During his time in office, Tony Blair oversaw the beginning of the privatisation of the NHS, a law and order agenda that punished the poor and in his first six years in office Blair ordered British troops into battle five times, more than any other prime minister in British history. This included Iraq in both 1998 and 2003; Kosovo (1999); Sierra Leone (2000) and Afghanistan (2001). This, and the lies he told over Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction will forever be his bloody legacy.
But Tony Blair, along with his chancellor Gordon Brown, also continued Thatcher’s policy of closely aligning the British economy to the US and mimicking its free market policies. This has meant the continued decline of manufacturing industry, and growing dependence on financial markets. The City of London has flourished under Blair and Brown. Many believe it has now overtaken New York as the world’s biggest financial centre, as the City’s lax regulatory regime has attracted vast amounts of speculative money held by hedge funds and private equity firms. This made the entire British economy highly vulnerable to the financial crash, which happened shortly after Blair's departure in 2007.
Given this, it is incredible to discover an interview Blair gave to Michael Buerk for the BBC's One O'Clock News shortly after Black Monday, the stock market crash in 1987. At the time, Tony Blair was the Labour Party's spokesman on 'City Affairs' and he said this:
"We now have an economy that is so locked-in to international trading, so dependent on what happens in America, that anything that happens in Wall Street then reverberates right round the world. Now the key lesson that we've got to take out of this is a necessity for governments, of any political colour, to work together in order to stop the excesses of the free market".Indeed. Its a pity he didn't take his own advice.
Watch the clip here.