaller, more remote Commonwealth countries.”

Click to see the whole article at the Number 10 website > http://www.number10.gov.uk/history-and-tour/queen-elizabeth-and-her-twelve-prime-ministers/

Got it?

Or did you get this -

Page not found

We are sorry. The page you are looking for cannot be found. It might have been removed, had its name changed, or may be temporarily unavailable.

You can return to the home page at www.number10.gov.uk or you can look through content held by The National Archives at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/*/http://www.number10.gov.uk/

If you followed a link from within this site to get here, please contact the Digital Communications team in Number 10: admin@number10.gov.uk

That pain in the rear end, aka Blair Supporter to the rescue. Soon, hopefully.

RELATED

Sep 2011, Robert Hardman at The Daily Mail – headlined (DO note MIND-BENDING headline) – “Why Blair wished he hadn’t made the Queen cry” – (even though the article does not point to Tony Blair as the only tear-maker.)

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh leave the Royal Yacht Britannia for the last time in Portsmouth.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh leave the Royal Yacht Britannia for the last time in Portsmouth.

Excerpt from Hardman’s article. MY bolding:

“Distant memories now. To the Queen’s evident distress — and Prince Philip’s ill-concealed anger — the incoming Labour government of Tony Blair decommissioned the Royal Yacht, turned her into an Edinburgh tourist attraction and vetoed a replacement. Ultimately, though, responsibility for the decision rests equally with the Tories.

But what the Royal Family may find particularly intriguing — and infuriating — 14 years later, is that Tony Blair now deeply regrets his part in it. As he tells me: ‘I think if it had happened five years into my time [as Prime Minister], I would have just said “no”.’

The twisted saga of Britannia’s final years began under John Major’s government, which announced, in 1994, that the 41-year-old yacht would be decommissioned when she came up for her next major overhaul. There was little enthusiasm for replacing her.

‘During the early Nineties, the monarchy went through a very difficult time,’ Sir John Major explains. ‘Ask yourself this question: in the midst of the recession, with the British people facing economic hardship, how popular would it have been to announce a £50 million spend on a new yacht for the personal use of the Royal Family? How would that have been portrayed by the media?’”

THE MEDIA?

You don’t mean that even pre-Blair governments were “afraid” of the media??!! It didn’t start with Alastair Campbell? How CAN you say that? WHAT? You’ll be suggesting the Tory-led Government has a valid reason to delete this page next.

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After Riots, will Cameron’s Big Society NOW have legs? Blairism revisited?

August 11, 2011

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Or –

11th August 2011

It’s not often I sing the praises of the BBC, as you may have noticed.  But there are some excellent people there, despite all. Jon Sopel for one, who wrote this a few days ago on Tony Blair in Nazareth:

“After ten years at the top of British politics, he has managed to improve the economic well-being of the Palestinians, and his quiet painstaking work is respected by both sides.  But as I watched him working the streets of Nazareth, I sensed that Tony Blair feels he has one more big job in him — and this might not be it.”   

Wish-Fulfilment As News thinking, but from a different angle than that which John Rentoul refers to? Perhaps. But one with which many of us would like to concur. Vision and leadership doesn’t come in and hang around long with every parliamentary session.

And today, as we struggle with the first major riots on the British mainland in thirty years, Mark Easton reminds us of this:

“Within weeks of coming to power in 1997, Tony Blair set up a Social Exclusion Unit inside the Cabinet Office specifically to deal with what his party painted as Margaret Thatcher’s underclass – hundreds of thousands of people, workless, skill-less, often homeless and hopeless, a group cut off from mainstream society – dubbed the entrenched 5%.

Huge sums were pumped into schemes in the most deprived neighbourhoods, but tussles over budgets and the sheer challenge of engaging with people who are often hostile to officialdom meant ambition couldn’t translate into outcome.

In February 2006, as knives were being sharpened by Old Labourites, Tony Blair still had his mind on social exclusion issues, when many of us were looking the other way. This is by Brian Wheeler  -

“The fact that Mr Blair has now decided to appoint a Cabinet minister with special responsibility for social exclusion will be seen by critics as a final admission of that failure.

It is also, perhaps, a sign of his impatience that many of the social problems he set out to tackle in 1997 are still there.

