Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British Labour politician, who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield in county Durham from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. On the day he resigned as Prime Minister, he was appointed the official diplomatic envoy of the 'Quartet on the Middle East' on behalf of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and Russia.
Blair was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 6 May 1953, to Leo Blair and Hazel Corscadden. His paternal grandparents were the English actors Charles Parsons and Mary Augusta Ridgway Bridson. Blair's father was, however, illegitimate, and he was adopted as a baby by Glasgow shipyard worker James Blair and his wife, who gave him their surname. His mother Hazel Corscadden was of the daughter of George Corscadden, an Ulster-Scots butcher and Orangeman who moved to Glasgow in 1916 but returned to (and later died in) Ballyshannon in 1923 and Sarah Margaret Lipsett.
Tony Blair was elected Leader of the Labour Party in the leadership election of July 1994, following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under Blair's leadership, the party adopted the term "New Labour", abandoned policies it had held for decades, and in some respects moved towards the centre ground. Blair led Labour to a landslide victory in the 1997 general election.
In the first years of the New Labour government, Blair handed over control of interest rates to the Bank of England; introduced the minimum wage; signed the Belfast Agreement giving amnesty to terrorists and releasing IRA murderers from gaol; introduced tuition fees for universities; and granted devolution (autonomy) to both Scotland and Wales on simple majority referenda. This established the new Scottish Parliament, a National Assembly for Wales], and the Northern Ireland Assembly, in what a great many people saw as the first steps in the breaking up of the United Kingdom. In his first six years, Blair had British troops ordered into battle abroad five times — more than any other prime minister in history. His government expelled all but 92 of the over 600 hereditary peers from the House of Lords and began packing it with political appointees. They "revised" the judiciary, abolishing the centuries old Lord Chancellor as well as the equally ancient final right of appeal to the House of Lords, replacing it with an American-style un-English Supreme Court. These and other socialist "reforms" were roundly condemned by real conservatives across the United Kingdom. Unfortunately when the Conservative Party finally came to government they reversed nothing.
Against Free Speech
Blair and his government are particularly responsible for two major pieces of legislation against free speech and freedom of expression: the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, and the Communications Act 2003. Despite their innocuous titles, reading these Acts will frighten anyone who believes they live in a free country.
USA lackey & War criminal
Before Blair joined in the invasion of Iraq to support the United States he also played a key role in an act of international aggression against Serbia) - and a dangerous precedent was set. Four years before "shock and awe" was unleashed on Baghdad, Blair played a key role in another act of aggression which, like the Iraq war, was also based on a fraudulent prospectus. The 1999 attack on Serbia was in clear breach of international law. Only the United Nations (UN) security council can authorise military action against a sovereign state, and the UN security council was not consulted. The attack was also in breach of American-controlled NATO's own charter, which only allowed the use of force when a member state was attacked. The stated casus belli was that Serbia, in Blair's own words, was "set on a Hitler-style genocide equivalent to the extermination of the Jews in World War II" against the ethnic Albanian population in the province of Kosovo. There was no evidence to back this assertion up at the time, and there certainly isn't any since. Over 100 prosecution witnesses were called at the trial of Milosevic at The Hague: not a single one testified that the former Serbian President had ordered genocide, or in fact had ordered any crimes or violence against the civilian population of Kosovo whatsoever. On the contrary, a Muslim captain in the Serbian army testified that no one in his unit had ever committed systematic harassment of Albanian civilians in Kosovo, and that he had never heard of any other unit doing so either, while the former head of security in the Serbian army, General Geza Farkas (an ethnic Hungarian), testified that all Serbian soldiers in Kosovo had been handed a document explaining international humanitarian law, and that they were ordered to disobey any orders which violated it. In reality, the "Kosovan crisis" was as contrived as the Iraqi "WMD crisis" of four years later. The West encouraged a terrorist group, the KLA, to provoke the Serbian authorities, and when the anti-terrorist response from Belgrade came, the US and Britain were ready to produce a document at the Rambouillet "peace conference", which as defence minister Lord Gilbert has conceded, was deliberately designed to be rejected by the Serbs. Why was it all done? The rump Yugoslavia was targeted not for "humanitarian" reasons - as many on the liberal-left still mistakenly believe - but simply because it stood in the way. George Kenney of the USA's State Department said: "In post-cold war Europe no place remains for a large, independent-minded socialist state that resisted globalisation". The illegal war against Serbia may not have led to as much bloodshed and carnage as the Iraq conflict, but its importance should not be underestimated. For the first time since Warsaw Pact tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia in 1968, a European state, which threatened no other, had been attacked. A dangerous precedent - that of riding roughshod over international law.
Not long afterwards Blair and Britain were drawn by the USA into the invasion of another sovereign country, Iraq, on entirely false pretexts. The UK was part of a US-led coalition which invaded Iraq after former American President George W Bush and Blair (doing as he was told) accused Iraq's President Saddam Hussein of possessing "weapons of mass destruction" and having links to terrorists. These assertions were groundless and untrue. The Chilcot report, which summarised the findings of a public inquiry into Britain’s role in the war, concluded Blair deliberately blurred lines between what he believed and what he knew. It found that Blair had convinced himself with unjustified certainty that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, when intelligence reports had not established “beyond doubt” that they existed. In July 2017 a wide-ranging survey in Britain found that a third of British people wanted to see Tony Blair tried as a war criminal over Iraq. During the Iraq War, 179 British Armed Forces personnel and at least three UK Government civilian staff died. Many more were wounded and/or maimed. Of the more than 183 fatalities, 138 personnel were classified as having been killed in hostile circumstances, with the remaining 44 losing their lives as a result of illness, accidents/friendly fire, or suicide.
Jewish groups in the United Kingdom paid tribute to Blair. Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, called Blair a "friend and ally", citing the establishment of 14 government-funded Jewish schools and the expanded Holocaust Education programme during his tenure, as well as his support for Israel. "Tony Blair has demonstrated a deep personal commitment and has been hugely courageous in defence of Israel, doing the right thing even when it has lost him support among the British public," said Jane Kennedy, chairwoman of Labour Friends of Israel. Jewish influences were crucial with Blair's immigration policies. Later, in 2019, Blair called for anti-semitism to be rooted out of the Labour Party.
Blair is the Labour Party's longest-serving Prime Minister; the only person to have led the Labour Party to three consecutive general election victories; and the only Labour Prime Minister to serve consecutive terms, more than one of which was at least four years long. He was succeeded as Leader of the Labour Party on 24 June 2007 and as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007 by Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer.
- British Politics: Labour Manifesto (1997)
- Blair loyalists insist centre ground is key to election victory | Politics | The Guardian
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- Field of operation. MoD (undated). Retrieved on 11 November 2020.
- "Brown is UK's new prime minister". BBC News. 27 June 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6245682.stm. Retrieved 27 June 2007.
- Clark, Greg, & Mather, James, editors, Total Politics: Labour's Command State, Conservative Policy Unit, London, 2003, ISBN: 0-9544917-3-4.
- Murray, Andrew, A New Labour Nightmare, Verso, London, 2003, ISBN: 1-85984-552-5.
- Wood, Nicholas, War Crime or Just War? - The Iraq War 2003-2005 - The Case Against Blair, edited by Anabella Pellens, South Hill Press, London, 2005, ISBN: 0-9528443-1-1