Query for John O’S and Andrew: If Blair was so bad, who’d have been better? I don’t mean that at all tendentiously. I’d really like to know which of the plausible alternatives—a continued Tory government under John Major? A Labour government under Gordon Brown? Some other alternative of which this layman is unaware?—would have been better, in the extremely well-informed opinion of my esteemed friends.
It is indeed a pity that Blair proved weaker in international affairs, much less pro-American, and much, much less an advocate of free markets than did Margaret Thatcher. But the Lady has been unavailable for close to 15 years now. Who’d have done better than Tony?
John writes, “[T]hough whatever government follows Blair will doubtless be worse.., the man who has been in charge for eight years cannot entirely duck responsibility for that.” But couldn’t one argue instead that Blair was making the best of a very bad British situation? With the Tories in such utter disarray—and while we’re allocating responsibility, can the Lady herself escape all such for failing to groom a worthy successor?—what right did anyone have to expect anything but a long period of Labour ascendancy? And, absent Blair, an ascendancy headed by a Kinnock-like figure? That is, someone a very great deal farther to the Left than Blair?
I’m even tempted to compare Blair with DeGaulle. Anti-American though DeGaulle may have proven, he saved France from the Left. Hasn’t Blair done at least as much for Britain?
I’m quite willing to be corrected. But I really do insist on hearing which likely alternative—that is, what actual political figure who might plausibly have been prime minister in Blair’s place—would have done any better.