Citizendium - a community developing a quality, comprehensive compendium of knowledge, online and free.
Click here to join and contribute
CZ thanks our previous donors. Donate here. Treasurer's Financial Report

Talk:Tony Blair/Archive 1

From Citizendium
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is developed but not approved.
Main Article
Discussion
Related Articles  [?]
Bibliography  [?]
External Links  [?]
Citable Version  [?]
Works [?]
Catalogs [?]
Timelines [?]
Addendum [?]
 

Editor plan and guidelines

  • A general principle of all articles about political figures: it should be impossible to determine whether the authors are supporters or opponents of the subject of the article. Citizendium is neither Labour nor Conservative.
Or, in the UK, Liberal Democrat, Green, any Northern Irish or nationalist party, Respect, Health Concern, Veritas, independent... :-) John Stephenson 10:06, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Comments

I think it's hardly true that Blair was responsible for the introduction of the private sector into British health and education; private hospitals and schools have a rather long history here. It is true that he fostered public finance initiatives that drew private funding into capital projects to build new hospitals for the NHS, and that these have been controversial. It is also true that he oversaw a massive increase in Government funding for the NHS, and also for education at all levels (and for science). It is also true that his Government has seen the longest sustained period of economic growth ever known in the UK, and a growth rate outstripping European neighbours. Amongst his legacies it is probably appropriate to mention the Peace agreement in Northern Ireland, and devolution in Scotland and Wales. It is important to note that he won three general elections, the first two with massive majorities, breaking an 18 year period of rule by the Conservative party.Gareth Leng 12:14, 24 July 2007 (CDT)

You're certainly right that the bit about the private sector is misleading. The rest we can add as well, though the idea that Tony Blair is largely responsible for peace in Northern Ireland would have to be seen very much as a continuation of the work of the Tories, the NI parties and the Irish government. John Stephenson 22:55, 24 July 2007 (CDT)

See Blair's last question time. [1]

I think politicians on all sides have acknowledged that Blair's personal role was a major factor in the success of the northern Ireland peace process.Gareth Leng 03:44, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

OK, though it is traditional to praise an outgoing PM - we will need to add evidence of the positive role he played. Also, it's debatable how successful anyone has been in NI, given that the armed factions haven't disarmed and the assembly has only just restarted after gaps of many years. You could add a section on his legacy. John Stephenson 03:52, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

The IRA has disarmed, and I don't know of any evidence that it's not been complete [2] As for praising outgoing PMs - this is Paisley we're talking about. The idea of him praising any British politician under any circumstances would have been as laughable as, well, the idea of him smiling and sharing a platform and a role in Government with Sinn Fein.... But both sides have very warmly attested to Blair's role.Gareth Leng 09:30, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

OK, I stand corrected regardind disarmament - though de Chastelain said he couldn't be certain they'd handed over every bullet, disarmament and re-armament have happened before, and IRA men are still out there. Why don't you edit the page? John Stephenson 10:01, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

Edits on prime ministerial career

I've changed Gareth's very substantive contribution here a bit: firstly to add more subtitles, including some rearrangement, and secondly I removed a few sentences which I felt were a bit pro-Tony. See what you think. Probably some could go back in, e.g. about more nurses, in a more neutral way. I also modified the introduction to credit others in the NI peace thing. John Stephenson 00:00, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

That's fine; it was written quickly. I think it's important to be sympathetic to the person, while being strictly objective about the facts.Gareth Leng 04:07, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

I think quotes are useful in succinctly and definitively displaying Blair's views, but I am aware that this can lead to a partisan appearance. I'd like to see the quotes balanced (as in the Iraq example) with quotes from critics. How does the box format (as in the Iraq section) work for others? Should we try to extend this to other sections?Gareth Leng 07:54, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

I quite like this, but not the colour. John Stephenson 04:04, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

The section on personal life is an edited and trimmed version from Wikipedia, and is just intended as a provisional place-holding exercise. Please modify/ extend revise improve, whatever.Gareth Leng 10:47, 26 July 2007 (CDT)

