On Tony Blair – Dan Hodges & Tom Newton-Dunn

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15th June 2011

On this particularly busy day I have no time to wait bated breath-like for my good friend John  Rentoul to tell me what he disagrees with Tony Blair about. So here are a couple of things that have caught my eye this morning:

1. A confession from Dan Hodges at Labour Uncut that immediately after the 2005 election there was a bloody coup cooking to undo Tony Blair. What’s more the so-and-sos revelled in anticipation of diving deep in the seeping blood of their three-times winner. They anticipated some airy-fairy wondrous future led by the chief knife-carrier, a certain Gordon Brown, supported by half the party including a couple of empty Ed-heads. It’s an illuminating picture of losers. Locked in loos talking conspiratorially into mobiles and getting self-confirming rounds of applause from other little pee-ers they murmured conspiratorially, as if the very life of their party depended on it.  It certainly did, though not in the way they expected. Theirs was a noble cause, was it not? “Let’s get the bastard. He just won us another election”.

2. In this exclusive interview of Tony Blair by Sun writer Tom Newton-Dunn Mr Blair gives both Ed Miliband and David Cameron the respect he clearly feels was often missing from others for his own position, if not as leader of the opposition, as prime minister. He says of the of the current PM – “I have an innate respect and sense of solidarity for anyone who takes the job on. It is a huge responsibility and it is a responsibility that never leaves you for a single moment of any day or night.”

He also believes Labour could have won in 2010 if it had stuck to his agenda and not moved to the Left. Notably he does not argue that as things stand Labour is likely to win the next election. Quite the contrary.

[Aside: Perhaps the contention that Labour could have won in 2010 as New Labour is what Rentoul disagrees with. If so, I am with John Rentoul. Labour could have won in 2010, but only under Tony Blair’s leadership.]

More excerpts from The Sun:

“Gordon had enormous strengths but in the end I am afraid there was a profound disagreement on policy.” Red Ed, a long-term Brown fan, appeared to carry that on by declaring the day after snatching the party leadership from his Blairite older brother David that the New Labour era was “over”.

But Mr Blair shot back: “The concept can’t possibly be over because the concept isn’t time related.

“It is about the Labour party constantly being at the cutting edge, being a modernising party – always being full of creative ideas and isn’t pinned in its ideological past. That is always the choice for the Labour party. It is the choice for progressive parties.”

“Ed Miliband has sensibly given himself the space to develop policy. The question is now what he puts into that space.”

Asked whether he could win the next election, Mr Blair said: “I am happy to give him my full support. I always will do for the leader of the Labour party, and I think he should be given a chance to set out his agenda. But in my view Labour will win if it fights from the centre.”

Turning to the Coalition, he said plans for the NHS and schools – bitterly opposed by the current Labour leadership – were in fact continuations of his own policies.

Referring directly to his bitter feud with Gordon Brown, who eventually succeeded him, Mr Blair added: “New Labour was the concept of a modern Labour party in the middle ground with a set of attitudes orientated towards the future – and I believe if we had carried on doing that we would have won the last Election.

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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’.

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