Tony Blair transformed Britain, but he cared more about the limelight than the Labour Partyby Ferdinand Mount / March 24, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
In history, as in private life, short-term memory is the first thing to go.
How the immediate past slips from our grasp, how hard it is to recapture exactly what it felt like at the time. What were they like to live through, the Tony Blair years, even now not 10 years gone? What I remember is a certain easy-going quality, a genuine public relaxation, along with the silly bits (Cool Britannia, the wobbly bridge, the Dome). The tensions that had racked British society from the late 1960s onwards slackened, if only for the time being. I don’t mean just that there were no strikes to speak of, very few riots—though there weren’t. Nor that there were no domestic economic crises, though there weren’t any of those either.
I mean more generally that the problems of governing Britain appeared less daunting and insoluble, that life began to seem a little easier to handle. And this was true for most of us, because while the…