There were two legs to what can be called Tony Blair’s project as he sought to become Prime Minister of the UK: the modernisation of Britain and trusting him as the person to lead this.
He launched Labour’s historic 1997 election campaign, in a large, packed hall crawling with media, hot to see him replace John Major, the painfully awful Tory Prime Minister whose administration was mired in ‘sleaze’.
Blair’s core statement was ‘You can trust me’.
I recall being physically struck at the time that Blair did not trust us.
Whether ‘us’ the press, ‘us’ the people or ‘us’ the voters.
I put this down as an understandable nervousness, and part of his will to power and refusal of complacency.
I was wrong, it was profoundly cynical. Those who know British politics will know what I mean when I say that Tony Blair proved to be Peter Mandelson with a human face.
His sincerity is an artifice.
Now it is all too clear. This morning BBC Radio 4’s Today programme interviewed a group of disaffected Labour activists and long-time supporters.
One of them said, “The more sincere Blair is, the more revolted I am”. They all laughed. It was the laughter of recognition.
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