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The PM of the middle classes

10 May 2007

11:57 AM

10 May 2007

11:57 AM

Tony Blair possessed many of the qualities of a good – perhaps even great – Prime Minister.  He was clever, brave and held deep convictions.  My complaint against him – which amounted to a fundamental and continual criticism of his ten-year premiership – was that his convictions were not those of a social democrat.  He replaced the pursuit of greater equality with the encouragement of meritocracy.  He was essentially the Prime Minister of the middle classes – though the middle class, being an ungrateful section of society, never quite acknowledged how much he had done for them.

The two tragedies of his premiership were Iraq and the obsession with newspaper headlines – the consequence of damage done to previous Labour leaders by an antagonistic press.  The reputation for ‘spin’ produced the lowest point in his Downing Street years.  Patricia Hewitt celebrated "the best year in the history of the NHS".  What she said was true, but nobody believed her.


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