I’ve read quotes from Tony Blair’s much anticipated memoirs, and if they represent the rest of the book (and I’m assured they do), it confirms what we already knew about Blair: That he is a pathological self deceptor, a revisionist historian and a Tory in disguise. Blair essentially written a long defense of his time in power and the New Labour project he gave birth to.
This isn’t to say that he is completely wrong – Blair did many good things in government: The minimum wage, sure start, boosting NHS and school funding, helping bring peace to Northern Ireland and above all, ridding the country of the Tory party that had caused massive damage to large sectors of the population.
But Blair also left behind a legacy that included two illegal and disastrous wars, a tattered economy that was over reliant on the Banking industry, huge wealth inequality, media spin, and a culture of vicious, self indulgent factionalism within his own party.
Tragically, Blair seems to be also backing a continuation of the economic agenda that ruined the economy, focusing on deficit reduction and the continued reliance on the financial sector. The Independent sums up Blair’s fiscal policy thoughts as follows:
Although his successor was “absolutely right” to intervene at the outset of the financial crisis to prop up banks and stimulate the economy, Mr Brown committed an “error” in going down the road of deficit spending, heavy regulation, income tax rises for the rich and big-state government, Mr Blair wrote.
Writes Polly Toynbee:
So what happened? A Journey is a re-writing of history, events seen through the rear-view mirror from a man who hitched his wagon to the Bush neocons and learned some of their tunes. This is history written from his new perch in several banking board rooms, claiming Labour lost because of the 50% tax on 1% richest of the population – a rare indisputably popular act by Gordon Brown.
Unable to see the carnage that he helped create with his potent mixture of liberal imperialism and free market economics, Blair has attempted to re tell history to justify his part and paint a picture that no one (other than his neo con friends in America) believes to be remotely true.
The Tories have rightly claimed that Blair agrees with their economic policies, effectively consigning Blair’s contribution to the debate, along with his views on foreign policy to the rubbish heap of history.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.