Watching Alastair Campbell interview Tony Blair, I had to check what year this was.
It was eerie, like being a sort of reverse Buck Rogers, frozen in time and landing back on Earth in the early 2000s.
I reckon Buck would have just gone back in the freezer.
Gil Gerard, who played Buck in the TV series, is an interesting bloke, by the way. He was working as an industrial chemist and adviser to the governor of Arkansas before he decided chemistry and politics weren’t for him and went off to take up acting.
Anyways, enough arcane 1980s science-fiction trivia – back to the really weird stuff.
It seems counter-intuitive to me that Tony Blair is the man you want out and about describing how to rebuild the Labour Party.
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He did indeed win elections – but that was a while ago. And for all the good things he did – the minimum wage, for example – there was losing Scotland, PFI deals and tuition fees.
And since leaving office, he’s not exactly covered himself in glory, travelling the globe and dipping in and out of things with little regard for human rights or moral standards.
He once demanded £330,000 to do a 20-minute speech at the World Hunger Forum. It fell through.
Presumably they decided the money would be better spent on, erm, feeding people.
He is out of time, out of touch with public opinion and to see him in action is like watching a boxer who has gone on too long. We live in a world that is no longer his: post-economic crash, post-Trump, post-pandemic.
But Blair will keep going, although nobody beyond a small group of Westminster die-hards wants him to.
I can’t quite work out his game.
Wasn’t he going to have another go at sorting out the Middle East after he packed in?
How’s all that working out? Aside from the illegal war he started out there – which a lot of people are still upset about – he doesn’t seem to have done much to help.
One theory circulating is that the re-emergence of Blair et al is one of the shrewdest moves in politics and part of a bigger game: putting Blair and his friends front and centre is actually a cleverly designed ploy to make everything else seem more attractive.
But that would require an operator without ego, which is not the case here.
Instead, he will persist with his mission. Maybe someone should show him the polling? According to YouGov, Blair is the UK’s most famous politician. But fame doesn’t necessarily translate to popularity.
Ed Balls is the most popular, with Gordon Brown second. Blair is ninth – after Jeremy Corbyn, in eighth.
That YouGov website is very good, by the way, if you find yourself at a loose end, with all sorts of stuff on there about what people like and don’t like.
For example, people who like Keir Starmer also like Mini Clubmans, Bridget Jones’s Diary and Hamlet.
And if you’re reading the Sunday People, you’re a fan of Star Wars, Fifty Shades of Grey and cider. Sounds like quite a weekend. Enjoy.