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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Blair dilemma

Tony Blair's intervention in Labour's election campaign must be causing some mixed feelings for Ed Miliband and his entourage. On the one hand they could do with some of Blair's gravitas and many candidates will be grateful for the money, but on the other the baggage that comes with the former Prime Minister could become too heavy to bear.

As Chris Green in the Independent suggests, for some Blair's legacy is toxic, with many voters now simply looking at him and thinking: this is the man who led us into Iraq:

Labour are well aware of the political baggage that their former leader carries through his association both with the Iraq war and the New Labour project. The party’s current leader, Ed Miliband, has repeatedly sought to distance himself from the old regime.

Asked why he did not appear alongside the former prime minister yesterday, Mr Miliband said only that his Labour colleague could “speak for himself”. He added that he was “100 per cent happy” to receive Mr Blair’s support – but was careful not to praise him too highly.

Blair of course, has good political antenae and will be aware of the impact that his public support for Miliband may have. I expect him to use his own time sparingly in support of the Labour campaign, testing the impact of each intervention before moving on.
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