How will history judge Blair?

Link: BBC NEWS | Politics | How will history judge Blair?.

I could get quite into this politics thing. I wonder if the world of politics could possibly be as argumentative as that of science? Having written that I didn’t think I’d ever be writing about Tony Blair et al. on this blog but finding myself doing it, I received an email the other day (from my husband, using a civilised method of spousal communication), containing the BBC link at the top of this post. There, you can read accounts by three historians of the Blair era. The MP read the articles because he’s enjoying reading a book (on Wellington and Napoleon) by Andrew Roberts, one of the three historians.

Roberts starts out: "Before 11 September 2001, Tony Blair was set to go down in history as a second-division prime minister, one of those who stayed in power for a long time but without having any appreciable effect on the story of his times."

By the end of his article, he concludes: "Prime ministers are not judged by posterity on issues to do with transport, health, education, or even – most of them – on economic indicators. They are judged by the One Big Thing that happens during their premierships. That is why Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement, Anthony Eden’s Suez Crisis, Edward Heath’s Three-Day Week, and John Major’s ERM debacle have left them branded as failures. Equally, Winston Churchill’s Blitz orations, Margaret Thatcher’s saving of British capitalism and Tony Blair’s vigorous prosecution of the War against Terror will leave them noted by history as highly successful prime ministers. "

5 thoughts on “How will history judge Blair?

  1. I am reading Hitler over Russia by Ernst Henri a book written in 1936.[Hay on Wye purchase] It documents events in Europe during 1934 and 1935 and predicts a coming conflict between fascism and socialism. Anyone reading it would put Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement in the emeritus class of failure.
    Interestingly we have in David and Ed Miliband, two brothers in the cabinet for the first time since 1924, when Austen and Neville Chamberlain were in Baldwin’s government.
    I think it is probably far too soon to give a verdict on the Blair years.

  2. I thought of you today, Norm, as I spent 3 hours fruitlessly poring over the shelves of every bookshop in Kingston trying to find books on the Renaissance, Pochahontas, the plague and the fire of london for my younger daughter, who is suddenly interested in the topics. Pathetic does not begin to describe the history offerings of these bookshops, they should be ashamed of themselves. What riches were available when I was growing up. Now it is horrible histories, Key stage 3 revision guide, or nothing. How are people supposed to develop an interest in history under these circumstances?

  3. How indeed.
    But I certainly don’t agree with Roberts’s summing up at the end there on the war on terror. The lack of independent enquiry for the decision on Iraq, so fundamental and in the presence of what has proved to be very questionable evidence, is a scandal.
    And then there’s been all that spin.
    I’ve been more disappointed than I can express and I’ve developed a loathing for Labour as a result of the Blair years. So if any party with sensible policies wants to court me, please feel welcome to approach.

  4. Maxine, a holiday in Hay on Wye is the answer. It is where good history books go to retire when their owners have passed on.
    A trip to Virginia would cover your daughters interest in all things Pochahontas. The Americans don’t have as much history as us so they really make a big thing of what they do have.

  5. crimeficreader, I share your total disillusionment with Labour.
    They have failed the country on the very issues one would assume were the priorities of a left of centre party; Education, the NHS and affordable housing.
    Then Gordon Brown opens his prime ministerial career with the words “Let the work of change begin”.
    Where has he been for the past 10 years?
    The way they are talking about change and a new government is ridiculous. It is as if the bomb plot had removed Hitler in 1944, and Goering had come along and said “we are going to change I had nothing to do with the last 10 years, what war.”
    Brown must share with Blair total responsibility for the failures of the past decade. He was not the number 2, he was more like number 1.25!
    I think the removal of Saddam Hussein’s murderous regime could possibly be justified on moral grounds, but the failure to have a viable post war occupation plan, and the apparent total ignorance about the religious, social and ethnic makeup of the country was unforgiveable.
    Do we need a full independent enquiry into all aspects of the Iraq War? Yes.
    We will get one? I doubt it.
    I can certainly recommend Against All Enemies by Richard A Clarke [Clinton and Bush antiterrorism czar] and Disinformation by Richard Miniter [author of Losing Bin Laden] for a lot of useful information on the whole war on terror/ Iraq situation.

Comments are closed.