OK, but now we have to credit Wikipedia. John Stephenson 04:04, 27 July 2007 (CDT)
It is quite different, so one could argue that the WP box need not be checked, but I think we should play safe until it's been rewritten again. John Stephenson 04:09, 27 July 2007 (CDT)
Another option is to comment the text out from appearing in the article except when one edits it. Do that with <!-- Text between these tags does not appear in the article. -->.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 14:30, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Agreed; try a different colour for the boxes? Other things? I think obviously the Brown-Blair relationship needs a section, and Blair and the Media, and Blair's Inner Circle (the roles of John Prescott, Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell), reporting criticism of his "presidential" style of leadership. Gareth Leng 04:39, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

OK; what worries me though is it might start to digress. We don't need to go into great detail about other figures; it can be discussed from all angles using other articles, such as Labour Party (UK). John Stephenson 08:12, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

Agreed; but I think the names should be mentioned, if only to link to other articles; lets try to do this with brevity?Gareth Leng 10:36, 27 July 2007 (CDT)

Good work

This is a remarkable article--it seems, I don't know much about the topic other than what I've gleaned from the news. Seems to be fairly even-handed as well. Thanks, Gareth et al. --Larry Sanger 06:08, 31 July 2007 (CDT)


I've moved the books section to Tony Blair: bibliography, hope that's OK. We need some more photos, but here I declare an incompetence. I think I've gone as far as I can with this article. Gareth Leng 09:44, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

I'll be in eventually to have a look; well done, you took the bare bones I started it with and really fleshed it out. Also, I have moved the bibliography to Tony_Blair/Bibliography as this appears to be the direction subpages are taking. John Stephenson 04:41, 2 August 2007 (CDT)

Most controversial? not

Blair is not one of the five or six most controversial PMs -- look at Asquith, Lloyd George, Chamberlain, Churchill, Eden, Wilson Thatcher etc. who were more controversialRichard Jensen 21:41, 2 August 2007 (CDT)

He is one of the most controversial in recent times, and the amended sentence does not convey the sheer relief of the country in seeing him go! Something has to be put there, with qualifications...--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 21:49, 2 August 2007 (CDT)
more controversial than Thatcher????? hardly. The original sentence did not actually tell the reader anything....if it meant to say many people hated him it did not convey that. If it meant his policies were rejected, that is not true, as Brown has the same basic policies. Richard Jensen 22:08, 2 August 2007 (CDT)
It can be claimed that he is as controversial as Thatcher. The thing that he is most hated for, is the invasion of Iraq and UK subordination to US interests; although Brown did not oppose the invasion, it is not seen as a major policy he will support for much longer. Therefore, in the eyes of the electorate, Brown does not have the same policies. Regardless of your opinion, it is the opinion of the population of the UK that is relevant here, and this article is not reporting that correctly.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 22:25, 2 August 2007 (CDT)
I objected to this sentence: perhaps earned a reputation as one of the most controversial holders of Britain's highest political office. That's a poor historical judgment, badly weakened by the "perhaps" and basically meaningless. Has to be rewritten. how about: "entering office with high hopes and high popularity, he left with low poll ratings and a sense of disappointment in opportunities not realized." Brown reaffirmed his support for US earlier this week in Washington. Richard Jensen 23:15, 2 August 2007 (CDT)
Thanks for making an end run around a needless controversy by suggesting a different wording! That's how it should always work! --Larry Sanger 23:40, 2 August 2007 (CDT)
Yes, that would be an improvement. I find the current text very anodyne, in terms of his relationship with the electorate. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 08:35, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Introduction

