Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Blair's Ultimate Failure of Leadership

What does it say about Tony Blair that he knew Gordon Brown would be a disaster as Prime Minister, yet actively endorsed him and facilitated his election as Labour leader?

It's not exactly a sign of being a great leader, is it?

A real leader and statesman would have taken measures to ensure it could never happen. The fact that Blair didn't do that shows why he can never be regarded as a great Prime Minister.

If you think I am being a bit harsh, imagine if a company chief executive deliberately allowed a successor to taake over who he knew would bankrupt the company. It just wouldn't happen, would it? The chief executive would make sure the board of directors didn't make such a disastrous decision. He would speak out, wouldn't he/she?

Discuss.

32 comments:

P. Stable said...

I don't recall Thatcher telling the world that John Major would be a disaster as PM.

Iain Dale said...

He wasn't a disaster.

But the comparison doesn't work. At the time of his election Margaret Thatcher certianly didn't think he would be a disaster.

Tony Blair knew he would be right from the outset.

Not a sheep said...

Tony Blair's priority was then, and is now, Tony Blair. He could see the econmomic pigeons coming home to roost and needed out so he could escape before the sh*t hit the fan (to mix metaphors). Tony Blair was not a patriot and how the UK would fare under as unpleasant and inept a Prime Minister as Gordon Brown did not worry him. The possibility of staying on and reducing his earning potential probably worried him more.

caw rock said...

Blair's best shot:shot.

P. Stable said...

True enough on the second point, although it's possible she was just more discreet about her true feelings when it came to writing her memoirs!

But I maintain that John Major WAS a disaster.

golden_balls said...

Major is indeed a good comparison it just doesn't suit iains case so he dismisses it. Many people thought at the time that IDS wasn't suited to be leader but they allowed it.

Brown is just another person in the list of good people who just couldn't cut it.

Steve said...

The Thatcher/Major comparison just doesn't work at all. Thatcher didn't hand over to Major in a stitched up party deal. She didn't step down to allow him to become PM. And he produced the best economic climate the country had had for decades for Balir to inherit.

The issue here is that Blair has to take responsibility for allowing the country to get into the state it is in today as he clearly knew what Gordon would do and didn't nothing to stop it.

Span Ows said...

To borrow a phrase from A Very british Dude, whom had borrowed it himself: "Who's the bigger hoon, the Hoon or the hoon who follows him?"

(For 'hoon' read *unt...not sure if Iain allows swearing!)

Macha Maguire said...

the thing is... Brown was a disaster as Chancellor as well - I can't understand why more isn't made of this: The man who sold off half the UK's gold reserves at the bottom of the market and bought US T-bonds with the proceeds; 10% tax botch; the complete destruction of the pension plans... he was a one-man wrecking ball and should never have gone beyond being parish treasurer of Little Bottomly-in-the-Mould and he'd have made a mess even of that. He's a prime example of where bullying gets you - and should be a warning to everyone to steer very well clear of Ed Balls who was one of his hard-man fixers

S.B.S said...

He did not sack him brown because he did not want someone going more left and splitting the labour party = weakness.
He blair, put the labour party before the needs of the country = weakness.
in all blair was / is a total failure, now admits the fox hunting ban wrong, he has a lot more to admit was wrong.

RJF said...

That was exactly my first thought this morning when I heard these "revelations". Proof if ever it were needed, of Tony Blair's appalling lack of character and backbone.

OldSlaughter said...

Party before country every time.
Besides, Gordon's failure is Tony Blair's enhancement. What about TB could possibly make you feel his future reputation wasn't the number one priority.

The rest of us? Just an abstract concept on his route to riches and glory.

Houdini said...

Blairs failure as a leader came long before Brown was endorsed. If he was a leader in any sense he would have sacked Brown within a year or two of taking office.

They were both disasters.

Andy said...

Tony Blair's number one priority has always been Tony Blair and his legacy. The country and the Labour party come a long way behind.

talwin said...

There is another way in which the comparison with Margaret Thatcher endorsing John Major does not work. In 'The Downing Street Years' she makes it clear that her support for John Major was not only because she had regard for him but that he was the most likely to continue her work and policies: not something that Blair would ever be likely to believe of Brown.

Nigel said...

What strikes me most is the memory of his wounded outrage whenever his relationship with Brown was questioned by journalists.

He now cheerfully admits that he was a barefaced liar.
And too cowardly to sack the man who was sabotaging his government.

davidmorris said...

It highlights the fact that there weren't any other possibilities that would be strong candidates.

DespairingLiberal said...

And of course Margaret never ensured the boy John would win because she knew he would pale in comparison and kept out the boys Michael because she knew they would be very effective. Ho hum, humbug, hum.

