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British Prime Minister Tony Charles Lynton Blair

Politics-World Tony Blair

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#1 Ilphi

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Posted 29 April 2003 - 10:23 PM

Quote

From 10 Downing Street
The son of a barrister and lecturer, Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh, but spent most of his childhood in Durham. At the age of 14 he returned to Edinburgh to finish his education at Fettes College. He studied law at Oxford, and went on to become a barrister himself.

After standing unsuccessfully for the Labour Party in a by-election, Blair went on to win the seat of Sedgefield in the 1983 General Election, aged 30.

Tony Blair made a speedy rise through the ranks, being promoted first to the shadow Treasury front bench in 1984. He subsequently served as a trade and industry spokesman, before being elected to the Shadow Cabinet in 1988 where he was made Shadow Secretary of State for Energy. In 1989 he moved to the employment brief.

After the 1992 election Labour's new leader, John Smith, promoted Blair to Shadow Home Secretary. It was in this post that Blair made famous his pledge that Labour would be tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.

John Smith died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1994, and in the subsequent leadership contest Tony Blair won a large majority of his party's support.

Blair immediately launched his campaign for the modernisation of the Labour Party, determined to complete the shift further towards the political centre which he saw as essential for victory. The debate over Clause 4 of the party's constitution was considered the crucial test of whether its members would commit to Blair's project. He removed the commitment to public ownership, and at this time coined the term New Labour.
The Labour Party won the 1997 General Election by a landslide, after 18 years in Opposition. At the age of 43 , Tony Blair became the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in 1812.

The government began to implement a far-reaching programme of constitutional change, putting the question of devolution to referendums in Scotland and Wales.

An elected post of Mayor of London was established at the head of a new capital-wide authority, and all but 92 hereditary peers were removed from the House of Lords in the first stage of its reform. The government has also implemented an investment programme of £42 billion in its priority areas of health and education.
Tony Blair was re-elected with another landslide majority in the 2001 General Election.

He is married to the barrister Cherie Booth QC, and they have four children. Their youngest, Leo, was the first child born to a serving Prime Minister in over 150 years.

I am posting this thread because I am very interested in collecting opinions from other members of England, Great Britain, America, the Commonwealth, and other worldwide areas on the current British PM.

My personal opinion of the man has varied. I have always been supporting Liberal Democrats party, but as a government that has undergone some tough crises (The Foot and Mouth Epidemic, NHS Issues as well as the current global military and economic unrest) and come out on top. While Japan, Germany and France's economy shows some serious concerns, although the Pounds value has steadily slipped the British economy continues straight and is current experiencing the "Baghdad Bounce", as it has been labeled.

To me, currently, the Conservatives (Tory's) do not merit much attention. I respect their Local policy action, which I have seen the active result of – A road was stopped being closed in my area and they are the only party that has bothered to leaflet me for the upcoming local elections, but as a whole I still believe the party lacks a strong policy, choosing more to defy the New Labor government without serious justification. I also cannot condone the 20% cuts "across the board" the Tory's plan.

Moving onto political times, I believe he worked hard to attempt to secure international support for the war on Iraq and has raised the public profile of the coalition. I believe him to be, for lack of a better phrase, a "good man" with a strong social conscience and a shrewd political sense.

I'd like to open the floor and hear other people's opinions. Is he, as I have heard some Americans describe;
Finally a "Man in Europe who has his ass in gear" (Yes I have heard that one) or "Bush's lapdog?" (That one too.)

Edited by Certifiably Cait, 26 August 2012 - 03:22 PM.

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Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at His word.
And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
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#2 Talkie Toaster

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 12:02 AM

I think Blair's foreign policy has been pretty good; in particular I greatly respect his decision to back Bush and remove Saddam despite a great deal of opposition. I don't think he can be accused of being Bush's lapdog either- Blair insisted on going through the UN initially IIRC.

OTOH, I have not been greatly impressed Labour's domestic policy. As a student I have not been greatly impressed with the introduction of AS levels (having exams four months after we start Sixth form. Nice one!). A failure to properly fund the armed forces given how much work they are doing also seems somewhat criminal- a recent example is a big cut in active forces so that the army can be modernized without a budget rise. This does seem rather short sighted to me, especially considering that the army wasn't able to send reinforcement due to manpower constraints (this due to the firefighter strikes).

