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10 May 2007updated 31 Jul 2023 2:50pm

What did we have the right to expect?

Blair announces he's going and it's the 'usual schmaltzy confection'

By Martin Bright

Tony Blair’s speech was the usual schmaltzy confection. The NS team watched it on the editor’s television and felt duly proud that we live in the greatest nation on earth.

There is no doubt that we will miss him when he’s gone, especially those of us who spent most of our time attacking his policies. Just before the resignation speech I had the pleasure of guesting on the Vanessa Feltz show, who asked me about the legacy.

Her listeners has been phoning in saying that schools and hospitals were better than 10 years ago. And then there’s the miniumum wage and gay rights legislation and Sure Start. All this is true. But didn’t we have the right to expect that a Labour government would make things better?

One thing we had no right to expect was the ill-judged nature of the intervention in Iraq and the manipulation of intelligence to persuade parliament of the case for war. But then we had no right to expect peace in Northern Ireland either.

Meanwhile, my old friends at the Home Office have already started to bury bad news.

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The costs of the ID card scheme were released today, showing that they have risen by £600 million over the last year. Cynical spinning will not make this bad policy any more palatable.

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