Mr Blair clearly thinks it is time for a rethink on the issue of social exclusion.

There is a growing mood on all sides of the debate that civil servants and ministers in Whitehall may not have all the answers and that a centralised approach is not the answer.”

Enter Stage Right – Mr Cameron’s Big Society? Well, maybe.

Personally I don’t know if his heart, or that of his party is in it. I certainly don’t recall Mr Cameron  saying before recent events that social exclusion should be dealt with.  Not until now.

Cometh the moment, cometh the man? Or what?

I think I’ll opt for “what?”

As Tim McLoughlin puts it here – on “Tough on crime – tough on causes of crime”

“Cameron needs to show that Conservatism really is compassionate and that it won’t just be tough on crime, but also its causes. This means that budget cuts should never take precedence, as they seem to be, over public safety or rebuilding our communities.

Cameron isn’t Blair yet and never will be.”

Today in Parliament

Cameron: More power to Police – curfews – ban face-masks – street gang injunctions – possible use of water cannon/(rubber bullets) – review of instant messaging services – greater powers to courts. Oh, and eviction.

Excerpt:

“Let’s be clear, however, that the criminal actions of a few can and do undermine quality of life for the vast majority of law abiding tenants in Britain’s social housing. The sense that a rogue element are “getting away with it” is a corrosive force in these communities.

Former prime minister Tony Blair recognised this when he launched the (rather lacklustre) rights and responsibilities campaign in the mid-2000s – and having been unable return to my own home for much of this week, I feel it myself. Blair saw that institutional deference had been eroded in the equally important fight for a more liberal society with greater opportunity for all, and predicted the serious consequences which have now come to pass.”

Parliament’s Riot debate as it happens

Andrew Sparrow on UK riots: Commons debate and live updates including list of responses. For instance, David Aaronovitch in the Times (paywall) says only a relatively small number of people were involved in the riots.

“The highest realistic estimate I’ve seen for rioters in one place was 200, and pictures of that event suggest that it was too high. It also seems that one must make a practical distinction (if not a moral one) between rioters and looters — people who entered shops already broken into to steal goods. There is some evidence of the same people moving from one location to another. With the number of arrests at about 500, I seriously wonder if many more than a few thousand people were involved in rioting.

This is important because it tells us two things. First, we are not dealing with a mass criminal insurrection. And second, that a remarkably small number of people, if they are mobile and use surprise, can cause mayhem out of all proportion to their numbers. I was told this by Tony Blair once, in the context of terrorism, and it’s true.”

Update: My dear friend John Rentoul has this today. Though I must say I am not sure what his last sentence has to do with the price of free tv sets today –  “But no one pointed out that there was looting during the Second World War. “

ETCETERA

If you think Cameron’s response today to the riots was less than you’d have wished for (I’m reasonably content, btw – yes this is me, reasonably content!) read this from civil rights guardian(!)  Ahmadinejad, via The Guardian - UK riots: Iran calls on UN to intervene over ‘violent suppression’  –  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemns British government for its ‘brutal beating’ of ‘the opposition’

Perhaps we should stop complaining about David Cameron.

OK. I’ll take my own advice. Mr Cameron you did well. (as well as could be expected)

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Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

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The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
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Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.

“Orgasmic” (acc to a tweeter) followers listen to Tony Blair at Progress Event

July 8, 2011

Comment at end

Or –

8th July 2011

“ORGASMIC”?

I know it’s politics and therefore not “sexy” but a tweet talking hot and bothered over Tony Blair was irresistible. The pictures it conjured up!

But while we share a cigarette and lie back on the pillow to ponder that life is good, what about this then?

AN ARRESTING DAY

I’m hoping to catch up with a few things before I disappear for a day or two. No, my name’s not Rebekah. But this is worth a mention, don’t you reckon? Just a word or two?

A propos the “End of The World” as we know it – knew it  –  Andy Coulson and Clive Goodman have been arrested and Rebekah Brooks is  no longer in full charge of News International.  Oh, and the present PM – oops, when was the last time I used that time-limited suggestion(?) – (don’t recall but this’ll do) – is struggling to work out how he deals with whatever is about to break next re … one thing or another. I loved this from Mr Cameron summoning up the Ghost at the Party/ies –  “The truth is, to coin a phrase, we’ve all been in this together … we have not gripped this issue.” Ahh, but Mr Cameron of the all in this together Big Society, one of us tried to grip the issue of the feral beasts even as he was exiting the scene, June 2007.