On balance though, I think he's alright.
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#3 Delvo

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 12:48 AM

In the USA, not a lot of news from other countries gets to us. (We can get it, but only if we devote extra time and effort to find it and select which of that huge mass of info is worthy of our attention; there's little that comes through already in our "normal" everyday news sources.) I knew who Blair was before the war came up, but don't know enough of British politics to say anything about him.

American support for the recent military actions is running in the upper 70s to lower 80s, per cent, and with it goes a similar degree of positive feeling for our allies, among whom Britain under Blair has been the best we could ever ask for, sometimes movingly so.

There's one way I'd rather have him in charge here than Bush: He states his cases much more thoroughly and eloquently. There've been many objections to the war that were ludicrous to the core and easy to smash with a well-done argument, but Bush didn't do it. He's honest, but he speaks too simply and can give the appearance of failing to really put down his opposition's arguments. As I watched Blair speak a few times, I kept thinking "I wish more American objectors could hear this! Then they'd get it!" Blair is also the only politician whose words have ever put tears in my eyes.

For all I know, maybe he's a disaster in every way other than this war. I also have a handful of heavy objections to Bush on issues other than that one as well, but that's obviously the dominant issue that national leaders are getting judged on these days...

#4 Godeskian

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 01:19 AM

Delvo,

I agree that Blair may be the most eloquent Prime Minister in a long time, but the problem from the british perspective is he's all talk and no action

he came to power under 'tough on crime and the causes of crime'
the crime rate has nearly doubled since then, with violent crimes being the highest riser

he got re-elected with the slogan 'education, education, education' Teachers are being harrased by everyone, and more quit every day, some people are even sending their children overseas to study because of the abysmal standards of education

he has promised to fix the public services, despite the fact that people lay in the hospital admittance wards sometimes for over 24 hours before they are even seen, let alone treated. We've had fire strikes, teachers strikes, bus drivers strikes. Railroads don't have to strike, they barely run as it is.

I'd like to see him talk less and do more.

Defy Gravity!


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#5 QuiGon John

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Posted 30 April 2003 - 08:40 PM

As an American who knows (admittedly) almost nothing of Blair's domestic policy, I don't know what my opinion is worth.  But I can tell you I'd take him over Bush in a second.  I've been very impressed by the snippets of Blair we've seen over here since 9/11.

Maybe, as Godeskian says, that's just the man's eloquence, and I'd hate his policies.  But as I have my issues with Bush's eloquence and his policies... ;)

#6 Delvo

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 04:07 AM

As for Blair's failures to act on his words, I could easily imagine counterarguments for each of them, but using them would depend on my actually knowing the facts. The list just reminds me of the kinds of things that someone's political opponents over here would say about him/her, even if they were false or deliberately horribly misleading in their implications. So all I can do about them is keep my mouth shut. :mellow:

#7 Godeskian

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 08:29 AM

Oh i'm sure there are counterarguments, but at the same time, as far as i've ben able to ascertain facts, they are true as well

I am trying to avoid rethoric here as i expect there are far more vitrolic opponents of the current goverment  who tend to do that for me.

Personally, i think Mr. Blair is probably the best party leader out of the available ones, however i'm not convinced he cares more about Britain that he does about the world at large, and that's something i find a failure in a leader.

but to be honest, i'm politically hostile, i don't like any of them,

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The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.


#8 Enmar

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 01:56 PM

I like Blair very much and it has nothing to do with the war.

I think he's an interesting mixture - he understands modern politics and media, unlike former UK PMs. But unlike the American way, he always goes into details and he actually knows them! You might hear some short catchy sentences his PR advisors probably wrote, but they will always be followed by explanation. And he answers questions, he doesn't go around them like other politicians do. He talks at length at committees, parliament sessions that are broadcasted ect.

But he doesn't always follow the public opinion, I think the war didn't have majority support when he said the UK will help the US.

He's dealing with some sensitive stuff, as UK relationship with the EU, the war, the monarchy, and he's doing pretty well, considering how problematic these issues are for the British people. I have to admit I never tried to check into a hospital in the UK, but at least he's talking about them. It's a start. I also understand that he inherited a very problematic train and roads system and, again, he's trying. Gode, is London doing better or worse since the charging system was introduced?

