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> Tony Blair's autobiography.
GMR
post Oct 5 2010, 08:29 PM
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Somebody put a thread up about Blair's autobiography when it came out (it might have even been me) so I said when I've read it I'll review it. So here goes;



A Journey by Tony Blair. An autobiography.

Let me state at the outset that I am no fan of Blair's: he turned this country into an Orwellian Big brother society, cocked up education, over spent (partly contributing to the recession) and law and order went out of control (one of the reasons of this was him bringing in the European Human Rights legislation that empowered the criminal and did nothing for the good citizen). He was also too pro European (luckily he was restrained). The good points was reforming Old labour and removing clause 4. The Irish problem and I agreed with him over Iraq (even though I had reservations of Americas handling of the aftermath).

When I first heard that he was having an autobiography out I thought 'I won't be getting it.' I'd rather wait until the historians brought their books out. But alas, I acquiesced and I am glad I did. It was a very interesting read. His style was unique; very blokish, like he is having a chat with you. He goes backwards and forward. Not like normal political biographies or autobiographies.

A quick synopsis

The book is his time in politics, starting with becoming the leader of the Labour party through to his resignation and thoughts on his successor. His reasoning why he changed the labour party was very sound, and with hindsight very right. There was no place in modern society for 'Old Labour'.

Blair records his thoughts about his often difficult relationship with his Chancellor (Gordon Brown), whom he depicts as a "strange guy" who had "zero" emotional intelligence, and says of himself and Brown as "like a couple who loved each other, arguing over whose career should come first". In the book he says that he had promised Brown in 2003 he would resign before the next general election, but later changed his mind. But the reasons for this were Brown's unhelpfulness and obstreperous and arrogant ways. He accuses Gordon of blackmail, claiming that he threatened to call for a Labour Party inquiry into the cash for honours affair during an argument over pension policy, and goes on to say that Tony was behind the decision to hand control of interest rates to the Bank of England rather than Brown. He also blames Brown on Labour's defeat this year. If he hadn't abandoned 'new labour's' policies he would have won the election. On a good note; just, he says that Brown was a very good chancellor and a 'committed public servant.'

The Iraq affair will interest most peoples, but as I said, above I agreed on the invasion. Saddam had to be overthrown. Blair presenting evidence that Saddam Hussein had not abandoned the strategy of WMD, merely made a tactical decision to play games with the west. Blair says that he would make the same choice again if he had came across the same problems with Iran. In other words if that country develops nuclear weapons it will change the balance of power of the Middle East to the region's detriment and the west must go in.

He talks quite a bit about the royal family, Diana.

Also in the book Tony Blair claims that he had premonition that his predecessor, John Smith, would die less than a month before he did (I would imagine God played a part in this). Blair then goes on to say that he believed or knew that he would be the one to succeed John Smith as Labour leader, and not Gordon Brown, who was favourite at the time.

He talks about his guilt over decisions he made concerning Peter Mandelson, such as forcing Mandy to resign from Government.

The last chapter of the book is a assessment of Labour Party policy and discusses the party's future, with Blair warning the future labour leader – now known as Ed Milliband that to remain electable then labour should continue with the policies of New Labour and not return to the left-wing policies of the past. I wonder what he thinks of Red Ed?

Over all a very good book. Better than I expected.

I've already got Petery Mandelson/s book to read and another on Blair, Mandelson and Brown.
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Darren
post Oct 5 2010, 08:44 PM
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Sorry, but the bold italics makes that difficult to read, so I've not bothered.
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GMR
post Oct 5 2010, 08:55 PM
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QUOTE (Darren @ Oct 5 2010, 09:44 PM) *
Sorry, but the bold italics makes that difficult to read, so I've not bothered.


Is that better?
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Simon Kirby
post Oct 5 2010, 09:02 PM
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QUOTE (GMR @ Oct 5 2010, 09:29 PM) *
one of the reasons of this was him bringing in the European Human Rights legislation that empowered the criminal and did nothing for the good citizen

I suspect it's a thread of it's own really, but do you know what the Convention Rights are?


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GMR
post Oct 5 2010, 09:10 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Oct 5 2010, 10:02 PM) *
I suspect it's a thread of it's own really, but do you know what the Convention Rights are?



The European Convention on Human Rights is supposed to be an international treaty to protect human rights and basic independence in Europe. The bill was drafted in 1950 by the Council of Europe. That convention entered into force in 1953.

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Iommi
post Oct 5 2010, 09:26 PM
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In other words: were were already 'payed up members'. 1998 meant it could be read in the UK rather than taking it to Europe.
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GMR
post Oct 5 2010, 09:31 PM
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QUOTE (Iommi @ Oct 5 2010, 10:26 PM) *
On other words, were were already 'payed up members'. 1998 meant it could be read in the UK rather than taking it to Europe.


