London reflections: Blair lost!
I agree to a certain point. Blair (and Clinton) were totally right to make progressives credible on issues regarding security (“tough on crime and tough on the causes on crime”). McTernan’s analysis might also be correct, Labour sure is credible on security, this has helped them to win elections, and Blair sure has tougher fights ahead of him (the welfare reform green paper, education bill, white paper on health). When it comes to the 90-days, I think it sounds like a very long time, and even if I have not heard all the arguments or behind the scene arguments, a compromise would probably have been the best outcome.
Conclusions? 1. I don’t think Blair’s defeat was that serious; greater battles are waiting around the corner and hopefully this experience will help Blair to reform Britain in a positive way while getting the whole Labour parliamentary group with him. Continue to reform, but privatization is not the way forward, even if different methods of providing welfare should be tried and used. 2. Center-left parties are correct to address the issues of security and terrorism seriously, but when doing so, civil liberties and long-term compromises should never never be forgotten. The Labour government is walking on a fine line here. 3. Blair lost an election in Parliament, but the Tories are still so offside in the political debate and Labour still has the third term and thus the possibility to continue to reform Britain. Keep the mantel of reform, fight crime and terrorism, but never forget our sacred civil liberties. Glad you survived Blair, you were wrong about the war but have made many other good things, and you still have reforms and improvements left to do.