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TONY BLAIR – A Career in Decline

Perhaps one of the saddest sights to watch as the post Iraq scenario plays itself out is, arguably the slow and gradual disintegration of the career of British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

It seems that hardly a week goes by now without the once popular British leader coming under attack again from someone within his country and this week has not been an exception to that.

This week's critics featured the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Durham no less.

The former questioned the legitimacy of the war (as many other leading church leaders have already done in the UK), whilst the latter described Prime Minister Blair as a vigilante no less.

It seems as if there is no end to this, and what is the ultimate crying shame here is that Tony Blair brought all of it upon himself - not merely by his support for the war in Iraq and allying himself to President Bush but by the manner in which he has gone about it as well.

Conversations that I have about this topic with friends in the UK commonly tends to reveal one thing above all; how generally uncomfortable people are with the arrogant manner in which their Prime Minister comes across as a man who now seems utterly impervious to the views of the British public.

And whilst proponents of the war point to polls showing that a majority of the UK electorate supported it, what belies this is the reality that Tony Blair's credibility as a leader has been greatly damaged by this event and conceivably to the point of no return now.

In essence, this is man who staked his reputation on this and has ultimately lost it as a consequence.

Ironically, perhaps much of this could have been avoided had he just handled the matter differently but without necessarily changing his stance on the issue at all.

A smattering of humility and tact could have gone a long way to messaging the concerns of the British public and yet, instead, all that the voters have been constantly met with has been this stubborn insistence that he did nothing wrong in the face of a complete failure to produce even one single weapon of mass destruction, something that seemingly everyone in the UK can see except Mr. Blair.

This the folly of the emperor's new clothes – tantamount to a man caught with his pants down in front of everyone who, lacking any plausible explanation, simply denies that his pants are down at all.

At the end of the day then, it is little more than humiliating to be seen to be insisting on something that rest of the country can see is palpably untrue.

Not merely this but his apparent capacity to add fuel to the fire seems almost inexplicable.

It was not essential by any means to afford President Bush a full state visit to the UK. Britain did not even offer that to President Clinton.

Not to mention the interviews on the BBC with David Frost belligerently expressing the view that he had done nothing wrong and had no regrets.

That sort of rhetoric just is not necessary in the face of mounting public concern.

Every democratically elected political leader has a responsibility to be sensitive to the wishes of their people, and it displays little wisdom of any kind to use language that appears to do little more than rub their noses in it when you  repeatedly emphasis the fact that you are able to get away with making decisions that many of them find unpopular.

Little wonder then that with a year or so to go before the next general election in the UK in 2005, that Tony Blair's own Labour Party is awash with rumours on whether they will be re-electable with him at their helm.

Unfortunately, lost in all this mire is the reality that Prime Minister Blair has presided over a period of significant economic stability within the UK.

Unemployment is down to 3.8% which is the lowest the country has seen in decades, and despite major campaigns on key domestic issues such as healthcare reform and education, sadly it is unlikely to be for any of these that history will remember him for no matter how successful they may transpire.

Ultimately it will be one issue and one issue above all that Tony Blair will probably go down into the history books for in all probability.

At best, it will be a controversial one. At worst he may go down as the man who conned a nation into war. 

And for all the other good things that could have been achieved instead, was it really worth it?

JOHN BOURKE
Pravda.Ru