Just the usual Friday at the office.

Now, where was I?

Oh yes. Today at The Progress 15 get-together in London the growing excitement was evident on Twitter.

HE was there. Arisen. Resurrected. Re-incarnated perhaps.  It was as though he’d been dead and buried for the last four years and they were about to gaze on the vision, open-mouthed at the wonder of it all.

Of course the press like to pretend he has been six-feet under for aeons, at least politically. Their job is complete, they reckon.  Pity they’re as barmy as they are corrupt misleading. Tony Blair has in fact been doing this – (Israel/Palestine – Quartet) while setting up this – (Faith Foundation) and starting this – (Africa Governance Initiative) while launching this – (Sports Foundation) and working on this – (Climate Change issues) in his spare time.

Now and again the press deign to mention some of the above.  Still, it’s not bad for a “dead” man, don’t you think?

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Tony Blair joins Stephen Twigg to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Progress

Friday, Jul 08, 2011 in Office of Tony Blair

Tony Blair today joined Progress Chair Stephen Twigg MP and over 200 members to celebrate its 15th birthday. Before answering questions from the audience at the Westminster event, Tony Blair delivered the following opening remarks:

Blair: “Let’s get a few preliminaries set out clearly.

Let’s get one thing very clear. I’m a Labour supporter. I support the Labour Party. I support its Leader Ed Miliband. Come the next election I will be campaigning for a Labour Government not a Tory one and a Labour Prime Minister not a Tory one.

I led a Labour Government pursuing progressive policies. A minimum wage; the largest ever investment in schools and hospitals; Sure Start; childcare; a new Department for International Development with a tripled aid budget that leads the world today in development policies; millions of pensioners saved from poverty; a million children lifted from poverty; and in everything from devolution to a Mayor for London, the winning of the Olympic bid, to civil partnerships and the country’s first Muslim Ministers, a new way of doing, thinking and acting. I’m proud of it. We should be proud of it.

Until 1997, in a hundred years of Labour history, we had never won two successive full terms; or governed for more than 6 years at a time. We won three successive full terms and governed for 13 years. As a result the Tories, to win, had to start borrowing from us, not from them. That is a sign of our success not our failure. So when they goad you by saying they’re carrying on my policies, it’s not because I believe what they believe; but because they want YOU to believe that I believe what they believe. So they hope we will relinquish the policies that made us winners and embrace the policies that made us lose. It’s an old Tory trap. Best thing: don’t fall into it.

I remain unremittingly an advocate of third way, centre ground, progressive politics that came to be called New Labour. From 1997 to 2007 we were New Labour. In June 2007 we stopped. We didn’t become Old Labour exactly. But we lost the driving rhythm that made us different and successful. It was not a Government of continuity from 1997 to 2010 pursuing the same politics. It was 10 + 3. So the policies I listed above are universally regarded as progressive. But I am every bit as proud of school reform that gave hundreds of thousands of children a first time chance of decent education; health reform and patient choice that cut waiting times dramatically; ASB and tougher crime policy that cut crime by 35% – the only Government since the war to do so; reforming university finance to keep our universities amongst the best in the world; and of a pro-enterprise and business policy that took away from the Tories the mantle of the Party of business. Because job creation is a progressive project and you don’t create  jobs by attacking the businesses that create them. And I’m also proud to have engaged our magnificent Armed Forces in removing brutal dictators the world is better off without.

Some of these policies could be supported by people who don’t vote Labour. That’s not a bad thing. In the real world of the 21st Century there will be some pick and mix of policy. Sometimes it will be less left vs. right than right vs. wrong. Above all, today efficacy – i.e. effective delivery, motivated of course by values, matters as much if not more than ideology. Don’t fear it. Embrace it. It liberates us to get the correct policy. And the best policy is usually the best politics. It is not a betrayal of principles. It is applying principles to changing times.

So New Labour is not, was not and never should be about sacrificing the principles of social justice, solidarity and equality to win. It is about understanding that, in a world of change, if we don’t change, our principles become a refuge from the world not a platform to go out and transform it.

