Blair at Leveson

By Liam Carr

First posted at

A protestor at the Leveson Enquire accused Tony Blair of war crimes. He may well have a point.  I was one of the million or so people who marched in protest against going to war in Iraq. But despite what I think about that one decision, I do not vilify Blair as much as some Labour supporters do.

His priorities were in order.  Education reform made a noticeable difference.  Investment in health was also welcomed, even if the way the money was raised, has since been called into question.

Blair was also electable, which is important.   A Labour government will always be better for people from normal backgrounds than a Tory one. Even a Labour government, with what many on the Left of politics would see as far too neo-liberal, will offer more protection to the vulnerable than this ideologically driven Coalition.

What is more interesting than either the protest, or the reaction to Blair being back in the spotlight, is what the former PM actually said.  His strategy was never to take on the press. Cameron’s strategy was the same. In stark contrast, Ed Miliband and a few labour MPs, namely Tom Watson and Chris Bryant, started the rage against the Murdoch Machine. This is a massive shift.  All parties have previously courted the media, now they line up to criticise the media.

How people vote in a general election depends on a variety of factors;  the media do play a role, and the most popular newspapers remain highly influential.

Ed said at the Labour Party Conference ‘I am not Tony Blair’ and was applauded for it. He has shown by his actions in openly criticising News International that he is not like Tony Blair…  but he must be at least a little like Blair in one vital aspect.  By 2015 and in spite of any revenge that is taken by the Sun or other papers in the run up to the General Election, Ed must be a leader of the Labour Party who has enough popular support to eject an inept, shambolic Tory led Government from office, just as Tony did in 1997.

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