Blair’s Final Speech to Conference (2006). Simply The Best.
Comment at end
Why, oh Why, oh Why are We Dullards Letting Him Go?
PRESS HAIL THE COMMUNICATOR KING’S SPEECH – TONY BLAIR’S FINAL SPEECH TO CONFERENCE, 2006
September 27, 2006 10:55am
BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair’s last speech as Labour leader at the party’s annual conference was given a resounding thumbs-up in the British press on Wednesday, with one calling it his best ever.
The Guardian, a left-of-centre daily and a traditional Labour backer, gushed in its editorial page:
“Shining the bright beam of his oratory and intellect across Labour’s decade in power, Tony Blair yesterday astounded his party with a speech that impressively illuminated New Labour’s achievements while leaving its weaknesses and failures in the shadows.
In a speech that “placed him in history”, Blair had, the paper said: “For a moment … raised politics above the merely temporal.”
“He conversed with his party in a way that no other British politician can, both thrilling it and challenging it as he loves to do.”
Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph, a right-of-centre paper, highlighted the differences between’s Blair’s speech and that of Chancellor of the Exchequer and likely successor Gordon Brown the previous day.
“Tony Blair’s last conference speech as party leader was everything that Gordon Brown’s the day before had not been: sharp in its political critique, humanly engaging, witty without being frivolous, and sufficiently original in its insights to be genuinely interesting,” the paper’s editorial began.
It concluded: “Mr Blair ended by reminding his party … that he had won three elections. The lesson was clear: he was a proven winner and would be a damnably hard act to follow.”
The Times, another right-of-centre daily, echoed some of the Telegraph‘s sentiments, noting that Blair “could have delivered an address that was laced with sugar and sentimentality or indulged in a crowd-pleasing populism devoid of difficult issues.”
“Instead, we witnessed the artistry of a political master whose powers are undiminished.”
“His exit has set a new and very high standard for his successor.”
The Sun tabloid, Britain’s best-selling daily, chimed in, claiming that Blair’s speech “utterly eclipsed the chancellor’s own low-key speech the previous day”, calling it “the speech of his life”.
“While Mr Brown was perfectly competent, the PM was the maestro,” the paper’s editorial read.
It asked whether Labour had “gone stark staring mad?”
“It is hard to reach any other conclusion after seeing the party stand and cheer the most successful leader they’ve ever had — the man they’ve forced out of office,” referring to a rebellion in the party earlier this month which drove Blair to publicly vowed he would resign within a year.
The Independent, a left-of-centre daily, dubbed Blair’s speech a “memorable tour de force” in which: “Mr Blair showed again that he is the best speaker of his generation.”
While the newspaper echoed many of the reservations voiced by other papers — questioning Blair’s defence of his decision to support the US-led invasion of Iraq and his willingness to stand by the United States in foreign affairs in particular — “the speech was a reminder of why Mr Blair has been such a formidable leader.”
“Mr Blair’s last speech to Labour’s conference was his best.”
Even the conservative Daily Mail, which described the content of his speech as “utter, Alice in Wonderland make-believe”, conceded: “His delivery was simply brilliant, with perfect pitch and faultless timing.”
“Tony Blair’s farewell speech to a rapt Labour conference yesterday was a vintage performance from the greatest actor-politician of our time.