Blair notes that he was the only leader of the Labour party to win three successive elections. He also declares some of the major successes his New Labour party had – including the minimum wage, civil partnerships and devolution. He also defended Labour’s cosy relationship with the financial sector. Blair said “yes, we forged a strong link with the private sector” but stated that that was necessary for a strong, growing economy.
However, Blair fails to state the personal gain that architects of New Labour received from these “strong links”. Blair is a multimillionaire and has received millions from investment banks and financial services companies since he resigned as prime minister. This week, Blair’s former colleagues Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown have both landed jobs at top investment firms.
Also, New Labour’s over-reliance on the under-regulated and risky financial sector meant the UK suffered a severe recession. New Labour bailed out the banks that had got away with reckless lending and enabled the coalition government, in 2010, to inflict austerity onto the poorest in society. Even Margaret Thatcher considered her greatest legacy to be “New Labour”. Blair also fails to address the fact that the New Labour government was not tough on corporations and the rich avoiding tax. Without such avoidance, the revenue generated could have wiped out the deficit.
He failed to mention Iraq once, but did assert his obsession with Islamist extremism saying: “I became convinced that Islamist extremism was the security issue of our time”. His blog fails to consider the impact that his wars had on the growth of Islamist extremism.
Before the invasion of Iraq, al-Qaida in Iraq (the group that evolved into ISIS/Daesh), did not exist. Now Daesh has emerged to fill the power vacuums that Blair’s war in Iraq created. Blair had been reluctant for a long time to link the war in Iraq with the rise of Daesh, but now he, at least, acknowledges the link. Another failed war that Blair jumped into head first was Afghanistan, where the Islamist extremists in the form of the Taliban, and now Daesh, are flourishing.
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