He could have been great, you know.

We could be sitting here now, raising a glass to the end of the reign of Britain’s greatest Prime Minister of the (loosely-bounded) century, if not ever. It wouldn’t have been hard. Look at the two before him: after they had finished their slash-and-burn attack on the economy and the welfare state, all he’d have had to do was put it back together, and things would have got better

And they did do some good; some things did get better. I’ve spoken before about my approval of the Human Rights Act, and despite its current problems, the NHS is, on the whole, in a better state than it was. And the economy has seen a kind and duration of stability that you just don’t get under the Tories (never trust a right-winger with your economy: they’re all about “invisible hands”, and they just don’t know how to run it properly; just look at the way Bush threw away the trillions that Clinton left him).

And the Africa thing. A real attempt at ending poverty in Africa. Now that would have been a legacy worth having.

But here we are, now. He’s squandered all the goodwill he had ten years ago, taken the country into an illegal war, and taken massively Orwellian steps towards the reduction of civil liberties. In years to come, when you search the net for the phrase “power corrupts”, you’ll find a picture of Tony Blair.

Don’t bang the door on your way out, Tony, and goodbye.

[tags]politics, tony blair, legacy, irag illegal war, id cards, power corrupts, new labour, things can only get better, 1997[/tags]