James Forsyth

Blair’s prescience

Blair’s prescience
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Cast your mind back to the Seventh of September 2006, the attempt to force Tony Blair to name a date certain for his departure was at its height. Blair was touring a school in North London and afterwards delivered a brief statement to the press, (you can watch it here.)

The opening line of Blair’s statement was pure genius:

“The first thing I’d like to do is to apologise actually on behalf of the Labour Party for the last week, which with everything that’s going on back here and in the world has not been our finest hour to be frank.”

In one sentence, he elevated himself and diminished those who were scheming against him. He went onto deliver a warning that the Labour party has not heeded:

“Now, I also say one other thing after the last week. I think it’s important for the Labour Party to understand and I think the majority of people in the party do understand, that it’s the public that comes first and it’s the country that matters and we can’t treat the public as irrelevant bystanders in a subject as important as who is their PM. So we should just bear that in mind in the way we conduct ourselves in the time to come.”

One of the reasons why it is hard to feel much sympathy for Gordon Brown in the present circumstances is because he spent so long undermining a sitting Prime Minister, he has no moral authority to call for loyalty. There is something deeply ironic about all this talk about round robin letters and rolling resignations, the same tactics that were used against Brown are now being turned on him. It is not hard to imagine that they will be used on his successor too. Once acquired, regicide is a difficult habit to shake.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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