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Charles Clarke's New Statesman Article

We should recognise that Tony Blair was an outstanding Labour prime minister who has now departed the British political scene and has no future part to play. His legacy, on the basis of what we inherited in 1997, is historically important, but it does not define the way forward from 2008 onwards. It is worth summarising his approach to government.

In international affairs, Blair stood for a liberal interventionist strategy in our increasingly interdependent world. This attracted fierce criticism in relation to Iraq, but general support on the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. It led him to work with the power of the United States rather than join the anti-American claque, even when George W Bush demonstrated crippling incompetence or opposed British policy. And in the European Union, Blair's good intentions turned to dust, so that Britain is now more remote from the centre of European power than ever.

Liberal interventionism must be underpinned by military force, but its moral authority was undermined by the glacial progress in preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the ill-considered determination to renew Trident. The rise of terrorist atrocities, including London in 2005, identified Tony Blair with tough efforts to strengthen security, sometimes at a perceived cost to liberty. In some circles, this damaged his reputation, despite the series of progressive constitutional reforms that modernised Britain.

We should recognise that Tony Blair was an outstanding Labour prime minister who has now departed the British political scene and has no future part to play. His legacy, on the basis of what we inherited in 1997, is historically important, but it does not define the way forward from 2008 onwards. It is worth summarising his approach to government.

In international affairs, Blair stood for a liberal interventionist strategy in our increasingly interdependent world. This attracted fierce criticism in relation to Iraq, but general support on the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. It led him to work with the power of the United States rather than join the anti-American claque, even when George W Bush demonstrated crippling incompetence or opposed British policy. And in the European Union, Blair's good intentions turned to dust, so that Britain is now more remote from the centre of European power than ever.

Liberal interventionism must be underpinned by military force, but its moral authority was undermined by the glacial progress in preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the ill-considered determination to renew Trident. The rise of terrorist atrocities, including London in 2005, identified Tony Blair with tough efforts to strengthen security, sometimes at a perceived cost to liberty. In some circles, this damaged his reputation, despite the series of progressive constitutional reforms that modernised Britain.

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