Monday, August 06, 2007

The Blair legacy

Blair did a surprisingly large amount as PM and below is a summary of what I believe his successes and failures are.

Northern Ireland - He helped peace emerge in the region - this is, in my opinion, his biggest achievement. Lets hope it will endure.

Minimum Wage - Despite its effects upon inflation, it has helped ensure that people in unskilled jobs are recognized and I think it should be viewed as an achievement, albeit tentatively.

Making the Bank of England independent - Again we should be cautious in declaring this an outright success, but I think it added stability to the economy, however for too long they were pressured into keeping interest rates low - and this has had consequences.

Community Support Officers - Initially the idea seemed ridiculous to me when proposed , but they do now patrol the streets and try and make people feel safe. However whether the rest of the police force ever get involved in the area they serve is arguable.

He supported the campaign for the Olympics, however did not lead in this area. Overall I think it is the Mayor and Sebastian Coe we should hold responsible for it.

He added support to the campaign to Make Poverty History late in his premiership.

Climate Change
He added support to the campaign on Climate Change however made no effort to introduce cleaner fuels except for nuclear power, and that was only after David Cameron made it a political issue.

The reasons for the war may have been flawed, however he has brought Britain closer to America and removed a tyrant.


Stealth Tax - 66 new taxes

NHS - Small improvements in some areas such as waiting times, but massive overspending (such as on the computer system and colossal staff salaries (£100000+)), poor staff management (such as the lack of GPs available at off peak times) and poor financial planning which has forced the NHS to tighten its belt.

National/Cultural Identity - This might sound quite an odd category, however people have grown progressively more selfish, nosy and cynical. They over-consume, gossip, binge drink, take drugs and have no respect for their neighbours. Blair and the House of Commons for a long time ignored the public and made policies without listening to them.

Weakening of the House of Lords - Admittedly admittance should be due to meritocracy and not family, however its role in ensuring our nation remains democratic and free is essential. Blair tried to get his way with the House of Lords and when his attempts failed he sought to undermine it.

Education - I've ranted about this many times, but the system is a shambles. It rewards conformity rather than individuality and is generating a society of bureaucrats. Did you know that exam boards are given a "quota" - a target number of students which should get an "A", "B" and so on. If not enough students get an "A", they simply change the grade boundaries. It might explain why more people are getting better grades at least.

Housing crisis - Blair ignored the warning signs completely and then proposed a reactionary measure -"affordable housing" to respond to the price rises.

Pensions crisis - Blair failed to deal with it, and in doing so has let the problem compound and grow.

The Dome - Yes, I know, its an old issue but it symbolizes to me exactly what the Blair government has been about - overspending, giving jobs to the lads, short-term thinking, poor planning, unrealistic expectations and missed deadlines.

and finally, his biggest failure...

Civil Liberties and Terrorism - The role of the state is to defend Freedom, not erode it.



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