Comment at end
30th March 2010
UPDATE: Hysterical nonsense from someone called Brown, described as a ‘specialist in mental health’ issues, (so not THAT Brown or his brother Andrew, btw.) I’ve listened to all three videos of Blair and only in the first few seconds of the first one did I notice anything vaguely American about Blair’s accent- “wunnerful”. His second “wonderful”, a few seconds later, was back to English English. Clearly this is the desperation of the anti-Blairs – ploughing the anti-America furrow, even at The Telegraph.
A FUTURE BLAIR FOR ALL
Tony Blair’s speech at Sedgefield can be seen here – in three videos (scroll down to watch all three.)
Tony Blair, the Comeback. Part one (10m 10s)
After the expected and oh-so-missed exchanges of a few personal memories and giggles with his audience, Mr Blair launched into his speech, with further reminders as to WHY he is still missed. Oh yes he is! It isn’t his tan, still boyish looks or ease of communication. It’s the rare ability to put his finger on ALL the issues – the pluses of his own party and most importantly the minuses of the opposition. One of the reasons so many people are undecided is that we know David Cameron hasn’t “sealed the deal” but we don’t quite know why. Mr Blair gives us some clues here, even without mentioning Cameron by name.
The BIG clue, in my humble opinion? It’s the vision thing.
“When I was Prime Minister I was known as an optimist. I still am. I’m optimistic about Britain, its future and the opportunities the world holds for us. Provided we take the right decisions, imbued with the right attitude of mind.
Strange as it may seem, the financial crisis does not diminish this optimism. The way we are coming through the crisis instead reinforces it. We are not out of the woods yet; but we are on the path out.
And this did not happen by chance; it happened by choice. Think back 18 months, think back to the collapse of September 2008, and where the world was then. It was poised on the brink of catastrophe. The prediction indeed of many – economists, commentators, even at least in private, leaders, was that we were doomed to repeat the collapse of the 1930s. The spectre of prolonged recession stalked the corridors of political and economic power.
Britain, like all other major nations, was hit hard by the crisis. In a deluge such as this, no one escapes. But now, March 2010, Britain has just had a Budget signalling a return to growth, a slow, difficult recovery, but a recovery nonetheless.
What we can say is compared to the fear of what might have been, we have emerged better than virtually any predicted. Hard decisions lie ahead undoubtedly. But though the sea is still rough, the storm has subsided.
And this is for a simple reason, both in respect of Britain and of the world. The right decisions at the outset of the crisis were taken. Governments were mobilised, the financial sector put on emergency support, demand stimulated and most of all, there was an immediate recognition that decisive action was necessary and urgent. At the moment of peril the world acted. Britain acted. And that decision to act, required experience, judgement and boldness. It required leadership. And Gordon Brown supplied it.
Since then, Gordon and Alistair Darling have been striving to keep the country moving, capable of meeting not just future challenges, but seizing future opportunities.
And the issue for the future is very clear: how does Britain emerge from the financial crisis; how do we compete in the new markets; how do we re-energise our dynamism, enterprise, our sense of possibility?
And this is not just about policy, but about mindset. It’s about who “gets” the future? That’s always the political question. Who understands the way the world is changing and can be comfortable in it? Who sees the excitement where others simply see the fear?
The New Industries, New Jobs paper from Peter Mandelson, for me, correctly identifies both challenge and opportunity. It is the right judicious mix of Government and market, reserving for the first the role only it can play, and giving the second the help it needs to prosper. It represents a vision of how Britain can do well and how individuals and families can do better. It’s a platform for the hope of prosperity to come.
So now our country has to debate the direction for our future. And it’s a big thing for Labour to win a 4th term. Remember prior to 1997 Labour had never won two successive full terms. Now we have won three. So it’s a big moment for the Party; but of course, most of all, it is a momentous decision for the country.
The tough thing about being in government, especially as time marches on, is that the disappointments accumulate, the public becomes less inclined to give the benefit of the doubt, the call for a time to change becomes easier to make, the prospect of change becomes more attractive. But as I always used to say when some in our ranks urged upon me a mantra of “time for a change” in 1997, it’s actually the most vacuous slogan in politics.
“Time for a Change” begs the question: change to what exactly? And the reason an election that seemed certain to some in its outcome, is now in sharp contention, lies precisely in that question.
As the issue has ceased to be “what makes me angry about the government”, and instead has focused instead on “well, if I get change, what change exactly am I getting”, so the race has narrowed. Because that is not a question readily or coherently answered; and in so far as it can be answered, gives as much cause for anxiety as for reassurance.
On some issues like racial equality the Conservatives have left behind the prejudices of the past. I welcome that.
But when it comes to the big policy issues, there is a puzzle, that has turned into a problem that has now become a long hard pause for thought: Where are they centred?
