So Tony Blair has finally announced he’s standing down as Prime Minister. There will be a lot of people who will be pleased by this news and a few who will be mourning. The main fault that Blair made was a failure to manage expectations. He wanted, no he needed the landslide back in 1997. And while part of that was the utter collapse of the Tories, part of it was the vision of him sweeping in and changing things. Weirdly, for an often quite conservative country, the charge that people seem to be levelling at him is that he didn’t change enough. Well that and Iraq, Iraq will hang round his neck for many a year.
In Blair’s farewell speech he said that he had been privileged to run the greatest nation in the world. My first thought when he said that was, “what? America?” It’s not that I don’t think that Briton is great, it’s simply that normally Americans say things like that and the British don’t. If Blair had meant that it would make a lot of sense too. I wish he had said something like this, but I know he couldn’t – and might not even believe it: “Remember back when Bill Clinton was in charge of America? Well back then I used to have time to do all kinds of stuff for Britain domestically. But since America in their infinite wisdom elected Num-Nutts over there I’ve spent half my time hiding the ‘Red Button’ from George in meetings. I’d love to say I had time for the NHS, but just imagine how bad the world would have been if I hadn’t stopped Bush as much as I did. You can thank me for it later.” That would have been probably the only thing that could have saved his reputation nationally.
But as I say the main problem is expectation. In fact a lot of the problems come from the D:Ream song “Things can only get better”. That should have been seen as a sign, ie., “We’re not really going to do much, but we can’t do as badly as our predecessor” but apparently people didn’t hear the song in that way. As it says on the Peter Cunah (the song’s composer’s) wikipedia page: ‘Famously, however, “Things Can Only Get Better” was to enjoy a further life, this time as a political anthem, which would lead New Labour’s 1997 election landslide.’ Yes it was D:Ream wot won it!
Anyway here’s this from Don’t Watch That, Watch This: