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Tony Blair: Thatcherism, 29 October 1987

... As the Conference season ends and Parliament resumes, the Tories are in triumphant mood. The Alliance – even the name now seems to mock them – have disintegrated, no longer preparing for government, but for oblivion. Part of the SDP is to go with Robert MacLennan, a year ago unknown in Britain and today unknown throughout the world. The other part, under David Owen, is being re-launched as the political wing of Sainsbury’s ...

Blair Must Go

Peter Clarke: Why Tony Blair should go, 11 September 2003

... There was a very good case to be made for Tony Blair’s handling of the Iraq issue. His critics never sufficiently acknowledged his efforts to play a difficult hand in a difficult game. He is nobody’s poodle. It was wise, rather than craven, not to isolate the Americans, still smarting from the affront as well as the horror of 11 September ...

After the May Day Flood

Seumas Milne, 5 June 1997

... have been a daily reminder of how far Neville’s aphorism still holds. So tirelessly had Tony Blair strained to ratchet down expectations during the run-up to the election, so assiduously had the Millbank machine tailgated Tory policy, that almost any innovation by the new regime was bound to seem like a political thunderbolt. As announcements ...

If/when Labour gets in …

Ross McKibbin, 22 February 1996

... and Labour’s lead gets ever smaller, it might answer itself. Still, it is a question to which Tony Blair has given much thought; and so should we. All social democratic parties, of which the British Labour Party probably is still one, are torn between two possible forms of political action, which are, in turn, dependent on two possible ...


David Runciman: Blair Hawks His Wares, 31 March 2016

Broken Vows: Tony Blair – The Tragedy of Power 
by Tom Bower.
Faber, 688 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 0 571 31420 1
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... Since​ he left office in 2007 Tony Blair has been hawking his wares around the world, from Nigeria to Kazakhstan. What has he been selling? Himself, of course, plus his reputation, and perhaps his party’s too, somewhere down the river. But he’s also been peddling an idea: deliverology. Tom Bower gives us the pitch ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: War Talk, 6 February 2003

... As Tony Blair prepares to consolidate his place in the history books as Britain’s greatest wartime Prime Minister since John Major, shipping our boys out to the Gulf, boots or no boots, his rhetoric at least is wearing steel toe caps. ‘We are going to be in the front line of this whatever happens,’ he told the Commons Liaison Committee, meaning not, as you might think, that we’re going to invade Iraq regardless of public opinion and even if the UN weapons inspectors don’t detect a material breach of Resolution 1441, but rather that a terrorist attack on Britain is inevitable ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Blair on Blincoe?, 21 March 2002

... sentence is worth reading twice. And here at the LRB, we thought: who better to send it to than Tony Blair? After all, he’s contributed to the paper in the past. In October 1987, when he sat on the Opposition front bench as Labour’s Spokesman on Trade and Industry, he said in an LRB Diary: ‘There is nothing more ridiculous than the notion that ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: ‘The Dinner Party’, 19 May 2005

... Labour’s critics is that it used to be an insult thrown at New Labour itself, years ago, before Blair abandoned the shuttered dining-rooms of North London for grill-outs in the wide open spaces of Texas, and criticism began to focus on things more deserving of opprobium than eating too much asparagus or thinking mushy peas were guacamole – waging an ...


Rory Stewart: In Afghanistan, 11 July 2002

... When Ali brought out his Koran I thought of Tony Blair. It was February 2002. The Taliban had retreated, having burned Ali’s village to the ground. Four feet of snow had closed the passes into Bamiyan and all the roads were laid with anti-vehicle mines. Ali opened the carved wooden box, kissed the bundle, unwrapped it carefully, said a prayer and opened the book ...

Just what are those teeth for?

Ian Hamilton, 24 April 1997

... silly clips of Paddy Ashdown playing hopscotch or John Major on his knees in a day-nursery or Tony Blair in his Newcastle soccer-strip. Who do these people think they’re fooling? Why don’t they treat us as grown-ups? What’s happened to the issues? To this, the politicians might retort: where did those clips come from in the first place? As they ...

A Bear Armed with a Gun

David Runciman: The Widening Atlantic, 3 April 2003

Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order 
by Robert Kagan.
Atlantic, 104 pp., £10, March 2003, 1 84354 177 7
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... sometimes get their turn at running the show. Of course, not all Europeans see it this way. Tony Blair sees things from America’s point of view, and Kagan has suggested since the publication of his book that only Blair can bridge the ever-widening gap between Europe and the US. In the book itself, he doesn’t ...

My Millbank

Seumas Milne, 18 April 1996

The Blair Revolution: Can New Labour Deliver? 
by Peter Mandelson and Roger Liddle.
Faber, 274 pp., £7.99, February 1996, 0 571 17818 9
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... your way can require a degree of intrigue and manoeuvring.’ The straight-dealing Tony Blair would, they say, prefer that this was unnecessary and does not really ‘enjoy the modus operandi’. How very fortunate the Labour leader is, then, to be able to count on the services of one whose name has become a byword for political ...

Betting big, winning small

David Runciman: Blair’s Gambles, 20 May 2004

... Is Iraq Tony Blair’s Suez? The parallels are certainly hard to avoid, and Blair’s critics have not been slow to point them out. First, there is a strong suspicion that, like Suez, the whole Iraq escapade was the result of a private deal cooked up between the belligerents ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Politicians v. the press, 22 July 2004

... of upmarket version of the Daily Mirror’, and concluded that because ‘the NS believes that Blair and the US are the problem, not the solution,’ it was ‘time to recognise that Blairites like me should not appear regularly in its pages’. In his new book, What the Media Are Doing to Our Politics (Constable, £12.99), Lloyd broadens his argument to ...

After Smith

Ross McKibbin, 9 June 1994

... candidates for the leadership seems at the moment to possess it. The obvious solution – that Tony Blair should lead Labour until and during the election and immediately resign in favour of Robin Cook on the morn of victory is presumably not a very attractive one to Mr Blair, or perhaps even to Mr Cook. Of all the ...

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