Was Tony Blair “good or bad”?

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All blog posts 2012 + Original posts list: from 2006 to 2012

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9th May 2012

Tony Blair elected PM 15 years ago: was he good or bad?

This was a very unscientific BBC “poll” (see here) but worth watching. In the video of just over two minutes passers-by were asked to place a ball in good/bad containers. Result? 50/50 – more or less.

Now, does that surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me. Not one bit.

What is noteworthy is that at least two of the three people who said he was “bad” disapproved for the wrong reasons. Wrong because they are reasons outwith the actual facts (not just because I think they were wrong.)

The first two people who spoke said they thought Tony Blair was good, “because he keeps to his policies and does it well … very firm in what he says and no one can change his opinions.” Though their companion shook her head disapprovingly.

The next to comment, a woman, said, “he started off as a very truthful man and somehow became corrupted”. [OK, that is her opinion. Though I can’t imagine where she got it from!]

Next, a man said, “he ran away from the country, didn’t want to be an MP any more, did he?” [Factually incorrect. He was forced out by Gordon Brown, Tom Watson, Chris Bryant and the rest of the treacherous curry plotters.]

A woman and her daughter decided to put one ball in good and one in bad.

At 1:19 a man, identified by tweeps as Sir Peter Bottomley (Tory MP) said “like all the rest of us a bit good, a bit bad.”

Two men in yellow work jackets both said – “fantastic” (but I don’t think they stopped to put balls in the  box.)

A young woman at 1:22 said, “I personally think that he should stand accountable for what he made our country do without our consent. Bad”. [Factually incorrect. He asked for a vote in Parliament, though he did NOT need to, and won it. That’s “our consent”, young lady.]

That wrong-headed but widely believed comment was balanced by the next speaker, a man at 1:32 who said – “Afghanistan … what he should have done.” Asked by Susana Mendonça – “what about Iraq?” he replied,  “Iraq? Yeah” The BBC reporter then tried again on that particular BBC hang-up – “You think he was right to go to Iraq?” “Yeah”, he replied, “I do, yeah.”

At 1:42, Sir Peter Bottomley put in another appearance and was asked as he picked up two balls – “Hedging  your bets?” He replied,  “No, no it’s just being fair”

The broadcasting journalist Susana Mendonça sums up with, “It’s pretty much even stevens although the bad seems to be just about winning. Clearly the man who won three elections in a row and divided the nation back then is still dividing the nation now.”

Yes, controversial and thus dividing. But at around 50% that is a far better score than many would have us believe he could achieve today.

Come on back, Tony. The country awaits.

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Watch BBC video here

Tony Blair walked into Downing Street 15 years ago this week and went on to become the most successful prime minister in Labour history.

But he was a controversial figure and he still divides opinion. Susana Mendonça tested the view on the streets of Westminster with the Daily Politics mood box to ask: Tony Blair – good or bad?

Vote 2012 index

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