As the aim of this blog says there will be, from time to time, a bit of politics. So dear blogees if your not up for it or are deeply offended by any remark vaguely complimentary of our last Prime Minister (i.e., the one we voted for rather than the one we had hoisted upon us) Tony Blair then read no further.
On its website the BBC asked the following questions: 'Did you watch Ed Miliband's speech? Does the Labour party need to move away from the policies of the Blair-Brown era?' It then said: 'Send us your comments.'
Nuff said. That's what I did. But, in the sure and certain knowledge that nothing gets past the moderators that is mildly complimentary about Tony Blair (the BBC never ever forgave him for the trouncing provided by the Hutton Committee Report) I will put my comment up here.
It goes as follows:
There was a Blair era and there was a Brown era, the difference was that the former got many things right, the latter got most things wrong. Blair's instinct was to bring the private sector into a more productive relationship with the public sector. He broke the notion that public supply entails monopoly provision and opened up the provision of public services to competition. He did not go far enough and we now know why – Brown.
Brown was resistant to much of this reforming agenda and it was Brown's 'old labour' instincts that were his undoing. The electorate disabused him of the belief that he was worthy to stand in Blair’s shoes but before that happened he managed to botch the financial crisis turning it into a disaster. His solution, after bizarrely forcing the merger of Lloyds TSB and HBOS, was to fall back on the old labour solution - nationalisation. With that he converted private debt into public debt and in so doing crashed the economy.
No one knows how Blair would have dealt with it. I suspect he might have figured out that if the government had made it clear right at the beginning that it would unconditionally secure bank deposits then much of the subsequent pain would have been avoided. A warning that any bank that (a) abused the guarantee, and (b) didn't quickly get its capital account in order would be broken up , would have done the trick.
Ed Milliband, like Brown, is an unreconstructed socialist. Middle Britain will not entertain a return to the failed policies of old-labour. He will vacate the genuine middle ground for Cameron and his belief that the middle ground is where he declares it to be will be shown to be what it is: delusional.
PS: I have just finished reading TB's 'The Journey'. It's a very interesting tale. Blair is summarised in most people's mind by the word 'Iraq'. Putting that aside – I do not wish to offend you even more than I have already - what I found most interesting was the very personal (and I think very honest) telling of what it is like to take on the burden of the highest political office. Few books – especially written by politicians - allow you to get inside the author’s skin and see the world as they see it. Blair does that and you cannot do that if you are a liar.