Sunday, 20th June 2021

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Happy Birthday?

Happy Birthday?

2007 marks Tony Blair’s 10 years as prime minister of Britain Bellinda Ainslie looks back

Tony Blair was returned prime minister of the United Kingdom on 2nd May 1997 and in the ten years of his leadership Britain has suffered more than its fair share of ups and downs.

Although it would be unfair to blame any one leader for the whole of a nations economic, moral and financial shortcomings, it would also be fair to say that Mr. Blair has, either alone or on the advice of others, made plenty of mistakes during his leadership.

Blair’s landslide victory in the 1997 general election ended 18 years of conservative government and on the face of it a change seemed as good as a rest at the time. Tony Blair is the longest serving Labour leader and the only Labour leader to have led his party to victory in three consecutive general elections. Although he has made mistakes, Blair has made some positive changes to British politics; New Labour have significantly increased public spending on health and education, introduced the minimum wage, brought about constitutional reforms such as devolution for Scotland and Wales and was instrumental in the Northern Ireland peace process.

For many leaders the above menu of successes would be a feather in the political cap, but Blair’s 10 year administration has fallen at a time of huge changes and unrest worldwide.


It is difficult enough for any leader to repel their own borders, but faced with catastrophic events like 9/11 and the resultant backlash of political outrage as a consequence Mr. Blair has had to enact much of his term of office on the world stage.

On the domestic front Tony Blair¬ís 10 years have seen some times of civil unrest; in August 2000, urged on by the Conservative opposition, drivers in Great Briton were encouraged to ¬ďDump the pump¬Ē in a protest against the constant rises in petrol prices. Further protests in September of that year lead to tankers blockading petrol stations with the result of shortages over much of the country. Although this lead to great inconvenience for many, it was still seen as a necessary measure by the people of Briton and an indication of the increasing disappointment in their leader. More recently Tony Blair has come in for criticism over Briton¬ís continuing involvement in the War in Iraq and there are those who resent the British Prime Minister behaving as a lap dog to both generations of Bush.

It may be true that Mr.Blair has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but surely that is part and parcel of the job and no one goes into politics expecting an easy ride, it is a vocation after all. After the 2005 bombings in London, Tony Blair began hinting that he was considering standing down. However, if Blair remains in office until 27th November 2008, he will have surpassed Margaret Thatcher as the longest continuously serving Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool 1812-1827.

So I think we can look forward to having Mr. Blair in charge for at least another year; after all, with his track record for arrogance, can you really see Tony Blair passing up the opportunity to go into the record books?

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