On Wednesday, Tony Blair released a document in which he completely lambasted Brexit and generally doom-mongered about the future of the UK. The only solution, he has asserted, is to stop Brexit altogether — apparently it is not too late, we can ‘change our minds at any stage’.
The only problem, I suppose, is that 52 per cent of the British electorate voted to leave the EU in 2016, and according to recent opinion polls, 45 per cent still stand by their previous conviction, despite the disaster that May’s Brexit negotiations have been. But anyway, this is a rant dedicated to Blair, not our present PM, so I will endeavour to stay on topic.
To me, it just seems that Tony Blair cannot bear to be out of the limelight. Aged 64, with a third of the British population believing that he should be tried as a war criminal and an unidentifiable number of memes ridiculing him in circulation, it has been suggested that he should forsake politics for an easier life. Sadly, at the moment it doesn’t seem as if this is going to materialise.
In 2010, he published a set of memoirs titled (I wince) A Journey. He was disparaged by the media for this, with the autobiography being seen by many as too controversial and a further attempt to profit from his office and the Iraq fiasco. At a book signing in Dublin, Blair was pelted with eggs and shoes, and encountered an attempted citizen’s arrest for war crimes.
This did not deter his spirit. In the run-up to the snap 2017 general election, the disgraced ex-PM announced plans to create a new political party. Key donors abandoned the cause in August and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Blair’s vision of a centrist, Macron-style middle ground was never quite realised.
And now he is back at it again, with his ludicrous plans to ‘block Brexit’. In 2016, he formed an institute in his name with a somewhat vague-sounding rationale, to ‘promote a global viewpoint’. The organisation essentially became his vehicle for opposing Britain’s exit from the EU.
As was made abundantly clear in the recently released document, yes, Brexit is going to cost us billions; yes, we are facing inflation and labour shortages; yes, economic growth has been stilted. But we know all of this, and it does not make Blair’s allusions to the ‘reversibility’ of Brexit any less ridiculous.
No one, not even hardline Brexiteers, is denying that Brexit has (thus far) had a negative impact on the UK economy. No one is denying that the cost of the so-called ‘divorce bill’ is absurd. No one is denying that Brexit isn’t exactly going to plan. However, pulling out now is not the answer.
In the words of the British tabloids, we do have to ‘honour the will of the people’ and plough on with Brexit because, put simply, we made our bed and now we have to lie in it. Regardless of your opinion on our exit from the EU, it is futile and counterproductive to whine and lament about the possibility of a second referendum.
Blair is certainly guilty of this and no doubt, through this campaign, he will garner copious fellow ‘bemoaners’. But really, his head is up in the clouds — or perhaps over in Brussels. That said, one has to admire Tony Blair’s resilience. No matter how many eggs and shoes are thrown at him, no matter how many media outlets turn their back on him, no matter how many people brand him as a war criminal, he refuses to admit defeat.
But he has to realise that whether he likes it or not, Brexit is going to happen. And ultimately, he needs to face up to the fact that his heyday was over a decade ago.
Move over Mr Blair, you’re history.