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« Interview with a broadcasting legend | Main | My holiday hell »

Why I tip my hat to Tony Blair

For me, the joy of being on holiday is catching up on all those books you wanted to read but never had the time. Some had been gathering dust for over six months so here was the perfect opportunity to put that right. Pity about their combined weight, though. Before I go on holiday again I'm going to buy an iPad and download all the books I want to read on to that!

Anyway, my holiday was dominated by one man. Yesterday's man, certainly, but in his day an incredibly powerful force in British politics. Tony Blair? Peter Mandelson? No, Gordon Brown.

Reading Mandelson's The Third Man (best described as an entertaining romp) followed by Andrew Rawnsley's rather more authoritative The End of the Party, this reader was left in no doubt that throughout the Blair years Gordon Brown was the real power behind the throne.

But not in a good way. If you believe these books, Brown was a shit with a capital 'S'. (Rawnsley goes further, much further, implying that he was a liar and a hypocrite.)

Some will argue that Blair should have sacked his scheming Chancellor quite early on and the fact that he didn't was evidence of a weak PM. Inevitably it was a lot more complicated than that.

Imagine, however, working year after year with someone who openly wants your job, employs a team of people to undermine you, ignores or refuses to engage with you whenever it suits him, and repeatedly tries to bully you to step down so he can take your place. Most people would find that intolerable.

I'm no fan of Tony Blair but when I read what he had to put up with, day after day, year after year, from the man next door (and a so-called colleague) I marvel that he stuck it out as long as he did whilst maintaining a generally cheerful public persona.

Blair may be over-rated by some, but for this reason alone I take my hat off to him.

Reader Comments (15)

Sounds to me as if Gordon Brown knew exactly the problem of anti-social behaviour as he appears to have been a veritable neighbour from hell. It makes me hate Bliar even more. He knew this bloke was a nutter and yet he chose his own power and wealth over the good of the country becausenof some vile backroom deal. He waked away and left us in this shit that he and Brown created and didn't give a monkey's arse that he allowed Brown to reintroduce hate, fear, prejudice and discrimination back into our society. I hate him. I hate Brown. I hate all of those hypocrites who have murdered this once great tolerant fair and peaceful country of ours.

Would I waste my hard earned cash on putting money in that slimeball mandelson's pocket to buy his revolting book? Absolutely not! I think those people have screwed enough out of me already in blood, sweat and oh so many, many tears.

August 11, 2010 at 17:24 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Brown a hypocrite? No s**t Sherlock! I'm sure he is a very clever man on some level but the degree of arrogance and self delusion was breathtaking. He spent years grudging the deal he made, believing himself to be the superior man. I'd have got rid of him years back. Love Blair or loathe him, you can't deny he was the consumate professional in his job - style over substance? - welcome to the 21st century..... What outrages me is that the lib-dems actually thought they could make a deal with labour by which Brown would stay on for a few months then to be replaced by another unelected PM who had not even participated in the tv debates that allegedly had such a profound effect on the election outcome. That the cheeky wh**ing beggers thought it was OK to foist that on the electorate - and they have DEMOCRAT in their title !!??

August 11, 2010 at 23:11 | Unregistered Commenterdunhillbabe

You tip your hat to Tony Blair? This is the man whos government brought in the smoking ban and you as the leader of Forest tip your hat to him? You really are a waste of space!

August 11, 2010 at 23:20 | Unregistered CommenterMRS HENRIETTA KNOB

We shouldn't be attacking each other. Save your venom for those that really deserve it. Check out my blog and wear yourself out over there where there is an anti just waiting for a smoker to argue with.

August 12, 2010 at 1:39 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Does it not impinge in anyone's consciousness that Blair WAS NOT a socialist? He was one of the crowd who took ( and still take) advantage of the Labour name to suit their own ends.
I think that Brown has been much maligned and was extremely unlucky to come on the scene as PM at the worst possible time banking crisis and recession.
But I also agree that, essentially, he was, like all the rest of the MPs a 'useful fool'.

It seems to me that the qualifications to be an MP must be 'to know little or nothing about anything in particular and not to want to know anything about anything in particular'. Only that definition can explain their utter stupidity.

August 12, 2010 at 4:05 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Tony Blair was the 'useful fool' for Brussels and they're looking after him very well ever since.
And by the time ole Gordy got his slice of the cake he was surpurflous to requirements.