This is true here. It is also the lesson from round the globe. Progressives win when they have the courage to be the change-makers. They lose when the public senses that to please themselves, they retreat to where they feel calm, comfortable and small c conservative, echoing the politics of protest, but shunning the hard decisions of Government.

Of course 1994 is not 2011. Some of the questions are different. Some of the answers are different. The financial crisis, not least, has seen to that. But the attitude should remain the same: open, creative, modern, fighting from what I once called the radical centre, always at the cutting edge of the future not searching for a justification to return to the past.  And confident.

Confident enough to be prepared to debate, when we lose, why we lost. Now here’s the thing, there is no point in being prissy about it. Parties of the Left have a genetic tendency, deep in their DNA, to cling to an analysis that they lose because the Leadership is insufficiently committed to being left, defined in a very traditional sense. There’s always a slightly curious problem with this analysis since usually they have lost to a right-wing Party. But somehow that inconvenient truth is put to the side. This analysis is grasped with relief. People are then asked to unify around it. Anything else is distraction, even an act of disloyalty. This strategy never works. Never.

It is often said that when I was Leader of the Labour Party, we were control freaks. In the sense of managing Government announcements and staying on message, we were. But we were throughout always conducting a debate with a perpetual drumbeat of opposition from those who thought New Labour was a betrayal of our principles. I never resented that debate. I cheerfully engaged in it. I enjoyed it. Because I was confident in what we were doing, where we were going and why. Confident that if we carried on taking New Labour to a new level we would carry on winning.

Final point. We should also be confident we can always win. First rule of politics: there are no rules in the sense of inevitable defeats or certain victories. This Tory Government can be beaten. But whether it is or not depends at least as much on what we do as what they do. Nearly always when we lose, we take several elections to find our way back to winning. This time can be different. It should be different. For the sake of the country it needs to be different.

Because understand one thing very clearly. Yes, there is crossover in policy today left and right. Yes there are things this Government does that we can and should agree with as well as things we can’t and shouldn’t agree with. But a Tory Government is a Tory Government. And by the way, is a Tory Government despite the fact that a few political tourists with a faulty guidebook called Lib Dems stumbled into it and have now been press-ganged into being cheerleaders for policies they used to denounce. A Tory Government may support policies like the minimum wage now. Don’t think for a moment they would have invented them.

Progressives will always make different choices from Conservatives. But the choice we make right now is about ourselves. And I believe we can and will choose the future, the centre and a return to the place where the big choices are made: Government.”

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Read Tony Blair transcript of speech to Progress today.

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RELATED

Telegraph: David Cameron is not out of the sewer yet – Peter Oborne,  so of course he has to do a “I can disclose” on Tony Blair.  Bucket! Salt!

Oborne: “I can even disclose that, before the last election, Tony Blair rang Gordon Brown to try to persuade the Labour Prime Minister to stop the Labour MP Tom Watson raising the issue of phone hacking.”

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Click to Buy Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’

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Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here

Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

__________
The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
__________
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.

How Twitter is SAVING not destroying the mainstream press

June 12, 2011

Comment at end

Or –

13th June 2011

Is Twitter Killing Journalism?

In 140 characters or less -

NO, NO, NO! Quite the opposite –  #journalism, @johnrentoul

FLY AWAY PETER – FLY AWAY PAUL

If you’re a politics watcher there is an end-times story to which you may subscribe – that social media is killing the mainstream press and journalism as a profession. After all, goes the thinking, we are all journalists now.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  My draft box – in which sit umpteen unfinished tales of political derring-do and other “opinion”, some even based on fact –  is testament to that. As  a Tweeter my attention, my time, if not in a sinister way my mind has been taken over by the Great Twit Tweet in the Ether.  I am no longer a sort of writer-cum-blogger, but have been transmogrified into something far more useless useful and above all something much more transient, if  a little better informed; some of the time. And to add to my growing impotence as a blogger on a narrative around Tony Blair (the original and ongoing point of this blog) my blog post output has fallen in inverse proportion to my tweeting. That may be partly because I do go on a bit when blogging. Or it may be because I DO have another  life. Perhaps David Cameron had it right.

