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How did Blair get here?

Conor Gearty, 20 February 2003

... Tony Blair is the most successful politician of his generation. He has transformed the Labour Party from a protest coalition into Britain’s natural and (it seems these days) perpetual government, a feat achieved by neither Clement Attlee nor Harold Wilson and not even attempted by the Party’s only other postwar premier, James Callaghan ...

War Crimes

Michael Byers: The limits of self-defence, 17 August 2006

... I entirely understand the desire, and indeed need, for Israel to defend itself properly,’ Tony Blair said on 14 July. ‘As a sovereign nation, Israel has every right to defend itself,’ George W. Bush said on 16 July. By the time these statements were made, the IDF had bombed Beirut’s international airport, destroyed roads, bridges, power stations and petrol stations, and imposed an air and sea blockade ...


Karl Miller: Smiley and Bingham, 9 May 2013

A Delicate Truth 
by John le Carré.
Viking, 310 pp., £18.99, April 2013, 978 0 670 92279 6
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The Man Who Was George Smiley: The Life of John Bingham 
by Michael Jago.
Biteback, 308 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 1 84954 513 6
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... The novel is set, for the most part, in the twilight territory that followed the deflation of the Blair balloon. The book enlarges on a dislike of Blair and of his uncertain and mendacious Iraq operation. The more Toby is admitted to the inner councils of government, the greater his abhorrence of the war about to ...

Mirror Images

Jenny Diski: Piers Morgan, 31 March 2005

The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade 
by Piers Morgan.
Ebury, 484 pp., £17.99, March 2005, 0 09 190506 0
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... Richard Branson, Paul McCartney, Patsy Kensit, Ian Botham, Jordan, Mohammed al Fayed, Cherie Blair, Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair. (If there are names in that list you haven’t heard of, don’t worry, none of them matters as much as they think they do.) At a Christmas lunch at the Mirabelle ...

Delivering the Leadership

Nick Cohen: Get Mandy, 4 March 1999

Mandy: The Authorised Biography of Peter Mandelson 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 302 pp., £17.99, January 1999, 9780684851754
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... betrayal when Mandelson switched from Diet Pepsi to Diet Coke and took his support from Brown to Tony Blair, thus denying his former friend what Archer would doubtless call the greatest of all prizes. It says much about Mandelson’s self-confidence that he engaged energetically in the subsequent war – a campaign conducted with off-the-record ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Blair’s nuptials, 3 March 2005

... murmured. ‘What relationship?’ G. replied, and walked away. I was reminded of this exchange by Tony Blair’s speech at the Labour Party Spring Conference in Gateshead on 13 February. ‘I think a lot about my relationship with the country,’ he said. ‘And it’s not a bad idea to think of it in terms of it being like any relationship: you, the ...
... the future was on its side – which had sustained it from 1918 until the early Eighties. Mr Blair has done what Hugh Gaitskell failed to do and what no other Labour leader has even attempted; an achievement we should not minimise. The votes of the constituency parties really are remarkable, particularly to anyone who bears in mind what those parties ...

Very Old Labour

Ross McKibbin, 3 April 1997

... Labour – which seems likely to win it. And we must accept the fact that it really is new. When Tony Blair assures us of that he is not, as the Tories insist, merely pretending. Much of this ‘renewal’ had, of course, been achieved by Neil Kinnock and John Smith, while the numerical and political decline of the unions, together with a change in the ...

Liars, Hypocrites and Crybabies

David Runciman: Blair v. Brown, 2 November 2006

... Labour Party Conference last month – when Gordon pretended that he still had a lot of time for Tony, on hearing which Cherie said that’s a lie, but being overheard herself had to deny she’d said any such thing, though the next day Tony more or less admitted that her denial wasn’t to be trusted either, before going ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: Blair’s Convictions, 24 May 2007

... government in 1997, we would not have had to endure the unnecessary and insulting performance that Tony Blair put on last week in the uterine comfort of his constituency in the North-East: that other Labour Party could never have followed him so slavishly wherever he chose to take them in the wake of George Bush, would have known it needed at all costs to ...

Staggering on

Stephen Howe, 23 May 1996

The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... of its first manifestation, and does not seem to be a great admirer of either Ramsay MacDonald or Tony Blair. Few of the major personalities involved in founding the paper emerge with unmixed credit from Smith’s account, least of all Clifford Sharp. Sharp’s political judgment is subjected to repeated censure, but his personal qualities leave even ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... he – could he? – perform the countless vital tasks that come naturally to David Cameron or Tony Blair: everything from how to comport yourself at the despatch box to the best way to climb out of a chauffeur-driven car, from how to use an autocue to knowing which pop band to choose on Desert Island Discs. If you don’t know which tie to wear with ...

‘The Sun Says’

Paul Laity, 20 June 1996

... government’ and law and order have long been crusades of British tabloids, but now Tony Blair, sensitive to popular priorities after Labour’s four successive electoral defeats, also feels that Sun readers need courting. Not for nothing did he travel to Hayman Island, Australia to address News Corporation executives; and not for nothing ...


Chris Mullin: A report from Westminster, 25 June 2009

... which I imagine he is.  Then to a jam-packed meeting of the parliamentary party. The chairman, Tony Lloyd, opened with a little pep talk, remarking that there was ‘a duty on us collectively not to give into despair’. (Yes, that’s how bad it is.) Then Gordon, eyes half-closed with fatigue, spoke. This was Gordon like I’ve never seen him before. He ...

Politicians in a Fix

David Runciman: The uses of referendums, 10 July 2003

... themselves. That is, it was enough until the arrival on the scene of James Goldsmith and Tony Blair. It is a sign of how little referendums have in common with fully democratic politics that a one-man, one-note band like Goldsmith’s anti-federalists were able to call themselves the Referendum Party and get away with it. (Emboldened by ...

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