So I like Blair, but keep in mind that:
1. I donˇt have to live there
2. I have Sharon. Everyone is better  than him :p

Edited by Enmar, 01 May 2003 - 01:56 PM.

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#9 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 05:09 PM

Godeskian, on May 1 2003, 01:19 AM, said:

Personally, i think Mr. Blair is probably the best party leader out of the available ones, however i'm not convinced he cares more about Britain that he does about the world at large, and that's something i find a failure in a leader.
The thing is, any national leader  who ignores the fact that international concerns can have a big impact on domestic ones is ignoring a central.  S/he has to care about what's going on in the world.

Isolationism really isn't a viable option for nations any more.  If it ever really was.

Ro

#10 Jid

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 06:41 PM

I can't really say much on Tony Blair, save what I know of his foreign relations through the Canadian media, which tends to show a bit of British news, still being officially part of the commonwealth.

He strikes me as quite smart, astute, and more in touch with modern concerns and the like.

Of course, he like most humans, does seem to have his flaws, which, imo, make him an even better leader - he's human, and can relate to us other humans.

(Nothing against British Aristocracy - I just find them stuffy and out of touch)
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#11 Godeskian

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 08:01 PM

Ro-Astarte, on May 1 2003, 02:59 PM, said:

Isolationism really isn't a viable option for nations any more.  If it ever really was.
no, it isn't

neither is focussing on the world to the total exclusion of the country he was elected to run.

Defy Gravity!


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#12 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 08:07 PM

Godeskian, on May 1 2003, 12:51 PM, said:

neither is focussing on the world to the total exclusion of the country he was elected to run.
I'm not current on the British domestic scene.

What, in your estimation, is the PM ignoring?

Ro

#13 the 'Hawk

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 08:35 PM

There's five things I know about Tony Blair.

1) His wife is named Cherie.

2) He's better looking than Chretien.

3) He's more eloquent than Bush.

4) He's got really good taste in suits.

5) He has a presence that'd make me vote for him just based on the image he presents.

There's five things I don't hear a lot of from Britain that tell me he's a good leader.

1) Tales of popular dissent. Contary to what the Clash would have you believe, London is not calling. ;) There were big anti-war protests in Britain, but they were as much anti-Bush and anti-corporate as they were anti-Blair.

2) Strong opposition giving him political problems. Seems like he has a fairly sizeable support, in that no one's calling him out.

3) Notable or newsworthy persons criticizing his policy. I think the only person I've ever heard criticize Tony Blair in any way (save the "poodle" nonsense) was George Michael, and possibly one of the Spice Girls. Like I said, no one notable or newsworthy. Compare that to, say, Bush. Did somebody say Dixie Chicks?

4) Tales of impending British crisis, at home or abroad. The British soldiers acquitted themselves admirably both as an ally of the United States, as a nation of Europe and as a member of the United Nations. And Tony Blair doesn't seem to have any pressing domestic problems that I've ever heard of, unlike Bush or Chretien who are getting it daily in the press here over the economy.

5) A sense of direction being lost, or being forced. Unlike Canada (where we are literally adrift without rudder until the lame duck steps down), Blair seems to have a clear grip on the reins of his nation --while at the same time not exploiting his popularity in order to forward an agenda (like Bush's tax cuts or the war on Iraq or the PATRIOT acts).

And I didn't even get into sex scandals, arms deals, etc., all of which do happen in Britain, I'm sure-- they just don't happen involving Tony Blair. He's a clean politician. Better than Chretien by far.

All told, it's the stuff you don't hear about a politician that can mean as much as the stuff you do. And when it comes to popular federal politics.... silence truly is golden.

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#14 Kevin Street

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Posted 01 May 2003 - 10:24 PM

I know very little about Tony Blair outside of his part in the current war, but from what I've seen he seems like a decent man.

I think it's ultimately pointless, but his reasons for supporting the war (preserving England's "special relationship" with America and making sure that Britain still has some influence on current events) are decent ones. It was Blair who got Bush to go to the UN first, and the current Israeli/Palestinian "roadmap to peace" would have withered on the vine without his influence. He supported the war against the objections of his people and his own party, so you can't say the man isn't brave. He's the last real internationalist with any ability to influence American policy, so his strategy seems quite wise, at least so far.

