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Tony Blair must have the thickest skin in politics

16 July 2017 Political News


A significant chunk of the social media response to my interview with Tony Blair is completely unrepeatable.

Let’s just say intimate parts of the body, guns, gas chambers, blood, bodily fluids and a lot of swearing all featured.

There were some particularly – *ahem* – imaginative descriptions of what people would rather do to themselves rather than listen to Mr Blair.

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Anyone who thinks social media abuse is reserved for women should take a wade through my mentions and look at the stuff directed towards the former prime minister. No wonder he’s not on Twitter.

“All I do when I speak on these things is get a shedload of abuse so why am I doing it?” he said to me when I sat down with him this week.

It’s a good question – and it seems he just can’t help himself.

“I am actually really worried about the country at the moment,” he added.

Video: Blair on Brexit, Corbyn, May and social media

I was surprised by just how outspoken Mr Blair was prepared to be, on Brexit – where – and also on Jeremy Corbyn.

“I think the problem with that old left programme is that it just doesn’t meet the needs of the times,” he said, before adding: “I think if you follow up Brexit with a hard left economic programme, this country is going to be in real trouble.

“The fact is they aren’t solutions, they are two different visions of the 1960s when this country needs to work out an agenda for the future.”

Hang on a minute – was he really suggesting that Mr Corbyn’s agenda is from the 1960s?

“Look, to be fair to Jeremy he has never changed his position, not since the first time I came across him in the late 70s, early 80s, but it’s not an answer to the country’s problems,” he said.

Jeremy Corbyn

Image: The ex-PM said Jeremy Corbyn ‘is not the answer’

Mr Blair must know the online fury such comments will unleash. He must have the thickest skin in politics.

His also reveal something about his character for another reason.

Mr Corbyn has just emerged from a general election campaign where he defied expectation, deprived Theresa May of her parliamentary majority and consolidated his position as leader of the Labour Party.

For many critics of Mr Blair, it’s just another example of the former prime minister being on the wrong side of the argument (just like with Brexit and Donald Trump).

I put that to him in the interview, asking whether he ever has moments of self-doubt and thinks he’s got it wrong?

He replied: “I’ve got continual self-doubt which is what you should have if you are at all sensible about your politics but I just point out, my politics hasn’t been on offer for the last 10 years.”

Was that a suggestion that if his politics had been on offer, he would have been on the winning side?

The one thing Mr Blair’s not short of is self-confidence.


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