I partially restored some material deleted or modified by Richard Jensen for several reasons: firstly, the removal of the note about Blair's tenure being one of the most controversial rendered the opener ungrammatical, and also no longer highlighted how Blair's terms in office were so high-profile. I removed the bit about his "permanent campaign" because this term is not widely used in the UK and was denied as a policy by the Blair team - it could go elsewhere, just not in the introduction, I feel. I also removed the bit about handing over to Gordon Brown - I don't think this is so relevant in the introduction for an article about Blair, and it inaccurately portrayed their relationship as one of close allies. The bit about general elections I left in. Richard's original revisions ("tweaks") are here. John Stephenson 21:46, 2 August 2007 (CDT)

it is not true that he is among the 2-3 most controversial PM's and yes the permanent campaign model is used by political scientists in Britain, see citations. It is highly relevent to discuss how he left office. Richard Jensen 21:48, 2 August 2007 (CDT)

I can't recall a PM who was not controversial; certainly every dominant figure in my memory - Heath, Wilson, Thatcher and Blair were; I don't really feel that this can be ranked sensibly. Blair's personal ratings at the end were mixed - opinion polls indicate that he was still widely liked personally (though also viscerally disliked by many on the left and on the right), though some of his policies were very unpopular. He was not as uniformly disliked in the country as the press and his critics liked to say. Gareth Leng 05:19, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

I've changed this line with soft meaning:
Entering office with high hopes and high popularity, he left with low poll ratings and a sense of disappointment in opportunities not realized.
to this:
Blair entered office on a wave of public optimism, but after ten dramatic years of controversy and mixed success, he ended his run with a low standing in public trust.
The above is the best I can say about Blair (I'm one of many who wish to see him tried). He created a 'New' Labour party (to the dismay of socialists - British ones now, not American ones), lived with constant trust scandals from the outset, witnessed 9-11, July 21, (deMenezes, Kelly) took us into illegally into Iraq and Afghanistan (eventually citing God, for want of any other rationality), fought off and re-arranged the BBC, saw old hands in Labour resign, oversaw power sharing in Northern Ireland, and devolved National Assemblies too for Scotland and Wales, made the UK the most surveilled country in the entire world (though couldn’t get through ID cards), brought cronyism and cash-bought peerages into the House of Lords, brought back London mayor, plenty else too... (even his wife was beset by scandals).. it was certainly both dramatic and controversial. He made the word 'spin' and outdid Major for 'sleaze'. The first thing he did when he became PM was privately meet Thatcher - the first thing he did when he resigned was convert to Catholicism. "How long have you got?" goes the joke. --Matt Lewis 04:09, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Foreign policy

A note to remind us to include more on this, especially for the first term. We haven't really mentioned arms dealing (jets to Indonesia in 1997; blocking the inquiry into BAE Systems's arms scandal; Kosovo; arms to Pakistan following the coup); also mention Cook's "ethical foreign policy". John Stephenson 22:44, 10 August 2007 (CDT)

Yes agree that these deserve fuller coverage.Gareth Leng 04:46, 13 August 2007 (CDT)
We should mention Blair's alleged personal involvement in the David Kelly affair; he denied giving the order to make Kelly's name public, but it subsequently emerged he'd chaired the meeting. He also put his name to the "dodgy dossier'. John Stephenson 04:59, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

Domestic policy

Another note, bearing in mind Blair commitment to Christian morality: Richard Desmond? Desmond was allowed to buy the Daily Express newspaper shortly after donating 100,000 pounds to Labour; he also owns several pornographic magazines, which Blair denied any awareness of despite claims that the Express had shown them to him years earlier. John Stephenson 22:51, 10 August 2007 (CDT)

Not sure about this. Blair's Government was pretty consistently non-interventionist in business. Gareth Leng 04:44, 13 August 2007 (CDT)
I think we should mention the high-profile donor scandals and alleged honours-selling at some point, at least where Blair was involved. For example, he denied contact with the Hinduja brothers (who were apparently offered passports in exchange for Dome funding), though letters subsequently surfaced to the contrary. Then there's Ecclestone and Desmond. And Andersen Consulting; their effective ban on government work due to a scandal in the 1970s was lifted by Blair in 1997; many in his team had links to Arthur Andersen, which in turn did Enron's books.
Also, on education, we should mention the close vote on tuition fees (passed only with the help of Scottish MPs), that Blair got a free education, and that he was elected on a 2001 manifesto that said no top-up fees would be introduced. John Stephenson 04:58, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

Religion

Perhaps this could also go somewhere. Blair's religious/evangelical political style has been much-commented on, e.g. here. John Stephenson 23:24, 10 August 2007 (CDT)

Inserted this in the social policies section. How much Blair's policies in relation to Iraq were influenced by his religion seems intangible to me. Gareth Leng 04:41, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

Another article?

