Yesterday, David Cameron offered a punchy response to Tony Blair’s return to the frontline of British politics, saying: “It’s nice to see him make a speech he’s not being paid for”. But I reckon the more stinging rebuke might come today.
Nestled in the schedule at today’s Tory ‘Big Society’ event are two video messages from a couple of the most prominent independent political figures of the Blair era. The first is Anthony Seldon, the reform-minded headmaster of Wellington College, who has written numerous books on Blair, and who has recently done some eyecatching work on the big subject of Trust. And the second is Ray Mallon, the zero-tolerance elected mayor of Middlesbrough, who has been working to help communities and local groups act against youth crime. If I remember correctly, Blair even arranged a photo-op with Mallon on the eve of the 1997 election victory.
In the wider world, these sorta-endorsements are neither here nor there, really. But the Tories will regard them as quite a coup. And, after yesterday, the timing couldn’t have been better.
UPDATE: Anthony Seldon said that "Michael Gove’s reforms have the right idea," and that "they make a change from 60 years of centralised control."
UPDATE 2: Ray Mallon strode purposefully towards camera, endorsing Tory policy for decentralising the police.