You could say that. However, the point was that is benefited the criminal classes the most. Granted it did/ does help certain groups (but it is argued that those groups would have already been helped anyway). You often now hear the mantra "my Human Rights" when the criminal classes are challenged or arrested. Sadly the same doesn't apply to the victims.
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Simon Kirby
post Oct 5 2010, 10:11 PM
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QUOTE (GMR @ Oct 5 2010, 10:10 PM) *
The European Convention on Human Rights is supposed to be an international treaty to protect human rights and basic independence in Europe. The bill was drafted in 1950 by the Council of Europe. That convention entered into force in 1953.

No, I mean specifically which of the Convention Rights empowed the criminal, and can't you think of any that have done anything for the good citizen?


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Iommi
post Oct 5 2010, 11:55 PM
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QUOTE (GMR @ Oct 5 2010, 10:31 PM) *
You could say that. However, the point was that is benefited the criminal classes the most. Granted it did/ does help certain groups (but it is argued that those groups would have already been helped anyway). You often now hear the mantra "my Human Rights" when the criminal classes are challenged or arrested. Sadly the same doesn't apply to the victims.

I understand what you are trying to say, but I find your rhetoric a little simplistic. The truth is, criminals have equal rights in law, regardless of their behaviour. The act prevents certain treatment of its constituents from the state. The act signed in 1998 was logical because we had the same rights anyway. The 1998 act just meant that UK courts could sit in judgement instead of Strasbourg. However; one can still appeal to Strasbourg in the right circumstances.
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Iommi
post Oct 6 2010, 12:10 AM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Oct 5 2010, 11:11 PM) *
No, I mean specifically which of the Convention Rights empowed the criminal, and can't you think of any that have done anything for the good citizen?

Article 8 - the right to a family life? A number of violent criminals have survived deportation attempts by the Government because of it.
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Darren
post Oct 6 2010, 12:45 AM
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Back to the subject.... wink.gif

It's very easy to sit in judgement of someone who has done a job that in the last 50 years only 10 others have had the privilege (or pain) of doing. I have no real frame of reference with which to judge whether he was a good or bad Prime Minister.

Everyone who has sat in that position has to make really difficult decisions, knowing full well that no matter what they do, it will be wrong for some.

Go to war knowing that there will be a cost in life for those who we send into harms way.
Not go to war and let a thoroughly evil man continue to oppress the majority of the population and threaten his neighbours.

I wonder what Chamberlain and Churchill would have said to him?

It's easy to vilify someone from your armchair, but if you were in that position, what would you have done?
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On the edge
post Oct 6 2010, 06:48 AM
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GMRs summary seems to confirm that Tony Blair was exactly what he appeared. Nothing wrong with that and it fits our now 'presidential' style of politics. Taking away how and what actually happened - Blair was the most successful labour leader since the party started. He won three elections on the trot, with good majorities. Doubtless and as the book suggests that was because his style was in tune with the party and the people at the same time. Doesn't matter how shallow the personality or the commitment to the cause - it worked. Yes, pure marketing, but for the party faithful - in power for a long time. In my view, Tony Blair is the Stanley Baldwin of modern politics - party (or simply the need to keep it in power) before people. I also suspect that history will be much kinder to Gordon Brown. After all he nearly did it and after three Labour wins - didn't matter who he was - the odds were stacked heavily against. A bit like Alex Douglas Home - who everyone thought an abject failure - really? again against all the odds, nearly there in 1964. All said and done, Gordon is probably the more rounded and creditable character. A steadfast and reliable person - to whom the cause is more important. Remember, I'm talking about the person not the policies. I hope the superficial views don't stick and that GB doesn't end up like Philip Snowden in the 30's - besmerched simply because he was the abrasive Dennis Healey of the day but without the theatrical personality to match. So what would Churchill have said - keep on writing - history belongs to those who write the record, as WSC did and well knew! Will I read the book? No; GMR has confirmed = you can read Tony easily anyway!.


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dannyboy
post Oct 6 2010, 08:43 AM
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GMRs summary seems to confirm that Tony Blair was exactly what he appeared. Nothing wrong with that and it fits our now 'presidential' style of politics

hardly surprising from a man who lived in a political age of spin.
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Iommi
post Oct 6 2010, 09:09 AM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Oct 6 2010, 07:48 AM) *
I also suspect that history will be much kinder to Gordon Brown. After all he nearly did it and after three Labour wins - didn't matter who he was - the odds were stacked heavily against.

