Tony Blair Leaves Number 10

by Mike on June 27, 2007

in UK Politics

Tony Blair stepped down as British Prime Minister today, ending his decade-long stay at 10 Downing Street. His term in office will go down as one of the most significant in modern history. As Prime Minister, he transformed the face of the Labour Party and strengthened the already sturdy special relationship between Britain and America. Conservatives on this side of the Atlantic have soft spot for the former Prime Minister, although it didn’t always seem like this would be the case.

When Tony Blair was elected in 1997, he seemed a little too similar to Bill Clinton for our liking. Like Clinton, Blair was a slick politician enamoured with big government, high taxes, and nonstop political spin. In fact, the similarities between the two leaders were so compelling that the American MSM often referred to Blair as a “Clinton clone,” although they meant it as a compliment.

Not only were Blair’s policies similar to Clinton’s but so were his political skills. As was the case with Clinton in the U.S., Blair gave his political opposition fits. No matter how hard the Tories tried to unify their party and call out the Prime Minister on his stealth taxes and spin, Blair always managed to run political circles around them. As leader of the Labour party, Blair won three general elections, retiring four Conservative party leaders in the process. For admirers of Margaret Thatcher, Blair’s departure couldn’t come soon enough.

But something happened after the murderous events of September 11, 2001. With the civilized world needing resolve more than ever, Tony Blair stood firmly with the United States. He supported our efforts against terrorist-sponsoring regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq despite being surrounded by a Labour party whose backbenchers would be more at home in a lunatic asylum than in the House of Commons. It would have taken enormous courage for a Conservative Prime Minister to stand with an unpopular American President. The fact that Blair stood with America under such circumstances solidified his hero status on the American right.

Although we American conservatives would prefer a Conservative Prime Minster (even if it is David Cameron), we will always look back fondly on the decade of Tony Blair. Like Conservatives Churchill and Thatcher before him, Blair obviously valued the special relationship between Britain and America, often risking his own political capital to nurture it. For that, we will always be grateful.

Reuters photo

UPDATE:  BBC cuts off Blair’s farewell remarks to the House of Commons.  That’s pretty classless, even for them.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ryan June 27, 2007 at 9:43 am

I also thought that Tony Blair was Britain’s version of Bill Clinton for the very reasons you stated in this post. His style, stealthy substance, and politics were reminiscent of BJ himself. After 9/11 he took the mantle of a Churchill– being able to call evil evil, and in Blair’s case, in the face of political opposition in his own party.

However, if there’s any world leader who’s Iraq position needs deeper historical analysis, it is Tony Blair. Remember, he was PM before and during our 1998 Operation Desert Fox against Saddam, and was still PM when Bush gave his September 2002 speech to the UN, putting Saddam on notice before our invasion in March 2003. He was there throughout this entire WMD-craze phase of our relationship with Iraq from Clinton (who the Dems supported) to Dubya (who they eventually did not). Blair was there and ended up agreeing with both Bush and Clinton on how we should go about dealing with Saddam. I wonder if the MSM will pick up on this detail?


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