Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tony Blair Farewell Reception.
Yesterday evening I was lucky enough to see Tony Blair give his final speech as Labour Leader to a Labour Party meeting at West Ham Town Hall. It was fitting that the event organised by the London Labour Party was in Newham which has benefitted so much from the regeneration opportunities provided by the Labour Government, and which will be the principal host borough of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Electorally, Tony Blair has been Labour's most successful leader, and is the second longest serving Prime Minister of the last 100 years after Mrs Thatcher. Although it seems to be a popular pastime for those supposedly on the left of British politics to denegrate the achievements of Tony Blair and his Government, I have no doubt that the past ten years have shown that we can have economic stability and social justice at the same time, and banished forever the idea that Labour cannot be trusted to run the economy.
Throughout the 1970's, 1980's and early 1990's General Elections were determined laregly by economic considerations. Over the past ten years we have taken that economic prosperity for granted.
On any set of figures we do have record investment in our schools and health service. There may still be some work to do in ensuring that investment achieves real improvements, but let's not forget that we no longer talk about people waiting years for routine operations, and our schools are not in the state of physical disrepair which they were in 10 years ago. Looking around Southwark, every secondary school will have been completely renovated within the next 5 years.
Perhaps the biggest change over the past 10 years has been in our social attitudes - we are a more liberal and tolerant society. For this Tony Blair and the Labour Government must take real credit.
Faced with a Tory Party in disarray over its Grammar Schools policy, and which wants to re-introduce admission charges for our museums and galleries, I have no doubt that Tony Blair's legacy will continue to be built on for many years to come by Gordon Brown and future Labour Governments!