I disagree with Tony Blair

John Rentoul

tb2 300x198 I disagree with Tony BlairI disagree with Tony Blair. But I’ll come back to that presently. I’ve been reading his introduction to the paperback edition of A Journey, in which he talks about religion.

But I also flicked through some of the rest of it, and was struck by this argument (page 681), which I didn’t take in first time round, about whether Labour could have won in 2010, and whether the Iraq war was a factor:

We won in 2005 after Iraq, and the public were hardly likely to elect Labour under the prime minister who took the country to war, then wait five years to take it out on the person who didn’t.

With that I agree strongly.

That’s another photograph of TB meeting Queen Mary students, from the QMUL photostream

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  • mark

    “I disagree with Tony Blair”
    You wouldn’t be much of a human being if you didn’t.

  • Guest

    General elections are decided on domestic issues, and primarily on the economy. Iraq was not a factor in the minds of a largely apolitical electorate who vote me, me, me. And who can blame them? The Tories in 2005 had an unelectable leader, but even then Labour recorded the lowest total number of votes for a winning party – around 9.5m – in modern history.

    Labour might just have scraped the 2010 general election had Tony Blair still been prime minister, but he was knifed in the back by grumpynuts Gordon Brown and his co-conspiritors. Margaret Thatcher was likewise knifed in the back while prime minister by Michael Heseltine and his co-conspiritors, yet nice, affable John Major won the subsequent general election with a total vote of over 14m, topping Mrs Thatcher’s three election-winning totals that never dipped below 13m. Funny old world.

  • aardvark10

    Well I don’t know about “the person who didn’t”.
    Brown’s was the first signature on the motion to go to war on Iraq. There seems little doubt that had he come out and said that the intelligence was flawed, had been exaggerated by Campbell and other spin doctors, and he was against the invasion, it seems very likely Blair would have lost the vote.
    Not that it had much to do with the 2010 election though.

  • pambie25

    I think you’ll find that the electorate took it out on the person that kept us in the pointless war despite little being achieved apart from death, destruction and increased hostility. It’s bad enough to make the terrible mistake of beginning a crusade in the Arab countries not considered to be of any use to us, but to stick with the policy given time to reflect on the results was inexcusable. People died so that Brown did not lose face.
    Ron Broxted, below, lists many other reasons why Brown was unelectable for many.
    Sadly, those of us who voted Lib Dem because of their position on the war have been deceived in other ways and are now left with no voting choices.

  • bob idle

    The public didn’t have much choice since both the labour party and the conservatives were in favour of the Iraq war. Turnout was pretty low, perhaps that is partially why?

  • DonRob

    The 2010 defeat was a case of attrition.  Labour lost many voters because of Iraq, and Blair-led Labour would not even bear his image on any campaingn literature.  Labour then lost many extra voters because of the recession and the unpopularity of Brown.  The result of the two wvaes of losses was the second worst result since WWI. 

    Had Iraq never happened, the 2010 election would have been closer.  Perhaps the Tories with slightly more votes, and Labour more seats.

    I have come back to Labour, but still prefer that Labour lost in 2010.  It needs to change, and offer something different from the Tory/ NewLabour consensus that the market always knows best. For me, Ed Miliband winning was important, though he has yet to assert his agenda. 

    Labour will not go back to Old Labour, but it has to recognise that free market fundamentalism bombed in the 30s, only to be welcomed back in the 80s.  It has bombed again.  The world said goodbye to Communism and social democracy between 1979 and 1991, and then assumed its inverse – Thatcherism – must be perfect.  Yes, perfect.  Why else deregulation on the scale of the 90s and 00s?    That has been fatal for all economies.  And it has not yet been challenged.  I hope Miliband can do so.

    One thing is for sure.  Blair has to be the past.  And so are his friends, like Rentoul.

  • Kippers

    Are you arguing that Labour winning the 2005 election (with a much reduced majority against a weak opposition that also supported the invasion of Iraq) makes the invasion of Iraq legal?

  • glad_stone

    I dont get it… you say you disagree in the title and end that you agree strongly.

    Have you just used what should have been the title of your next piece to get people to click on this one, you tedious one trick pony?

  • discustarded


  • Firozali A.Mulla

    A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity.
    – Robert Frost

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