Possibly with the stuff above I'm leaving myself open to my previous concern that we're digressing. Possibly, a lot of this could go on another page, say Government of Tony Blair; this could include the events he wasn't so involved in. John Stephenson 05:02, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

I think a separate article on the sleaze allegations would be appropriate. It's a tricky area to deal with as there is very little substantiated; the Butler report exonerated Blair, and the CPS declared that there is no case for action on the allegations about honours; I think it's important to be aware of the problems of reporting allegations when they haven't been substantiated . Whether influence has actually been bought is unclear. On the other hand, even the appearance of possible conflicts of interest could be considered noteworthy given that the Government declared high ethical principles, and in the '97 election sleaze in the Conservative ranks was a very significant issue. I think as far as the overall record of the Blair Government these allegations are a pretty minor domestic issue; there have been no resignations in relation to them (Mandelson resigned pending an inquiry, which subsequently exonerated him and he was reinstated). Fast tracking a visa application (Blunkett) and facilitating passport applications (Hindawi) are I think below the radar of significant abuse. The Kelly affair is not clear; the allegation is that his name was (accurately) revealed as the source of BBC allegations, and this revelation led him to kill himself. It's not terribly clear in what respect anyone did anything really wrong here. There were loans made to the Labour Party, that because they were loans not donations did not have to be revealed; they should have been but this was a Labour Party issue not a Government issue, and Labour prime ministers have always kept a distance from Party affairs while in office.

The difficulty with writing this article will be in the tone, the facts and neutrality. The facts are that there have been allegations, but the serious ones haven't been objectively substantiated, and the minor ones don't really lead to Blair in any significant way. Maybe the article to write should be a more open one on Ethical issues, that covers the big issues (Trade Union funding of the Labour Party as well as Big business funding), that mentions the "cash for questions" affair, the controversy about Galloway's funding by the Merriam appeal, the history of abuse of the Honours system (Lloyd George, and Wilson's resignation Honours list...), the pereniall problems of defence contracts (Heseltine and Westland helicopters - and Alan Clarke...), and the attempted reforms (disclosure of members' interests; depoliticisation of the Honours system). ?? Could be an interesting one to write, but I don't have the time just now... However, covering it all might be the best way to put things in some kind of balanced perspective. Maybe the headings could be

  • Funding of Political Parties; purchasing influence?
  • Abuses of the Honours System; rewarding political donors?
  • Defence Contracts; protecting British interests or sustaining corruption?
  • Cash for questions; the wages of sleaze.
  • Reforms and safeguards

Gareth Leng 10:51, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

With the Butler Report, politicians were not scrutinised - this was why the Lib Dems refused to take part. Likewise, Hutton dealt with Kelly and not blame for the run-up to Iraq. Blair never allowed a full public inquiry into the war. I don't think resignations or lack of them enter into it, as we know there was a reluctance to take responsibility. But yeah, I take your point there is potential for bias here. :-) We could have an article on sleaze or Ethical government, something like that. John Stephenson 06:25, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

Northern Ireland

Watch out for neutrality in the NI section; I added fringe Unionist groups to the equation of violence in the section. It seemed that the analysis was heavy on the IRA and let the UDA/LVF/UVF off extremely lightly. Both sides were terrorists. Denis Cavanagh 12:59, 13 January 2008 (CST)