A BRAKE ON HOME JOURNALISM – DEFTLY DOES IT

For the political home-based anorak Twitter and Facebook are actually brakes on home-journalism.  Reading Tweet links is the killer.  Apart from slowing down one’s computer as multiple windows open (to be used later!) there is the simple fact that no-one, not even the ubiquitous and unstoppable Tony Blair, has yet managed to work out how to pack more than 24 hours into a day. Thus the unpaid home journalist runs out of time to do much more than link to those paid for their offerings.

If my computer worked as quickly as my brain – oh no it doesn’t ! – I could develop quite a few news items I find through Twitter. For instance:

The appeasers of Ratko Mladic – Surely in the light of Mladic’s trial at The Hague Douglas Hurd and General Rose, both of whom failed to stop the genocide in Srebrenica and both of whom criticised Tony Blair over his intervention in Iraq even as Cameron intervenes in Libya deserve their tails tweaking? Especially today as Cameron intervenes in Libya as Blair did in Kosovo and yet he seems unwilling to follow through on Syria. A deft kick up the backside? For Hurd, Rose and perhaps even Cameron? Unfortunately I haven’t time for “deft”, nor does deft do hypocrisy justice.

But Twitter does do deft – and it does it well, in a headliney, sound-bitey sort of limited way.

There are several leading journalist who DO do deft, twitter-like and mainstream. Among the leading lights is John Rentoul (recent post here pulls no punches on plots).  If a journalist doesn’t use Twitter he/she is losing out. But no journalist, as far as I know, ONLY does Twitter.  Rentoul, like the rest of the pros, uses his Twitter account to point to his own writings and to those of others – some with whom he agrees, some disagrees. In that way journalists add to their list of followers and readers of their main (paid) source of income. No-one pays anyone for tweeting their own material or links.

Those of us online who do not earn a living through journalism but have a worrying addiction to politics have no wish to re-invent the wheel.  So we “retweet” or “mention” such as John Rentoul, or the Spectator‘s Fraser Nelson.

A BLOOD SPORT

And of course Twitter gives journalists and politicos a chance to have a go at one another in public, such as here –  twitter@campbellclaret –  in Twitterbanter challenging Piers Morgan on Jonathan Rees and phone hacking.

If two journalists are company three quickly becomes a crowd at a spectator sport -

JohnRentoulJohn Rentoul
Piers Morgan tries to change the subject. Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) won’t let him http://bit.ly/kt0Azm

After a while, usually about two minutes, they all join in, wallowing in the blood sport. Talking about blood sports I’m not going to mention the brothers Miliband. Much. Especially when other Tweeters have already done it so well.

This by Harry Cole at the Commentator opines that the Miliband tendency is destroying the Labour party. Of course we mustn’t be naive about this. Many bloggers, especially but not only those who write as well as Mr Cole, have a political axe to grind and usually political affiliations. In this case Mr Cole is the political editor of the Guido Fawkes blog, so that might indicate something.

Still, Harry Cole seems to be consistent in his tweets in his regard for Tony Blair, a perspective measure that Twitter does  provide over time spent reading tweets.  His is a blood-soaked post, but worth a read if only to remind us of the damage caused by “fratricidal” conflict.

Excerpt

“... the Telegraph did what they do best – a slow, painful and deep political assassination. Everyone knew Miliband, and his current Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, conspired for years to oust Tony Blair, while loyal yes-men to Gordon Brown.

Finally here was a still warm cache of written documents that showed just how vicious and calculating the two men, who are now at the top of the Labour Party, were when they were on their way up. Miliband, to be fair, played a much tamer role than the bullying and thuggish bruiser Ed Balls. But the blood of their most electorally successful leader ever is on both their hands.

How can Miliband and Balls call for loyalty, with a straight face, when evidence has emerged that while Blair and his team were dealing with the fall-out from the 2005 London bombings, in the office next door Brown and the two Eds were in a meeting to discuss knifing the PM?”

So, although I could write several dozen posts instead of reading others’ ideas of newsworthiness, I have the humility to concede that not all of my thoughts are solely my own. They are yours, as well as mine.  But mainly – let’s be blunt about it – yours.

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Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here

Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

__________
The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
__________
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.

Obama/Cameron -“the essentially special relationship”. WHY the silly semantics?