August 12, 2010 at 8:42 | Unregistered Commenterann

Ridiculous, Simon. I'm very surprised. This is not just the man who introduced a smoking ban but the man who shrugged his shoulders and walked away when his party decided to, unilaterally, alter a manifesto commitment of a partial ban to a full blooded total ban.

August 12, 2010 at 9:42 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Junican. I've been Labour all my life, my (smoker) dad was as well. He stood as a local councillor in the election back in the 1980s. My (smoker) grandad was Labour too. Both would be doing a thousand revolutions a second in their graves if they knew that they fought in two world wars for the freedom and peace of their descendants to be swiped away by the thieves who stole their beloved party. NuLabour has never been Labour but a spin off of the old Tory party. Labour is dead. NuLabour is something different. The Conservative Party is dead - NuToryism is something different. Some just haven't grasped it yet because they live in hope. They will be disappointed as the next five years drag us further into the mire and end with criminalisation of tobacco use.
Dunhillbabe - yes. We live in a dictatorship where the least popular party with even less votes than it got at the last election, appears to have the right to make decisions few elected it to make and the majority have to suffer because of the resulting dictatorship.
The truth of it all is that Britain is no longer in control of herself or her laws or her people. Brown gave us away. I believe this was a spiteful and intended act by a Scot in revenge for centuries of English rule over Scotland.
We are now all living behind that great wall that once stopped at West Berlin. East Germany and Eastern Europe did not become free when that wall went down. It just invisibly extended around the rest of us and the freedom we once enjoyed in the West was snatched away bit by propaganda bit.
I am so glad that when I first saw Tony Bliar, I saw a con man. I never voted Labour with him at the helm. I was just amazed that other Lab supporters did. One said to me at the time that she voted for him because she thought that once in power, the true soul of Labour would show. Of course none of us knew they were all a bunch of hypocrites, criminals and fraudsters, we thought they had had just sold out to the Middle Classes for personal power.
I wish I had hope but I have none. I know before my life ends I will be a criminal for something I began in childhood during a different age. People may have the right to abuse me and bully me into quitting - or even call for me to be attacked in the street - because I was not "born" a smoker as others are "born" gay or "born" into a religion, or even "born" into a different social class or ethnic group.
But I took up the habit because I was "born" into a different age and generation. I can not help that any more than those "accepted" minorities who so rightly deserve protection but I am bitter than my minority can be so unjustly abused, discriminated against and legally outcast with public money and Govt blessing whatever it's party colour. As long as we have this three party alliance, we will never, ever be treated with respect, tolerance or equality.

August 12, 2010 at 16:00 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Go and have a lie down, Pat.

August 12, 2010 at 16:46 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Perhaps I should then just give up. After all, I have wasted a good 12 years now on this fight. It seems I am in a minority even among those I thought understood.

August 12, 2010 at 16:53 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Please don't give up. I suspect that I speak for many people (most of them silent), when I say that the last few years have been a huge shock. I had always believed that for all their faults, the medical industry was benign, that politicians were mostly rational, that the press was largely free and that humanity as a whole was made up of cooperative, tolerant people. I thought that Britain in particular was a bastion of civil liberty and freedom of speech.

It takes a while to adjust to these new circumstances and to try to understand how they came about. And what to do about it.
(I would have copied this post to your blog but have neither Google nor OpenId account - there is no anonymous option)

August 12, 2010 at 23:03 | Unregistered CommenterTony W

Tony Blair ruined Britain with the help of the Wicked Witch.

August 13, 2010 at 9:43 | Unregistered Commenterann

I'm no fan of Blair, but I thought the thing that ruined it was a bunch of countries signing up to some international tobacco control treaty.

August 13, 2010 at 14:41 | Unregistered CommenterLiberty

No Liberty, tobacco controls ruined the freedom to smoke in Britain, Tony Blair ruined Britain, full stop!

August 13, 2010 at 15:39 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

'Framework convention on Tobacco control'. In typical Blair fashion, he signed it not to be out of step with others. As Bruce Anderson has said, he thought only of the 10pm news and next mornings papers. Three weeks later he couldn't remember anything about it. Once he'd done that, the likes of ASH had him by the knackers. He then realised what he's done and try's to back track and water it down. Too late. So, in typical Blair fashion, he shrugs his shoulders and walks away, once again.

August 13, 2010 at 17:45 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

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