The former prime minister has just publishd his autobiography, called A Journey which refers to his political passage inside the leftwing Labour Party from ordinary MP to prime Minister. Of course, he was never ordinary. He saw, where others did not, that the days of socialism and statism were finished and that the politics of the Labour Party, to which he belonged, had to change also, to keep abreast of the times. Blair discusses how he kept hearing within the party and also within the party's paymasters (The trade Unions) the rhetoric of militant socialism. Blair figured out that what he saw and heard was not a winning electoral platform. He saw this while he was a member of parliament, but few others within the Labour Party or government did. He knew the party had to change and he set about doing just that.
Today Blair says he helped "modernise" the Labour party, meaning he forced it to shuck its Marxist rhetoric, weakened the influence of the trade unions on the party, and insisted, as leader, on a "modernist" approach to politics. There was still enough to differentiate Labour from the Tories, he said, but to be in government, change was necessary and the party could not be seen as the unions' lapdog. Blair had to face down the left-wing in his party and also convince the electorate that the Labour Party was responsible, electable and capable of government.
Blair had great political skills in managing his party and responding to the Tories as well as to his opponents on the left. He was a great communicator, both to his labour party constituents, but to the people of Britain.
He was also a great friend of and admirer of America. Because Blair supported America's war in Iraq, he has taken lots of heat and lefties here have made his book signing appearances uncomfortable.
The book cost 30 euros but it is worth it. At a bookseller here in Dublin, Tony was meant to do some signings, but the left rabble disrupted the whole thing and it was cancelled. So much for free speech in Dublin. I hope Blair makes a fortune with the book.
Blair also makes some less than complimentary comments about his sucessor as PM, Gordon Brown. These juicy tidbits were the grist for the mill of most book reviewers, but the book is more important than just gossip.