Sunday, February 26, 2006

The PM writes (so does the might-have-been)

Tony Blair has a piece in the Observer today . I’m an unrepentant fan of the PM believing that he’s the best* there’s been in my lifetime (Atlee was PM when I was born). He’s also the first to be younger (slightly) than I am.

If Labour had won the 1992 election Michael Portillo would probably now be PM the Tories having romped back to power after the ERM debacle. He's in today's Sunday Times and reminds us that he and Tony Blair “were born in the same month of the same year, May 1953”. Funny old world.

The title of Tony Blair’s piece pretty well sums it up “I don't destroy liberties, I protect them” – it’s well worth reading. Michael Portillo’s is five hundred words longer and a little duller but still worth a scan. Under the title “My generation of spoilt brats is being challenged” he writes about how comparatively easy life has been for anyone born in the west since the Second World War. Apropos of “Muslim disaffection at home” he declares that “nothing in my generation’s liberal upbringing (and little in our history since the Jacobites) has equipped us to deal with an enemy within. We believe in reason, compromise and secularism”. But he suggests no way forward and seems to have forgotten about the IRA's campaign.

In contrast, the Prime Minister seems to get it. Writing about the Tories aping the LibDems in parliament on civil liberties issues he concludes: “their attitude to liberty does indicate, though, a refusal to understand the modern world. If the nature of the threat changes, so should our policies. That is not destroying our liberties, but protecting them.”

* I’ve ‘met’ three of the eleven. Harold Wilson on Liverpool’s Lime Street station in late 1969 or early 1970 (when I was studying at the fine University just up the hill and he was coming to the end of his second** stint as PM), Ted Heath at Selfridges in Oxford Street the day after the IRA bombing there in December 1974 (when he was back in opposition and I was Christmas shopping) and the present incumbent at Huntley in March 2005 (when I was unemployed and he wasn't).

** first if you think he did only two

1 Comments:

At 18:38, Blogger korova said...

Although I have not seen many PMs in mytime, I have real concerns about this one. I firmly believe that he has inherited Thatcher's mantle and he has pushed further and faster into areas the Tories didn't even dare attempt (I'm think about the creeping privatisation of the NHS, schools etc). I accept there has been some good but there has been an awful lot of quite atrocious acts taken in the name of the electorate. The real shame is that there is no credible alternative.

 

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