I noticed that the IRA was mentioned twice in the introductory paragraph to the section on Northern Ireland (as well as "extreme Unionist organisations"). I modified the sentence so the IRA are mentioned only once, and the two main Loyalist groups were also mentioned. "Extreme Unionist organisations" are generally referred to as Loyalists. Unionists tend to be non-militant. By the same token, extreme nationalist organisations are generally referred to as Republicans, and nationalists tend to be non-militant. By "non-militant" I mean not easily given to support or involvement with terrorism or violence. So that is not to say that some unionists and some nationalists aren't militant in the same way that, for example, Greenpeace, or some Labour backbenchers (historically) have been regarded as being militant.
My edit necessitated the removal of a reference to terrorism against citizens. --Mal McKee 15:17, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Blair and Brown

The article does not deal in any depth with the important matter of the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. That was, in my view, sensible in light of the lack - until recently - of any reliable information on the matter. However, the recent publication of memoirs by Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair has changed that, and I think that it is now time to attempt an objective account of that aspect of Tony Blair's political carreer (and that of Gordon Brown). The timelines reference to the meeting at the Granita restaurant will need amending or deleting. Mandelson says no deal is done and Blair describes has discussions about the leadership with Brown without mentioning it.

Nick Gardner 09:42, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Having read both books and listened to Andrew Marr's BBC interview with Tony Blair, I feel as well-equipped as I am likely to be to attempt an account of the Blair/Brown relationship - unless, of course, Gordon Brown gives his account of it. Anthoy Seldon's forthcoming "Brown at 10" seems unlikely to be much help, but i will take account of it when I get a copy.

I propose to put it in the addendum to this article.

Nick Gardner 21:16, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Iraq

Complete objectivity is extremely hard to achieve on a subject of acute controversy, and I am not sure that this article has got there. I agree with Martin that the flavour of the hostility that developed against him could be brought out more fully, but we need to beware of giving the case for the prosecution too much weight. On Iraq, the case against Tony Blair (the leaked documents) is mentioned at the end of the Iraq paragraph, leaving the impression that that was the last word on the matter. This is understandable in view of the fact that no statement the case for the defence was available at the time of drafting. The situation has now changed and I suggest that there should be a summary of the main points in chapters 13-15 should be placed in the annex, (following an introductory summary of the misdeeds that he has been accused of) and the addition of a sentence or two about it in the main text. Nick Gardner 09:21, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Update

This article was mainly drafted in 2007 and nothing has been added to it (except by me) since 2008. I believe that some adjustment to the balance of the article are now justified. I suggest that the reference to Ken Livingstone should be downgraded to a single sentence and that more should be said about Blair's foreign policy decisions (Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Europe). The availability of his memoirs also enables something important to be said about about his political philosophy, justifying a new section under that heading. Any views? Nick Gardner 10:51, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Agree it needs to be updated (I was a main author of the original), and all your suggestions seem sensible to me. The section on Ken now seems overweighted but as we don't have an article on him, how about creating a stub for him and transferring the relevant text there? Gareth Leng 12:05, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Delighted to make contact. Congratulations on a truly admirable article. If you would prefer to the update, I will gladly stand back. Otherwise I will do as you suggest (I hear Livingstone intends to stand again).
- best wishes Nick Gardner 15:19, 10 September 2010 (UTC)
Please go ahead, and thanks for the kind words. Ken is such an interesting character I'll be tempted to dip in, but my time is very tight just now.Gareth Leng 13:19, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
OK, I've made a start by rearranging the existing paragraph headings and adding some more. Some transfers of the existing text will be needed, but I do not anticipate making cghanges of substance. I do, however, intent to change the contents of some of the boxes by transferring all of the critical comments to a new box alongside the new paragraph on "responses to criticisms". That, I believe, will make it easier to manage the delicate issue of balance. Nick Gardner 10:58, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
PS I've transferred the text on Ken Livingstone as suggested, and I will develop it into a stub in due course. Nick Gardner 11:38, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Permanent campaign

I thought at first that there would be no need to alter the existing text, but I now feel bound to replace the paragraph about "permanent campaign".

