29 January 2010

The tragedy for the Labour party

As Tony Blair returns to the centre of the national stage for one last time, Martin Kettle says what will be running through the minds of a few of us as his evidence unfolds:

The level of hyperbole has been raised so high, and the level of Blair-hatred is so intense in some quarters, that anyone who says "Yes, but" about Blair and his era struggles to make themselves heard, much less have themselves taken seriously.

Yet heard we should be. And heard we probably still are – by rather more people than some may credit – the further one journeys away from medialand self-absorption and the rantings of parts of the blogosphere, I suspect. Only 29% of voters think Iraq was Blair's fault, said a PoliticsHome poll last night. The issue plays less in the hard-grind Britain that elected Blair and his party three times and that – who knows? – might even elect him again if it had the chance.

That is the true tragedy of what has happened, not only for the Labour party, but for everyone else.  Blair may well have won that elusive fourth term.

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