The future may change that view, though.
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#15 Uncle Sid

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 03:20 AM

I'll be honest, like others, and say that I know little detail about domestic issues in the UK.  My view of Tony Blair is basically this:  he seems like a good person and a good leader.  Of course, I probably wouldn't vote for him over the Tories, but if he won, I wouldn't feel like the country was in serious danger.  

As a matter of general policy, I just regard leaders as visible figureheads for the policies that they represent anyhow, so personal attributes don't really impress or faze me that much.  As smart or dumb as a national leader might be, they really can't buck the trends that put them in power.  That's why I shrug when people make fun of Bush and think that should somehow make me less inclined to vote for him next Election Day.  I could care less if he bumbles a speech here or there as long as he ensures that the policies I want implimented get pushed through.  I'd have voted for a golden retriever over Al Gore, for instance, as long as the dog put his pawprint on the laws I wanted passed and barked menacingly at people like Saddam Hussein.  Of course, your standard golden retriever is fifteen times more charismatic than Al Gore, so that might be diluting my point, but you get my drift.

It seems to me that Tony Blair is probably at least three times more charismatic than Al Gore, and probably not a crook like Nixon or Clinton, so I'm all for him...as long as he doesn't end up on a ballot in front of me.  I certainly admire his bravery in standing up for his position despite internal opposition and wish him all the best.
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#16 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 03:42 AM

I for one can’t comment too much on the internal domestic issues of the UK.  Short of getting into a gun control debate over the crime level in the United Kingdom I don’t have too much to add there.  That said I think Tony Blair seems to be a good man generally compared to most politicians.  I might not agree with many of his politics but he faced off against some very formidable odds to support the United States.  Not many politicians would be so willing to aid an ally and do what they felt is right if it meant their career might be over.  He is a fairly eloquent fellow but he isn’t a Churchill by any measure.  I think I’d take Maggie Thatcher over Blair.  
    
Kevin, I think you are vastly underestimating Powell here.  Blair got Bush to try to return for a second resolution but 1441 seems to be Powell’s baby.
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#17 Delvo

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 03:44 AM

Uncle Sid, on May 1 2003, 07:10 PM, said:

I certainly admire his bravery in standing up for his position despite internal opposition and wish him all the best.
I do hear this one a lot, but I have to wonder whether it was bravery and self-sacrifice against its seemingly sure negative consequences to him personally, or foresight that events would eventually reveal wide support for his decisions that lay hidden to the pollsters before anything had happened yet. I certainly can't be the only genius in the world brilliant enough to have seen that coming all along. :satisfied:

#18 Uncle Sid

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 03:59 AM

Well, I think that there was some support waiting to show itself, especially after the quick and easy win, but that support would not have materialized if things had not gone well.  Although I knew and most likely Blair knew that we'd run over Hussein's regime like a steamroller, anything could have happened in terms of subsidiary events to turn this into a nightmare for him.  

So, was there self-interest?  Sure, but standing up against opposition when you don't have any interests involved is not called brave, it's called "stupid".  Although many like to think that humanitarian gestures should be selfless expressions without any material gains required, you don't commit resources and lives to anything unless you can get something back for it.  Otherwise, you're wasting the lives and the resources that you've spent.  Still, going for the brass ring is not always easy and does require bravery to resist falling into the mediocre wait-and-see position that he could have set a course for in order to quell rebellion in his party.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey

#19 Kevin Street

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Posted 02 May 2003 - 06:04 AM

CJ AEGIS, on May 1 2003, 07:32 PM, said:

Kevin, I think you are vastly underestimating Powell here.  Blair got Bush to try to return for a second resolution but 1441 seems to be Powell’s baby.
That's a good point. :)
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#20 Aurelius

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 01:13 AM

I've always liked Tony Blair. He seems to be a man of firm convictions with a genuine desire to do the right thing. I don't know a huge amount about the inner politics of Britain and it's government, but I do know that he's been instrumental in the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

Without him (or for that matter, without the various Irish Taoisigh), that process would never have gotten off the ground, let alone get to the stage it's at. Blair has played a massive role in it.

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