I have several reasons for doing so.
Firstly, phrases such as -

"active management of the media to promote Blair's image by distorting news stories", and "The techniques for campaigning became somewhat merged with the techniques of governing", and "assiduous courting of public opinion while in office has been used to explain both the high approval ratings of these leaders and their unpopularity for long periods of their incumbency."

- sound tendentious. Since none is attributed to a specified source, the reader may get the impression that they were consensual.

Secondly, they seem biassed, since the various (admittedly predictable) denials that were issued are all ignored.

Thirdly the paragraph is not entirely accurate because it fails to reflect the progression from active news management in the first term, through the diminution of Alastair Campbell's influence and his departure from No10 in the second term, to Tony Blair's deliberate pursuit of policies that he knew to be unpopular (and accusations of insensitivity and arrogance) in his third term.

I propose to replace the paragraph with one headed "public relations" and to follow the more objective lead set by Raymond Kuhn (Professor of Politics at Queen Mary college) in his article in Seldon's The Blair Effect.

Nick Gardner 09:53, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

A successful end?

The introduction to the article suggests that there has been "a successful end the armed conflict in Northern Ireland." Living here, I'm not sure we could suggest that is the case. Certainly things have improved in the sense that a far fewer number of citizens and members of the security forces have been killed or injured, and there have been fewer actual explosions. However, within one year recently (2008 or 2009 I think), there had been more than 400 viable explosive devices found in Northern Ireland alone. That's an average of more than one per day. There has been rioting (some pretty recent and quite ugly), and recent murders and explosions.

At the minute, while a low level of internal feuding amongst Loyalists is continuing, it seems to be solely the 'dissident Republicans' trying to provoke, but they certainly have a campaign under way, and the 32 County Sovereignty Committee has told us that the Real IRA plan to step up the campaign. You can be sure that the Continuity IRA and the new organisation calling itself "Óglaigh na hÉireann" are also going to continue their "armed conflict".

Perhaps this could be reworded to recognise the difference that Blair and the Loyalists and Republicans of Northern Ireland, and others have made, but at the same time suggest a more realistic description for what has actually been achieved. "Armed conflict" has, unfortunately, by no means ended. --Mal McKee 16:20, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

revision

As I attempt to update this article I find that it cannot be done solely by additions to the existing text. New material, not available to previous editors, is prompting changes of balance and emphasis that can ony be met by redrafting. The existing draft read so well that I had not at first anticipated that extensive redrafting would be necessary. I remain grateful to the earlier contributors to the article, and I should value their coomments on the new material. Nick Gardner 20:39, 18 September 2010 (UTC)


Fine by me to develop the article appropriately in the light of the abundant new material that has come out - not least, Blair's own memoirs. Gareth Leng 15:53, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

I have also thought it appropriate to delete any passage that has the appearance of reflecting opinions or judgments by the article's authors. The only expressions of opinion that I intend to retain are quotations attributed to named individuals. - Nick Gardner 19:51, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

I have completed the revision as far as I am able. I should be grateful, however, to be reminded of significant missions and to have my attention drawn to unsupported statements, failing which I am inclined to apply for approval. Nick Gardner 13:20, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Early life

This sentence:

  • They had have four children (Euan, Nicky, Kathryn and Leo) of which Leo was the first legitimate child of a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years.


Sounds like the other children were illegitimate. Is that the case, or should it be clarified. D. Matt Innis 23:56, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Good point! It was a hangover from an earlier draft - and somewhat irrelevant. I'll delete it. Nick Gardner 06:31, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Things we might need to cover

On Matt's suggestion in the forum, I've gone through and fixed a few bits and bobs and added some stuff to the article, including a fair bit in the education section about Curriculum 2000 and vocational qualifications (which has had a big but thus far not highly noticed effect on secondary education).