To me, the really striking thing so far about the Blair book is the way he brushes aside pretty major policy contradictions. So he keeps banging on for example in his interview with Marr about the Keynsianism of Brown and how much he, Blair, was a modernist reformer of public services. No mention at all of the massive and hugely costly (to the taxpayer) fraud of PFI, which pushed all those modernising costs onto future taxpayers, effectively causing the current round of cuts. Not a word that in fact Blair and Brown were both gung-ho for this "solution" and that Blair approved of it wholeheartedly. If massive overspending in future years to fund some public spending projects now is a "sound modernisation" (as Blair put it this morning) then the Lord only knows what a bad one would be.

Even more pathetic (if it could get more pathetic) is Blair's reported low-mention rate of the role of Mandy, Alistair "Goebbels" Campbell and Lord Levy in the Big Tent. The book apparently makes it sound as if New Labour was all Tone's idea and it was all Tone's win. Anyone who knows the history of NL will be choking on their cornflakes this morning at that one. Blair had to be dragged kicking and screaming by Mandy and Alistair at some points and it was definitely Mandy who dreamed up some of the hallmarks of NL-ism.

Finally, I wonder if there will be an explanation of the massive bills charged to Labour for Cherie's hairdresser to be flown in? I am not holding my breath.

John said...

@goldenballs

"Brown is just another person in the list of good people who just couldn't cut it."

Good people?

Surrounding himself with Ed Balls, Charlie Wheelan and Damien McBride tells you all you need to know about that odious, insecure, man.

He used his people to screw other colleagues but didn't have the courage to do it himself.

He was a total disaster and stopped most radical reform that this country needed.

I always thought that Blair should have sacked him in the first year in power when he could walk on water.

Victor, NW Kent said...

We learn nothing new from these disclosures. He was scared of Brown, he knew Brown was a bully, he lied to the Northern Irish politicians and just about everyone else and about everything else.

He surrounded himself with a bunch of self-serving liars and quickly got rid of or demoted those who did not follow his false promises - Field, Cook for example.

He had a very nice smile but now should spend some on an American dentist as his teeth are looking about as bad as mine.

Goodwin said...

It would be nice to think that one day we will have a decent PM able and willing to run the country for the benefit of the British people without being fueled on booze, anti-depressants or God.

Mr. Musicology said...

Discuss.........

Your a petty tory, who still hasn't got over the fact that Blair lasted longer in power than Thatcher, and got out, when he wanted, under his own terms, rather than being dragged out kicking and screaming by his own party, as Thatcher did?

Mr. Musicology said...

"And too cowardly to sack the man who was sabotaging his government."

I don't recall Thatcher doing too much about that either

Mr. Musicology said...

"Tony Blair's priority was then, and is now, Tony Blair. He could see the econmomic pigeons coming home to roost and needed out so he could escape before the sh*t hit the fan"

Bearing in mind most of the world's economists never saw the global down turn coming, I'm not sure why you were expecting Blair too?

Mr. Musicology said...

Thatcher ensured that Major would be her successor, ahead of several excellent candidates, for the simple fact that he had remained loyal, and she had a huge grudge against half of the party.

Even worse, if you ask me.

Mr. Musicology said...

Discuss..........

The tory party are still very bitter about being out of power for 13 years (and counting...........)

You couldn't get a majority even against Brown, let alone Blair.

That's the battering the man gave your beloved party.

Mr. Musicology said...

"Blairs failure as a leader came long before Brown was endorsed. If he was a leader in any sense he would have sacked Brown within a year or two of taking office.

They were both disasters."


Then I must ask the question, how on earth haven't the tory party managed to get a majority against either for 13 years, and four general elections?

You remind me of Liverpool fans booing and hissing at Wayne Rooney, convinced that he's overrated, and your anger isn't just based on pure resentment

Mr. Musicology said...

The day the tory party get over Tony Blair, will be the day they probably get a majority government.

He'd probably have won a 4th majority, if he had remained in power instead of Brown.

FX Man said...

Bit of a boozer as well, it seems.

http://fxbites.blogspot.com/2010/09/one-for-journey.html

Unsworth said...

Let's not forget that Brown's failures were brought about by his arrogance and his duplicity - and it was obvious that this would be so.

Paul Linford said...

I am no defender of Tony Blair, Iain, but as an historian yourself I am surprised to hear you suggest that cocking-up the succession should fundamentally affect the way a Prime Minister is viewed by posterity. Other posters have already mentioned the Thatcher-Major example, but there are others. Presumably Winston Churchill could have ensured he was succeeded by Harold Macmillan rather than the disastrous Anthony Eden in 1955. The fact that he didn't do so has not prevented him being remembered as one of the greatest of British Prime Ministers.

Houdini said...

Major is indeed a good comparison it just doesn't suit iains case so he dismisses it.

Majpr left Labour, Blair and Brown a golden economy and a growing economy. We had no disaster in Gulf War 1. The country was, literally, booming. The biggest problem was the seedy and dirty character and personal assassination carried out by Labour under Blair, Brown, Campbell and Mandelson.

It was they who have almost destroyed the UK and the reputation of the establishment.

As usual and every time, historically, Labour looks back at Tory years with green tinted, envious eyes and dismisses their own massive and criminally incompetent failings.