Tony Blair: The debilitation of Labour is facilitating Brexit

Former PM wants Remainers to 'rise up' against Brexit


Tony Blair has launched a scathing attack on both the government and the Labour leadership, accusing them of allowing ‘Brexit at any cost’.

In a hard-hitting speech in London, the former prime minister insisted that the actions of Theresa May and her government show that they ‘are not masters of this situation’.

“They’re not driving this bus. They’re being driven. And as we pass each milestone so the landscape in which we are operating changes, not because we have willed the change, but because this is the direction in which the bus is travelling. We will trigger Article 50 not because we now know our destination, but because the politics of not doing so, would alienate those driving the bus.

Blair also made damning comments about Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, which last week voted to trigger Article 50 despite failing to attach any amendments to the government’s bill.

He said a major challenge in containing the impact of the referendum was ‘the absence of an opposition which looks capable on the polls of beating the government.”

“The debilitation of the Labour Party is the facilitator of Brexit. I hate to say that, but it is true.”

The speech has been controversial. Leavers accuse Blair of contempt for democracy, and even among those who share his views many argue that Blair — a tainted figure in so many ways — will do more harm that good by intervening.

He has also been criticsed for the comments on immigration included in the speech, which seem to defend the rights of EU migrants at the expense of those from other parts of the world. Blair claimed that:

“…for many people, the core immigration question – and one which I fully accept is a substantial issue -is immigration from non-European countries, especially when from different cultures in which assimilation and potential security threats can be an issue.”

However, the former Labour leader remains a powerful orator and dismantled the arguments of prominent Leavers with remarkable clarity.

“Many of the main themes of the Brexit campaign barely survived the first weekend after the vote. Remember the £350m a week extra for the NHS? Virtually the only practical arguments still advanced – under the general rubric of ‘taking back control’ – are immigration and the European Court of Justice.”

He suggested that the actual impact of the ECJ on Britain is minimal, insisting that in his decade as prime minister, there was ‘no major domestic law that I wanted to pass which Europe told me I couldn’t.’

Ultimately, Blair’s goal is to persuade voters that Brexit is a bad idea and force a reversal of the decision, a fantasy most Remainers have already dispensed with. 

That Blair clings to it is a reminder of his extraordinary self-belief, both his greatest strength and greatest weakness as a leader.

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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15 Responses to “Tony Blair: The debilitation of Labour is facilitating Brexit”

  1. greg

    Isn’t it amazing that Left Foot Forward give an almost daily lecture on the UK’s callous indifference towards refugees, and yet has such an sycophantic love for the creature who did most to create those refugees.

    Cognitive dissonance doesn’t quite do it justice – LFF are part of a ‘Progressive’ cult.

  2. Jason

    Somebody please tell this man that the national vote for leaving is ‘facilitating Brexit’ and perhaps he will go away back to his millionaire life style!

  3. Michael WALKER

    I like Tony Blair.. Yes.. I really do..

    Every time I hear a politician uttering heartfelt pleas for us to believe them or follow I certain cause, I remind myself of a politician who managed to lie fluently about most major issues- often in the cause of “making the world a better place” . And then make his fortune supporting dictators and people who make the world a worst place.

    A shining example why you should treat any politician with great scepticism.

  4. Alex from Carlisle

    Tony Blair should be in prison.

    I wonder who paid for this speech?

  5. Michael

    I read the full speech on Labour list,. It is the only piece of sense I have read at all on the subject. some people can’t bear the thought that he might actually be right.

  6. Mike WALKER

    If Tony Blair has the correct answer to a question, it’s because he was asked the wrong question.

  7. Jimmy Glesga

    We do know he lied about Iraq because it was seen as stragegic by the Western interests.
    However I do not believe he conned Parliament as most must have known Iraq was not an imminent threat. The UN inspectors were methodical in checking for WMD and stated clearly the weapons had been disposed of. Our MP’S who voted for the invasion knew this so they should all be in the same nick as Blair.

  8. Valko Yotov

    Are you saying the most succesful British politician, the man that won 3 General elections, maybe has some valid points about the disgrace called Brexit?

    It is completely beyond me why people in general, and Labour party in praticular, refuse to listen to the best UK PM and the most siccesful leader this country has got in the last 30 years.

    If you have not anything to say about all his valid arguments, please for gawd sake don’t mention Iraq war. That has nothing to do Brexit. And it was voted in the Parliament. Without using some dictatorship prerogatives.

  9. ted francis

    I disagreed with the decision by Parliament to pursue the Iraq war that was carried by a 412 to 149 vote in 2003. Tony Blair, like Teresa May, displayed a sickening sycophancy to a US President and we drew the short straw. However, the man speaks the truth when he asserts that the Referendum outcome resulted from an ill-informed electorate who, like the politicians, had no idea of the potential consequences of a Leave vote. I wavered between Yes, No and not voting.
    I now believe that the election of Donald Trump, the clues to the depth of the EU’s apparent hardening and my dismay at the low calibre of our negotiators lead me to the conclusion that the terms of the final deal should be put back to the British people to declare its acceptability or otherwise.
    The unequivocal terms of the deal should be comprehensively explained and published so that politicians’ spin and lies would be pointless.

  10. Jimmy Glesga

    Ted, so you want a trade deal to be comprehensively explained to the masses. Compulsory time of work required for all including nursery care. A first in history. Public transport halted while we debate. Ambulance crews grounded. Knickers grip get a off yer.

  11. End of History for Blairism

    So, Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton think people are too stupid to make their own minds up and need to be led by the nose by people like them.

    With their records!

    A real pair of charmers, aren’t they?

    In reality, people looked at the options and decided leaving the EU was a risk they were willing to take.

    Only time will tell if that risk pays off, but I simply don’t see how Blair telling people how stupid they are and how intelligent he thinks he is will achieve anything other than cause offence to millions of hardworking and rational people.

  12. Alasdair Macdonald

    Ah! The old straw man fallacy emerging from Jimmy Glesga.

    Much of the EU referendum campaign, by both sides, was a depressing litany of mendacity. There were genuine arguments to be made on both sides, but, these got little coverage.

  13. Jimmy Glesga

    It was not a complicated matter. Either you wanted to remain in the corrupt EU gravy train or leave.
    Strange thing is it is the right who are driving to abandon the EU not the left.

  14. Michael WALKER

    The Left are more interested in identity politics and immigrants and refugees and righting wrongs in other countries than making the people in the UK better off.

    Just look at the articles on this site. When did you last read an article on economics? Or read an article explaining a way of making everyone better off?.

  15. Conservatives score 18-point lead over Labour | Left Foot Forward

    […] See: The debilitation of Labour is facilitating Brexit […]

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