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The penny drops

Blair ran rings around us, but we have finally learnt to deal with New Labour

By David Willetts   October 2006

It was one of those conferences where politicians and advisers get together to discuss some key issue on Chatham House terms. After dinner, two of Tony Blair’s brightest advisers set me the challenge of coming up with a mainstream Tory statement which Tony Blair could not possibly make. It was tough: they had put into his mouth just about every possible Tory sentiment. (Eventually we came up with: “Accountability to parliament is at the heart of British democracy”; we all agreed he could not possibly say that.)

That is just a personal example of the wider strategic challenge Tony Blair…

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