A “new dawn” remembered. 1997 – Tony Blair & New Labour’s FIRST election victory

All blog posts 2012 + Original posts list: from 2006 to 2012

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1st May 2012


Remember this bright sunny morn? I do.

I even remember smiling as I watched the TV coverage though I hadn’t voted for Labour and its fresh-faced new leader. I wasn’t the only non-Labour voter who smiled. I recall Tory Cabinet Minister Michael Portillo, the face of the countrywide Conservative drubbing, saying how he had walked home after his televised humbling and found himself smiling at the election of Tony Blair and New Labour. This despite his personal rejected condition – “a truly terrible night for the Conservatives” (See video here of announcement of 1997 result at Enfield.)

May 2nd 1997, after his first landslide victory, Tony Blair & his wife Cherie about to enter Number 10 Downing Street


If you are of the social network generation, average age … er … way too young, you may not remember this and quite how momentous it was for the country to remove John Major’s government and the remaining remnants of Thatcherism.  After 18 long years even many Conservatives had had enough.

After 10 years of Tony Blair’s New Labour and 3 of Gordon Brown’s Labour (“10+3” as Tony Blair describes it) we are in a whole different era.  We are in a time where the government is an unlikely Tory/Lib Dem coalition. Let us not forget that even under Brown’s premiership not enough people felt ‘anti’ him to feel ‘pro’ David Cameron. The last PM of any party brand to achieve a majority was Tony Blair in 2005. And, since Harold Wilson’s first election of 1964 when Blair was only 10, there has only ever been one other election-winning Labour leader-elect. Thirty three years. Wilson 1964 – Blair 1997. In 1976 Wilson handed over to Callaghan. So from 1976 until today (36 years & counting) there has only been ONE elected Labour PM. Tony Blair, 1997/2001/2005.

Phew! Chew that fact over for a second.

We will never know if New Labour would have won again in 2010 under Tony Blair’s leadership, if such ‘truthfinders’ as the obnoxious Tom Watson hadn’t conspired to curry (coup) Blair in 2006.

Today there are a couple of interesting glances back. The first one that caught my eye is by Robert Colvile at The Telegraph. He asks and answers  – “What do the voters really want? Tony Blair”

Obviously I referred to this briefly at the previous post – prompted by my good friend forwardnotback

Robert Colvile

Robert Colvile

Mr Colvile seems to have written an excellent analysis of why it is Tony Blair (not just someone like Tony Blair) that voters want. Sadly he spoils it all by informing tweeps that – Reader consensus: ‘We need Blair all right – standing in front of the gallows with the rest of the Labour filth.’ http://tgr.ph/IsBL86

Now, Mr Colvile, something you need to know. These commenters are hardly representative of the general public. No more representative than are those of the Daily Mail or the Guardian. They are people with an agenda. Most normal people – not extremists in any direction – don’t want to hang anyone.

Mr Colvile’s response to my suggestion that he may be exaggerating with this gallows thing was – Not really. ‘Hang Blair’ and ‘Vote Ukip’ are the two most common themes

Since we won’t be hanging Blair but some of us might be thinking of voting UKIP on Thursday, we might do well to remember this.

The other item on Tony Blair which caught my eye was at The Daily Politics. Tony Blair elected PM 15 years ago: was he good or bad? They have a video of a quickie, unscientific, but perhaps more trustworthy poll here Not too many hang Blair types there, and even one who said [shocking the BBC journo] that he thought Blair was right on Iraq.


1997 General Election – The Portillo Moment

The result for Enfield South in the 1997 General Election. Labour won by 1,500 votes after a swing of 17 per cent. This general election saw Labour gaining 147 seats. The Conservatives had their lowest tally of seats since 1906, and in the process, 7 Tory Ministers lost their seats.

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1. Robert Colvile –  http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/author/robertcolvile/

Tony Blair interviewed for ChinaDaily a few days ago. He says towards the end of video, link below, that he is looking forward to giving his evidence at Leveson.

2. ChinaDailyExclusive video interview with Tony Blair


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