The Return of Tony Blair
Only for about the 60th time since he stood down as Prime Minister, it is reported that Tony Blair is back, wants to re-engage in British public life, and so on. Personally I am with the Stop the War cranks in opposing his religious event this evening. I am distressed that he is lending his credibility to the attempt to rehabilitate Rowan Williams.
Blair has an interview with Charles Moore in the Telegraph today in which he says again that it is time for Islam to have a reformation, and then he has lunch with the Queen and the serving and two other former prime ministers. Margaret Thatcher is too ill to attend, and Cherie is working on a case abroad. That is going to be a test of small talk.
My small contribution to the cottage industry of comment and speculation is here, in an interview with Alex Veeneman of Kettle magazine. He asked me about Blair’s appearance with Ed Miliband at the Emirates stadium to announce his role as an adviser on Olympics stuff:
It was interesting because it suggested that Tony Blair thought that there was a serious danger that Ed Miliband might win the next election. He could hardly be brought in to advise on foreign policy, public service reform, economic policy or anything important because his positions are fundamentally different from Miliband’s.
It was part of a wider strategy of re-engagement by the Blairites, including Andrew Adonis advising on industrial policy. I think TB and some of his supporters want to bind Ed M in to a more Blairite orientation. They are now in a position of (not much) power, in that it would now cause Ed M problems if they withdrew co-operation, saying that he was too much of an immature lefty.
One of my correspondents thought this implausible; that Blair could not influence Ed Miliband and could not be bothered to try. I am not sure that Blair can help himself. As he told Moore, he is “deeply familiar with the rules of politics”.
But as for coming back, I said to Kettle:
He had a longer stint than was strictly possible, borrowing millions of pounds from secret donors and borrowing Gordon Brown’s credibility to get him over the finishing line in 2005.
But the main reason that he cannot come back is this:
Tagged in: tony blair
A very large minority in the Labour Party, a tiny minority among the voters and a large majority among journalists hate him with an unreasonable passion for being a winner … He quit the House of Commons for a reason, which is that trying to make a comeback is a stupid idea.
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