Thursday, 2 September 2010


So Blair has launched his political memoir, A Journey, with the Spectator providing the most interesting take on it.  I didn't bother watching the big interview, after a long day at work playing with the youngest seemed something more fulfilling than listening to Andrew Marr's standard soft questioning.

From the extracts I've seen the book may have been more appropriately titled "Yes, but...".  However, in Blair's defence was that not a key element of his general media approach.  His treatement of individuals is similar with criticism balanced by praise.  Again has that not been the 'inclusive' Blair's standard approach for anyone except the old Left?  He was always a believer in grey rather than black and white.  Raw meat has its entertainment value and makes for good copy but Blair was never a likely source of it.

As regards lessons from Northern Ireland some of his principles have value others less so.  The intensity he argues for is only required if you choose the instrumental model of peace agreement that the Belfast Agreement instead of the constitutive model.  

Part of his thinking around the issue of Northern Ireland itself has a central flaw.  He essentially treated the process as a blank sheet.  It wasn't. The process began with the Anglo-Irish Agreement and Unionism's failure to defeat it.  The historical complaints of nationalism especially on equality had already seen significant action.  Blair seems to almost consider his the first actions when they weren't.  This is why what he though was necessary steps were seen by Unionists as even more.  He also failed to grasp that Unionist willingness to defend whatever the status quo was should not have been interpreted as inherent contentment with it.  It was the conservatism of the destitute, defending whatever they had on the basis that all past experience of change had been bad.  So his starting point was not as he seemed to assume Unionists content and Nationalists discontent.

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