I think there's lots of things we could also cover in the article:

  • the civil liberties agenda: the whole ID cards furore, David Blunkett and his comments on "airy-fairy libertarians", CCTV and so on. This has been a major point of contention with the Blair and Brown governments, and subsequently has been one of the issues on which both the Conservatives and the Liberals campaigned on, and which they have put into the coalition agreements
  • the success of otherwise of PFI and public-private partnerships. This is one of those Third Way things Blair tried to position himself on the centre, but there is considerable scepticism as to the success of PFI: critics paint it as an accounting trick to buy now and pay later for public services while keeping the costs of the new hospital or school or whatnot off the government's books. I'm not familiar enough with the arguments to present it fairly though.
  • the death of David Kelly and the subsequent Hutton Report
  • the record on energy and environment
  • the Foot and Mouth disease crisis
  • the Hunting Act and the Freedom of Information Act, both of which Blair lists as regrets of his time in government
  • the MMR crisis, which personally involved Blair and the public controversy around whether the Blairs had given Leo the MMR vaccine (a sort of modern version of John Gummer and his daughter being photographed eating a beefburger made from British beef during the BSE crisis).
  • other reforms to the legal system: the whole victims approach to justice which Blair and New Labour tried to push, the abolition of the Lord Chancellor, the push (which culminated during Brown's time) to replace the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords with the new Supreme Court, criticisms from people like Helena Kennedy etc.

And lots more I can't think of. I might see if I can get hold of Polly Toynbee's series of books on the record of New Labour as a source for some slightly more critical perspective on Blair. Anything else we need to add to this before we push it towards approval (as Matt Innis seems to be suggesting)? –Tom Morris 14:24, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Two I recall from the early years are cuts to disability benefit and the sale of Hawk jets to Indonesia. Blair also tried hard to stop Ken Livingstone being nominated for Mayor of London, as part of a battle with the left of the party (he later admitted he had been wrong). I also remember him being slow-hand-clapped at the Women's Institute, but I won't push so hard for that to go in! John Stephenson 15:48, 26 October 2010 (UTC)


Thanks for your comments. I will wait for further reactions before making any changes. In the meantime I would ask my fellow editors to take account of the following points that I had in mind in making a contribution to this article:
  • I was anxious to avoid overburdening the reader of the main text with issues that were not central to Tony Blair's contribution, so I confined references to matters that seemed to me of secondary importance, to the subpages;
  • I was conscious that many of the article's readers would not be English. Topics - such as the foot-and-mouth crisis - for which a brief reference would be readily understood by those of us who were reading the press at the time, could be baffling to others without a six-sentence explanation;
  • Matters that attracted a lot of press comment at the time - such as whether Euan got the MMR vaccine - may seem trivial in years to come.
As regards specific suggestions
  • the transfer to the main text from their places in the timelines subpage of references to the the death of David Kelly and the Hutton Report; the creation of the Supreme Court; and the Freedom of Information Act would each necessitate more explanatory matter than is presented in the timelines (where brevity was to some degree compensated by links to contemporary reports);
  • the success or otherwise of the PFI is an interesting but very technical topic which would require the addition of a substantial new paragraph. But where would it go? It started before Tony Blair became PM and I have no evidence of his (or anyone else's) assessment of its effectiveness. If such evidence is available, I would be prepared to make it the subject of a separate article.
  • I plan to draft a short article on Ken Livingstone, and I will add a link from this article when it's done.
  • I doubt whether the WI's slow handclap is important enough to justify transferring the reference to it from the timelines to the main text.
  • The Hawk jet story would require more explanation than is provided by the BBC news item. Is any authoritative source available? Was Tony Blair directly involved?
  • I confess ignorance about New Labour's energy and environmental impact. If somoone could guide me to an authoritative assessment, I will add a reference to it.
  • If I can be provided with some solid stuff on the civil liberties issue, and it is general consider to be of sufficient importance, I will add it (unless someone who knows about it wants to).
Nick Gardner 19:33, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
PS Please take another look at the added material on education outcomes. I am not happy with a passage starting with "the government has been criticised", that does not include a citation saying by whom it was criticised, and a link to what they said. Nick Gardner 19:50, 27 October 2010 (UTC)