Blair's Legacy

Blair's Legacy

Murray op ed in National Review Online
May 11, 2007

Blairism was born in 1994, the summer of Britpop, and for a while seemed to embody a <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Britain of revolutionary art, fashion, and music in political terms. Yet just as Cool Britannia faded after the death of its royal figurehead, the Princess of Wales, Blairism turned quickly from a new form of politics into meddlesome managerialism. Proving the truth of Burke’s adage, “To innovate is not to reform,” Blair’s government innovated away, bulldozing centuries-old institutions and customs without adequate replacement. He attacked freedom of speech, the right of self-defense, trial by jury, double-jeopardy protections, pre-trial protections, the independence of local government, and other institutions you might recognize from the Bill of Rights.Occasionally, his vision stood out from this, though. He recognized the serious risk to the vital institution of the monarchy after Diana’s death and he recognized the real threat of terrorism after 9/11 and 7/7. Yet on the latter occasions, his addiction to managing the news let him down. His perceived spinning of the imminent threat of Iraq’s WMDs fatally wounded his credibility.Yet one thing cannot be disputed. He was the undoubted master of British politics for a decade. He destroyed all opposition he faced and almost finished the Conservative party, which resorted to Blair-like tactics to stop the rot. In that respect, in the words of Britpop band Oasis, his legacy will Live Forever.