Insights from the UK and beyond
Has the Blair backlash gone too far?
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair must feel like a hunted man. And that’s probably what his vocal critics want. First, he postpones his planned book signing because of possible protests and now a private party planned for the Tate Modern gallery has gone the same way.
The obvious cause of the anger prompted by Blair can be summed up by one word: “Iraq”.
Yet, he led Labour to a historic three successive election victories — the last one in 2005 coming when the conflict in Iraq had already turned bloody.
It’s all a far cry from 1997 when Blair was hailed as a bright new star who would guide Britain out of the grey years of the Major era. And maybe that’s the rub — so many put their faith and trust in him, that the disenchantment runs deeper than normal. Perhaps he could compare notes on the subject with President Obama next time he is in Washington.
But have things gone too far? Is there a freedom of speech issue here that means that Blair should be allowed to appear in public even if people have long tired of his message and his style?