Is there a core? Think of all the phrases you associate with their leadership and the phrase “you know where you are with them” is about the last description you would think of. They seem like they haven’t made up their mind about where they stand; and so the British public finds it hard to make up its mind about where it stands. In uncertain times, there is a lot to be said for certain leadership.
What happens after a long period of one party in Government, is this: the flipside of change being attractive …
[more in next videos]
Tony Blair, the Comeback. Part Two (9:56)
On the Tories:
“What is the change that I’m getting at?
We had worked out a set of positions … that was clear and mutually coherent … a philosophical concept woven across the whole fabric of the case we were putting to the people.
The (Tories’) policy-makers are confused, not just the policy but the one set of policies represent not what they believe in but what they have to say to win … truly regressive steps (on Europe). They have opposed the stronger anti-terrorism measures … and the database. It’s an absolutely sensible use of modern technology, yet the Tories oppose it.”
Referring to the Conservative NHS ‘policy’ pointing that it is a policy of “preserving the status quo of the NHS”, he compared it with Oiver Letwin’s Wall Street Journal article yesterday where he talked of bringing transformation of the public services. He called this “a policy of radical transformation of the status quo.”
“Plainly”, he says, “diametrically opposite” (to Cameron’s ‘policy’ of retaining the status quo.)
“Why”, he asked, “the confusion? “
“The (Conservative) policy-makers are confused not just the policy. But the less benign one is that one set of policies represents what they believe in, the other what they think they have to say to win. That’s not a confusion actually, that’s a strategy and the British people deserve to have that strategy exposed before the general election.”
Tony Blair, the Comeback. Part Three (4:15)
He reminded listeners of changes promised and “delivered by a Labour government…and then the changes that would never have happened under the Tories.”
“When Gordon sought to bring the world together an act in the financial crisis, you know what it came naturally together because he understands it … which leads me back to the central point of the election – Who gets the future? And this is not a matter of age or personality. It’s a matter of comprehension. This is a very, very important moment in which to exercise understanding of the world we live in.”
“Which leads me back to the central point of the election: who “gets” the future? This is not a matter of age or personality. It is a matter of comprehension. This is a very, very important moment in which to exercise understanding. Since leaving office, and spending much time abroad, I can tell you one thing above all else. The characteristics of today’s world are: it is interdependent; it is changing; and power is moving East. And all of this is happening fast, faster than we can easily imagine. Britain’s challenge is not a 20th Century one and its politics cannot afford 20th Century political attitudes. The country has to go forward with energy, drive, determination and above all understanding. Closed minds close off the future. That would mean the challenge is failed, but it would also mean the opportunity is squandered.
This country faces big challenges in the futures. I want this party to be the one able to meet those challenges. This country needs strong leadership. I want our leadership to be the one that gives it.
There is still vast potential and promise in our nation. I want our government to be the one that develops it.
I want a future fair for all. I believe a 4th term Labour Government can deliver it.”
I know I’m biased, but since Tony Blair left office no-one in Labour has seemed intellectually capable of pointing out most of this. Reminding us of the good things, and raising alarm bells on the opposition’s proposed “changes”.
It’s not enough just to say you’re the “heir to Blair.”
Here’s the Time Trumpet ‘Changes’ bit of fun and games, just as a reminder –
Blair and Cameron – changes !! (2:07)
And my own video –
Tony Blair – Everlasting Words Part 1 (3:42)
Yes, I still blame Gordon Brown and cohorts for removing Blair. And it is testament to Blair than he spoke so highly of Brown at Trimdon today. As we know there is more to politics than personal rancour, however much such feelings might be understood. There is also THE PROJECT. Both Brown and Blair are both signed-up to this, whoever is leading the party right now. Failure to win the next election would open the floodgates to all manner of back-to-the-futurists to dive in and annihilate their party and “project” from both inside and out.
Just found this video below from the BBC Culture Show. Now don’t say I lack a sense of humour. It’s artistically brilliant, though factually completely inaccurate, of course.
Culture Show – Tony Blair Farewell Speech – BBC Two (4:54)
“History will be my judge. History and the tabloid press […] So now you may begin to mourn for my premiership. So, as I leave you now let us join together in a moment’s silence to think about what I, Tony Blair, have done to this country… sorry, FOR this country. Sorry. Goodbye, till the next time.”
(I always wondered what a petard looked like.)
Goodbye, till the next time.
Read the full transcript of the speech at the Labour Party website – Tony Blair speaks to Trimdon Labour Club
Tags: 30th March 2010 videos speech, a future blair for all, Cameron & Blair, Ch..ch..ch..ch..ch..ch..ch..changes, future fair for all, Gordon Brown, Sedgefield, Time Trumpet Changes, Tony Blair, Tony Blair speaks to Trimdon Labour Club, Trimdon, videos, youtube