May 31, 2011

Comment at end

Or –

31st May 2011

Cameron & Obama: “Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship – for us and for the world.”

Pic below. Cameron?- This one’s essentially for me, Barack, even if it’s on your side of the table

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron play table tennis at Globe Academy in London May 24, 2011. Obama received a royal 41-gun salute at Buckingham Palace Tuesday to begin a two-day state visit aimed at ensuring the United States and Britain keep the "special" in their relationship. REUTERS/Paul Hackett

At the Foreign & Commonwealth Office site you’ll find the special sorry, “essential” relationship piece co-authored by David Cameron & Barack Obama.

So after decades of it being “special” our relationship is now deemed “essential”. Or at least by Mr Cameron. Mr Obama, and HM The Queen still seem content with “special”.

I can’t decide whether “essential” is an upgrade on “special”, but I fear it is a downgrade. Is our relationship of the essence or is it only essential in that one’s marriage may become “essential” when it used to be “special”?

It’s all semantic fun and games. It is mainly to appease those who wrongly think the special relationship that Blair & Bush nurtured and developed was bad for Britain and placed we Brits as underdogs – poodles –  when really we should have been far, FAR heftier creatures than that – bulldogs, say.

ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS

David Cameron and the President of the USA, reticent as they might have been at the start, have now come onto the same ground as Blair & Bush; more or less. But they’re not telling you.

Just don’t check out what Israel thinks of Obama or that Netanyahu tells Obama that Israel is what is right about the Middle East. And pay no attention at all to what the Jewish National Fund thinks of Cameron.

But realpolitik has its own momentum.

I don’t for one moment believe that Cameron is insane enough to fundamentally wish to change Britain’s longstanding support for Israel. But I do think he is daft enough to want to follow the vote-winning herd mentality in Britain – Palestinians good & right/Israelis bad & wrong.  Leadership from behind. And anyway, he has to do something to keep the wobbly Lib Dems on board.

Rather than just admit – “Hey, you know, George & Tony were onto something serious about our big pals act” –  these two leaders feel the western press-pressed need to pretend it is actually more worthwhile doing than G & T used to say it was. History is ready for David & Barack, it is thought by some, and the voters will swallow the new emphasis. Or thus goes the thinking. Until, thinks David and Barack, we can change their minds back to the correct way to state and do things. You know, the honest way. Like Blair & Bush did.

Unless they are liberally conning us while events unfold and they can ride in behind the dynamics and change course, why would Obama and Cameron struggle so valiantly to try to distance our two countries – UK & USA – from their predecessors? Predecessors who said, amongst other things:

BLAIR:

“When Europe and America stand together the world is a better and more prosperous place.”

“In retrospect, the millennium marked a moment in time, but it was the events of 11th September, that marked a turning point in history. It was a tragedy, an act of evil. From this nation goes our deepest sympathy and prayers for the victims and our profound solidarity with the American people. We were with you at the first – we will stay with you to the last.”

“I just want to say this. I want to say it gently but I want to say it firmly: There is a tendency for the world to say to America, “the big problems of the world are yours, you go and sort them out,” and then to worry when America wants to sort them out.”

“We, therefore, here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy, and we, like them, will not rest until this evil is driven from our world.”

BUSH (excuse me for quoting GW Bush at such length. But even I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised):

“The United States has no truer friend than Great Britain.”

(on British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Washington, D.C., May 17, 2007) “My relationship with this good man is where I`ve been focused, and that`s where my concentration is. And I don`t regret any other aspect of it. And so I–we filled a lot of space together.”

“For too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability. Oppression became common, but stability never arrived. We must take a different approach. We must help the reformers of the Middle East as they work for freedom, and strive to build a community of peaceful, democratic nations.”

“My job is to lead.”

“America will never run… And we will always be grateful that liberty has found such brave defenders.”

“Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America`s gift to the world; it is God`s gift to humanity.”

“If America shows weakness and uncertainty, the world will drift toward tragedy. That will not happen on my watch.”

“We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. And the job is this: We`ll help the Iraqis develop a democracy.”

“America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens.”

“I believe that freedom is the deepest need of every human soul.”

“We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace. We know that oppressive governments support terror, while free governments fight the terrorists in their midst. We know that free peoples embrace progress and life, instead of becoming the recruits for murderous ideologies.”

