In praise of Alan Stevens – in praise of ……Tony Blair

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Comment at end

Or –

8th September 2011

Alan Stevens, Past President, Global Speakers Federation, 2010-2011 of Communication, PR and Reputation Management has a very readable and – wait for it cos it’s unusual on this particular topic – FACTUAL article in praise of  Tony Blair

Wish I could say the same about his commenters. Plus ca change, as Mr Stevens himself says in response to one them.

In praise of ……Tony Blair

by on 7-Sep-11 8:32am

I’ve been debating the merits of politicians in various places recently, both online and on the radio. Unsurprisingly, Tony Blair stirred up some strong feelings, because of the Iraq war. I suspect it’s a lot to do with recent memories rather than competence. We’ve had some equally divisive occupants of number 10, such as Margaret Thatcher and Jim Callaghan.

Most people would rate Clement Atlee as the best Prime Minister of the last century. Personally, I’d rate Tony Blair alongside Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill in second place. However, when I expressed that view on air recently, I was shouted down by both studio guests and phone-in listeners. So I thought I’d look at the evidence.

Here are a few things Tony Blair’s administration achieved:

1) An end to decades of strife in Northern Ireland, and a return to devolved government

2) A return of London government

3) Low interest and mortgage rates

4) National minimum wage made law

5) Free nursery places for every 3 and 4-year old

6) Devolved powers to Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly

7) A doubling of funding per pupil in schools

8) Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission

9) Crime rates reduced by a third.

10) Introduced statutory paternity leave

I could go on. I’m not a Blair supporter, but that’s an impressive list.

Clearly, the stain on his record is the Iraq war, and claims that he lied to convince parliament to support the invasion. The report from the Chilcott enquiry will throw more light on that accusation. Having met Tony Blair a few times, and knowing Alastair Campbell quite well, my judgment is that appropriate decisions were made based on the evidence available at the time. I’ve seen no evidence that Tony Blair deliberately told an untruth. Of course, other assessments differ.

How do you think history will judge Tony Blair?

Best wishes

Alan

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Well, Alan, since you ask so nicely, I think history will judge Tony Blair very differently from the way the present zeitgeist does.  Even on the one issue which seems to have turned the online literati against him – Iraq.

But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? I am a Blair supporter.

Good article, anyway, though there are several dozen more items that could be added to that impressive list, if you insisted.

What? You insist? Oh, all right then. I could never say no to you, could I?

  • Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 1960s.
  • Low mortgage rates.
  • Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
  • Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
  • Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
  • Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.
  • Employment at its highest level ever.
  • Written off up to 100 per cent of debt owed by poorest countries.
  • 85,000 more nurses.
  • 32,000 more doctors.
  • Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
  • NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.
  • Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.
  • Record number of students in higher education.
  • Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.
  • Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Children’s Centres.
  • £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.
  • On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.
  • All full-time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.
  • A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.
  • 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.
  • Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.
  • Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.
  • Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.
  • Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997.
  • Banned fox-hunting.
  • Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.
  • Free TV licences for over-75s.
  • Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.
  • Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.
  • Free off-peak local bus travel for over-60s.
  • New Deal – helped over 1.8 million people into work.
  • Over 3 million child trust funds have been started.
  • Free eye test for over 60s.
  • More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.
  • Free entry to national museums and galleries.
  • Overseas aid budget more than doubled.
  • Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.
  • Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.
  • Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.
  • Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school.

Anything I’ve missed? Oh yes, saving Muslims in Kosovo from ethnic cleansing and Sierra Leonians from rebel limb-choppers. But you don’t want to know about any of that nasty foreign stuff, do you?

But you DO want to know about the Freedom of Information Act , which Mr Blair now thinks in hindsight was an insane thing to dump upon the innocent press-reading public.  Perhaps he “now knows” as they say on other matters, that FOI is misused & abused regularly by journalists in order to do down the elected government of whichever flavour.

Oh, and hang on before you rush off to do something less annoying – there’s winning the Olympic Games for Britain 2012, first time in Britain since 1948. Now who exactly secured that prize for Britain? Let me think.  Oh yes, I remember … this modest man.  Do remember that when Tony Blair was speaking in the video he was at the G8 in Gleneagles, the day before the bombing of London by terrorists – 7/7/2005.

But then you don’t want to know about all that terrorist stuff, do you?

In case I’ve missed anything, which I probably have, see Top 50 Achievements of Tony Blair’s Government 1997 -2007.

What happened between 1997 and May 201o? You might well ask.  They were described by someone who should know as the “Plus Three”. Can’t imagine why.

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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)
__________
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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