It seems to me that our (UK) Prime Minister Tony Blair, like many a great leader before him, is now seriously worried about his legacy. He will step down sometime during his third term (about the same time as President Bush?), and he desperately wants to be remembered for more than his involvement in the current situation in Iraq.
So, Tony has publicly taken on the twin agendas of African poverty and EEC economic reform, both of which are at hiatus points this weekend. Bob Geldoff’s wonderful Live 8 project and the upcoming G8 summit in Scotland have given “our Ton'” a perfect global platform for his African agenda. In fairness to him, it has been a continuing obsession, but his appearance yesterday with Bob Geldoff on MTV was his version of “cool Britannia” at its tackiest!
Blair’s assumption of the EEC Presidency today for the next six months is a great chance for him to really rub French President Chirac’s nose in the mess caused by the French rejection of the proposed new EU Constitution. He clearly hopes to complete a total rout by achieving a change in the CAP, the policy through which European taxpayers support France’s medieval farming industry to the disadvantage of the new European accession countries.
There is an unsung aspect of Tony Blair’s premiership, and that is his passion for community regeneration in the most needy parts of the UK. In my view, the record of New Labour on this matches up to the great reforming Labour Party cultural advances of the post WW2 era, and yet there are very few headlines written on the subject.
So, we will have to wait and see what Tony Blair’s legacy will turn out to be, as we will Mr Bush’s.