“If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.”

“American foreign policy must be more than the management of crisis. It must have a great and guiding goal: to turn this time of American influence into generations of democratic peace.”

“I believe that freedom is the deepest need of every human soul.”

“The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way.”

“In the defense of our nation, a president must be a clear-eyed realist. There are limits to the smiles and scowls of diplomacy. Armies and missiles are not stopped by stiff notes of condemnation. They are held in check by strength and purpose and the promise of swift punishment.”

(During a televised address on the night of September 11, 2001) We will prevail.

“We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.”

“The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings.”

“The presidency is more than an honor, it is more than an office, it is a charge to keep and I will give it my all.”

“Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.”

We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.

“I hope I stand for anti-bigotry, anti-Semitism, anti-racism. This is what drives me.”

“I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging the struggle for freedom and security for the American people.”

“The advance of liberty is the path to both a safer and better world.”

“The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war.”

More George W Bush quotes here – most not even funny! Though there are some which will make you giggle. But plenty more, perhaps unexpectedly, as inspiring as anything Obama has ever said.

RELATED

1. Nile Gardiner: Obama’s Top Ten Insults Against Britain, 2011 Edition

2. White House: President Obama Addresses British Parliament

3. Sky News report:

To conclude, the president proposed a toast to the Queen, but there appeared to be a mistake as the band played the opening bars to God Save the Queen before he had finished.

“To Her Majesty the Queen,” Obama began, but the orchestra – thinking the president had concluded – started playing the British anthem.

Obama continued with his toast, speaking over the music in citing the special relationship between the British and American people and quoting William Shakespeare’s tribute “to this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England” from Richard II.

“To the queen,” Obama concluded as the music played on.

When the music ended, Obama repeated, “to the queen,” and the audience, clearly confused by the turn of events, delayed a few seconds before applauding.

Back to top

Click to Buy Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’

_______________

Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here

Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

__________
The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
__________
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.

Her Ingracious Tory Majesty The Queen, on her 1st visit to Ireland, thanks Tony Blair

May 17, 2011

Comment at end

Or –

17th May 2011

HAS THE QUEEN THANKED BLAIR?

No, not quite. The Queen has NOT actually thanked Tony Blair, as far as I know.  She is supposed to be apolitical; supposed to be.

On her historical visit to Ireland tomorrow, a visit not one of her predecessors in a century has been able to make due to over two centuries of unrest and conflict in Ireland & Northern Ireland, the best we can hope for is that in a casual chat with someone she meets in Ireland she may allow a nod to Blair – the man who history will show brought peace to that blighted isle after decades, indeed centuries of turmoil which culminated in the recent, bloody Troubles. The Troubles ended after the Good Friday Agreement signed by Tony Blair in April 1998, less than a year after Tony Blair’s 1997 election landslide in Britain.

Blair:  “A day like today is not a day for soundbites, really. But I feel the hand of history upon our shoulders. I really do.”
Shortly before the Good Friday agreement, April 1998. [More Blair quotes here]

Of all Blair’s achievements in office, some controversial, the settlement in Northern Ireland is almost universally and inarguably – certainly now, in his lifetime – seen as his greatest success. In years to come another decision of Blair’s, Iraq, may be seen as even more of an historically significant achievement.

Perhaps it is too much to expect a mention of Tony Blair’s achievements from the monarchy. They do their politicking negatively, quietly.  But Blair’s work in Northern Ireland/Ireland does not seem to have registered with the Glorious BBC either.

BOMB ALERT IN LONDON FROM IRISH DISSIDENTS

For the first time in TEN years British authorities received, yesterday, an anonymous phone call threatening a bomb in London. It contained recognised Irish dissidents’ code, and the police and government took it seriously. This was clearly linked to the Queen’s impending visit to Ireland.

SEND HER VICTORIOUS

The visit of the Queen to Ireland is the first visit she has ever made to Ireland. In fact it is the first by ANY British monarch in 100 long years. The last monarch to visit was the Queen’s grandfather George V in 1911. And at that time Ireland was still under British rule and would remain so for another 11 years.

King George V and Queen Mary, July 1911, last visit by a British monarch to Ireland. They were accompanied by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) and Mary, the Princess Royal.

