With the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn gaining more than forty per cent of the popular vote for the first time since Tony Blair’s victory in 2001, many pundits, politicians and talking heads have had to eat humble pie as they say, although not all.
Since first becoming leader of the party in 2015, Corbyn has been derided by almost everyone, and as little as two months ago polls had Theresa May’s Conservative Party more than twenty points ahead. Yet now, there are more and more calls for May to resign and there are no longer any credible voices demanding that Corbyn be ousted.
Nevertheless, we have yet to hear from Tony Blair, a man who has liked nothing else than to take up space, in the Guardian in particular, and tell us all how Corbyn will lead to the death of the Labour Party.
In August 2015, the former leader confidently surmised that:
So when people like me come forward and say elect Jeremy Corbyn as leader and it will be an electoral disaster, his enthusiastic new supporters roll their eyes.
In the end Corbyn’s supporters did a lot more than roll their eyes, they voted for their man en masse and millions of others to did likewise.
Of course, a quick skim read of the rest of that particular article will reveal that Blair is not a pundit that should be relied on too readily for he incorrectly declared that Trump would not be US President as well as showing a real lack of understanding regarding Syriza’s initial support in Greece.
Yet these piss poor predictions did not deter the Daily Mirror from giving the man more space to rant and make more incorrect judgement calls back in April:
I am going to be taking an active part in trying to shape the policy debate and that means getting out into the country and reconnecting… This Brexit thing has given me a direct motivation to get more involved in politics. You need to get your hands dirty, and I will.
Let’s be clear, there is no great public outcry for Blair to come back, no #InTonyWeTrust hashtags or Blair Believers organising marches and signing petitions for him to come back into the fore.
Blair’s time is done and hopefully many of his followers who still inhabit the Labour Party, the corridors of Whitehall and various press rooms will now acknowledge that what worked in 1997 will never work again. The people living in the UK have changed and these Blairites are the only ones who haven’t.
And just in case all of the above wasn’t enough to deter you from looking to Tony for insight in the future, there is the little matter of how he has made a living since leaving office almost a decade ago.
A part from amassing a property portfolio worth more than £25 million, Blair has also made money advising governments in the Gulf as well as through private consultancy work in Colombia and as an advisor for JP Morgan. Finally, let it not be forgotten that he collected a cool fifty thousand for addressing a conference in the US to toilet roll and disinfectant producers… they were right when they said satire was dead.
In short, let us hope that after this week’s election result Tony Blair will finally take his place up high on the UK’s political scrap heap. I have my doubts as his ability to amass fortunes and take up column inches appears to know no bounds, but if Corbyn has taught us anything it’s that hope is not yet dead.