I'm not sure history will be that kind. His greatest ability was to spread the tax burden so broad, no one really worried too much about it. What we already know though is he was up to his neck in spin as any other new Labour minister, if not even worse. He was devisive and self centered - he 'needed' to be Priminister and that was partly his downfall; so much so he bottled the election that would have given him the mandate he needed to maintain his premiership. GB was one of the people that is a great general, but a poor leader.

As for TB, is it true that fewer people voted for him than John Major in his last election?
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GMR
post Oct 6 2010, 04:34 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Oct 5 2010, 11:11 PM) *
No, I mean specifically which of the Convention Rights empowed the criminal, and can't you think of any that have done anything for the good citizen?



Many criminals use the 'Human Rights legislation' to give them a helping hand. As for the 'good citizen'; granted there are some who have, no doubt, benefited. But they are a very small minority. Those that are political agitators it has helped.

A recent report (in the Times last year) stated that the criminal classes have benefited more from the HRL than the ordinary citizen.
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GMR
post Oct 6 2010, 04:36 PM
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QUOTE (Iommi @ Oct 6 2010, 12:55 AM) *
I understand what you are trying to say, but I find your rhetoric a little simplistic. The truth is, criminals have equal rights in law, regardless of their behaviour. The act prevents certain treatment of its constituents from the state. The act signed in 1998 was logical because we had the same rights anyway. The 1998 act just meant that UK courts could sit in judgement instead of Luxembourg. However; one can still appeal to Luxembourg in the right circumstances.


Yes, it was 'simplistic' but then again I was thinking of you at the time.

I know that criminals have equal rights... but in some cases more equal than some.
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GMR
post Oct 6 2010, 04:37 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Oct 6 2010, 07:48 AM) *
GMRs summary seems to confirm that Tony Blair was exactly what he appeared. Nothing wrong with that and it fits our now 'presidential' style of politics. Taking away how and what actually happened - Blair was the most successful labour leader since the party started. He won three elections on the trot, with good majorities. Doubtless and as the book suggests that was because his style was in tune with the party and the people at the same time. Doesn't matter how shallow the personality or the commitment to the cause - it worked. Yes, pure marketing, but for the party faithful - in power for a long time. In my view, Tony Blair is the Stanley Baldwin of modern politics - party (or simply the need to keep it in power) before people. I also suspect that history will be much kinder to Gordon Brown. After all he nearly did it and after three Labour wins - didn't matter who he was - the odds were stacked heavily against. A bit like Alex Douglas Home - who everyone thought an abject failure - really? again against all the odds, nearly there in 1964. All said and done, Gordon is probably the more rounded and creditable character. A steadfast and reliable person - to whom the cause is more important. Remember, I'm talking about the person not the policies. I hope the superficial views don't stick and that GB doesn't end up like Philip Snowden in the 30's - besmerched simply because he was the abrasive Dennis Healey of the day but without the theatrical personality to match. So what would Churchill have said - keep on writing - history belongs to those who write the record, as WSC did and well knew! Will I read the book? No; GMR has confirmed = you can read Tony easily anyway!.


That about sums it up.
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Iommi
post Oct 6 2010, 05:09 PM
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QUOTE (GMR @ Oct 6 2010, 05:34 PM) *
Many criminals use the 'Human Rights legislation' to give them a helping hand. As for the 'good citizen'; granted there are some who have, no doubt, benefited. But they are a very small minority.

But isn't this true of the criminals as well? Viz, criminals that have exploited the HRA are a small minority.
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GMR
post Oct 6 2010, 05:13 PM
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QUOTE (Iommi @ Oct 6 2010, 06:09 PM) *
But isn't this true of the criminals as well? Viz, criminals that have exploited the HRA are a small minority.


Well; I can only go by what I've read in papers like the Guardian, Times, Telegraph etc and programmes like Newsnight; and that doesn't seem to be the case.
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Iommi
post Oct 6 2010, 05:21 PM
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QUOTE (GMR @ Oct 6 2010, 06:13 PM) *
Well; I can only go by what I've read in papers like the Guardian, Times, Telegraph etc and programmes like Newsnight; and that doesn't seem to be the case.

I have seen and read the same thing and I don't have the same opinion.

Returning, to your opening post...

QUOTE (GMR @ Oct 5 2010, 09:29 PM) *
law and order went out of control (one of the reasons of this was him bringing in the European Human Rights legislation that empowered the criminal and did nothing for the good citizen).

'Simplistic rhetoric' was in reference to your idea that one of the reasons law and order went out of control was because TB signed the 1998 act. If anything, law and order was already out of control if we are to believe the afore mentioned media outlets.
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