More pictures here at RTE Ireland News

In the reign of our present Queen, approaching 60 years (since Feb 1952, which was more than a year before Tony Blair was born) Queen Elizabeth II (Wikipedia) has visited over 130 countries. But NEVER our nearest neighbour, Ireland. A land with whom we even share a land border –  Northern Ireland.

"Thank you, Mr Blair. If it wasn't for your efforts we still would not have peace in Northern Ireland and Ireland"

WHY NOW?

She is only able to visit Ireland now due to the determined and unstinting efforts over ten years (1997-2007) of one man. The same man she “forgot” to invite or to remind others to invite to her grandson’s wedding -

TONY BLAIR

I’ll say that again for the short of memory and hard of understanding -

TONY BLAIR

From having been furious about the lost-in-the-post wedding invitation, to feeling miffed that the present PM is tagging along with Her Majesty for the ride and reflected glory, my anger was compounded by the BBC’s report on this last night.

Not once in Alan Little’s BBC report was the name of our high-achieving former Prime Minister mentioned by the journalist. It was as though Tony Blair had never existed. In fact it got me wondering if Tony Blair had been a figment of my imagination!

There was another prime minister who was mentioned in the newscast, though. So clearly the BBC are not against mentioning all former prime ministers.  Oh, no. Just as the monarchy are not against inviting all former prime ministers to a small family occasion, broadcast to millions worldwide.

John Major, former Tory PM, who is remembered for an affair with a minister and this cartoon by Steve Bell

John Major.

Yes, John Major actually spoke on the BBC TV news on this momentous and historical visit.

The “grey man” who left us little than the memory of his affair with Edwina Curry, a cartoon of his underpants over his trousers and his landslide defeat at Blair’s hands  in 1997 – the worst ever defeat for the Conservatives since 1906.

John Major had an affair with Edwina Curry, another Conservative MP. Both were married at the time.

Yes, Major did do work on the Northern Ireland issues – far more than any of Thatcher or any in her government. But he was not the man who brought together arch enemies Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, after the settlement known as The Chuckle Brothers. That was due to Blair’s work. Not Major’s. Nor the Queen’s.

He was not the man who spend 40% of his time in one year working on the issue, as Blair did on first coming to office.

So – furious? You bet I am.

You won’t persuade me that the BBC is not biased against Tony Blair. Or that the Monarchy is anything other than the Palace’s Conservative Garden Party.

But on the Beeb’s news there was a few moments’ input from a man who DOES know -

BERTIE AHERN

One man who DOES now that Blair deserves a mention – far more than a mention – he deserves a medal was Bertie Ahern.  He was interviewed by Little and at his own volition he mentioned the work he and Tony Blair had done to bring decades of conflict to an end. That mention went unremarked by Little, and there was not one supportive follow-up word of recognition from the BBC journalists either reporting or linking this clip.

Disgraceful.

Independent:  11th May, 2007 as Blair announced his resignation date. (1997-2007 – The Legacy of Tony Blair, including his speech to his constituency party, Sedgefield)

Excerpt from Independent article:

The Labour MP Frank Field said he was “saddened” by Mr Blair’s resignation. He told GMTV’s Sunday programme: “We’re divorcing the person who’s been most successful in winning us elections and doing it in almost a clinical fashion.” He added: “My guess is as we never, ever, ever produced anybody like him to win elections, in 18 months time we may be looking back to this week and thinking, ‘Wow! How extraordinary that we shoe-horned him out in this fashion!'”

How extraordinary indeed.  And how disgraceful that we have a press and a monarchy both still bent on his destruction.

They won’t destroy him no matter how hard they try.

None of them, your inGraciousMajesty.

Back to top

Click to Buy Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’

_______________

Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here

Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

__________
The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
__________
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.

Let us see the body! (Nick Clegg’s)

May 6, 2011

Comment at end

Or –

6th May, 2011

We can take “gruesome”.

Lovely sense of humour here by Patrick Kielty

Patrick Kielty:

Election Latest – David Cameron still refusing to release a picture of Nick Clegg to prove that he’s dead.
__________
RELATED

Back to top

Click to Buy Tony Blair’s ‘A Journey’

_______________

Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here

Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

__________
The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
__________
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.