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Why the return of Tony Blair isn’t worth worrying about

By Sunny Hundal
July 13th 2012




Tony Blair is back, the media reported yesterday, like he ever went away and left us in peace.

To say I’m not a fan of Blair would be an understatement, but even I can’t be bothered to get into the endless arguments about him on Twitter. Mehdi Hasan covered the myths around Blair in March.

My point here is merely to say to those worried this marks the return of the anti-christ – RELAX. He’s not coming back.

The media love regurgitating the ‘return of Blair’ every few months, but most people have missed the point again – Blair was invited to a fund-raiser.

In essence, Ed Miliband is tapping Tony Blair to get more donations into the party and ease the party’s cash crunch.

Blair likes feeling important so he obliges, in the hope he remains in the limelight for a bit longer and someone asks his view on policy. But even he said last night: “So Ed, you don’t need my advice but you will have my support.”

This marks a coup for Ed Miliband, who has managed to disavow many of Blair’s policies (and Iraq of course) without sparking a civil war within the party. Miliband now has to walk a tightrope to ensure that Blair’s support doesn’t actually turn off more voters than it attracts.

There may be more such events. But I’m fairly confident on one point: Blair will have very little impact on policy. This is partly because Jon Cruddas – who had become disgusted with Blairism after 2001 – is in charge of policy review.

And it’s also because Miliband has his own direction. For example, this is what he said recently at the Fabian Summer conference:

For too long, we have had an economy that works for a few at the top but not for most working people. And after the dramatic revelations of the last couple of days nobody can be in any doubt about the scale of the problem.

Let’s remember first why the scandals at the banks matter. It’s about the family struggling to make ends meet and pay their mortgage. And finding it harder because someone in the City is cheating and fiddling the system and celebrating with a bottle of Bollinger.

Those are not the words Tony Blair would use. The point is, the party has moved on. Tony Blair is slowly realising that times have moved on, and he’s merely trying to stay relevant within them.

Originally publishd by Liberal Conspiracy

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