During an interview with Nick Robinson on the BBC Political Thinking Podcast, he said the public would want ‘acceptable choice’ and that he does not believe current political parties offer and will offer this.
As I listened intently to Tony Blair, it became apparent as to why so many people voted for him all those years ago. He is, without doubt, statesmen and still carries that swagger about him an incredible ability to see politics in a good light. He hinted that a new UK centrist party might emerge in the coming months, and that is the first real sign that something is happening at the grassroots level.
Hilariously at nearly the same time that Tony was having his interview, Vince Cable the leader of the liberal democrat party indicated he would be stepping down after local elections in May. Whether this was planned to coincide with the interview with Tony Blair or whether this was a signal that the Liberal Democrats are in deep trouble as a party will remain to be seen.
The current Labour Party have swung so far left and with them in power Conservative party constantly pampering to the far right never in British politics has the central ground be so wide open for a political party to just step into it and sweep up votes that could see it become a powerful alternative to the existing traditional parties.
However, could this all be a plan, is Tony Blair signalling that the Liberal Democrats will be the party to switch to and that the Labour disenchanted MP’s should switch to a new leader and may that leader be someone like Tony Blair. It is not beyond doubt that such a move could occur, and even a change of political party name too. It is not unheard of a major party leader switching parties, it has happened many times before in British Politics but could Tony Blair make such a successful move. It is not beyond the possibilities although highly unlikely.
Tony Blair who remains the only living former Labour Leader to have won multiple general elections has said in very straight talking that he does not believe it is even possible for Labour moderates to pull the party back from how far left it has swung and to the centre ground where it was successful.
However, are these the rantings of a former Prime Minister missing the old life, or is there far more to his words than meets the eye. I believe the latter. He seems extremely passionate again in British politics and without any doubt, would he jump at the chance to again go after a major UK role in politics. He is after all still a fantastic politician, and his views remain very strong on how the EU will also need to change. I am pretty sure now that had he been standing as Labour Leader in the last election, for example, he would now be PM. Putting that aside the reality is Tony Blair is back.
The leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn has increasingly become concerned with MP’s splitting away from the party and forming a new party or joining the liberal party. More than a dozen have quit the party or Westminster since Mr Corbyn became leader and two more have become independent MP’s in recent months. Something is happening that is for sure.
So why now? Well, the truth is a whole host of Europhile Labour MP’s have been looking into a split but have simply not really until now found a good figurehead to follow and to be straight to the point have been failing on the best strategy and tactics to pursue.
The trouble with all is that if Labour was to split would it effectively then keep the conservative party in power for a long time or would it do enough damage to take a major flow of political votes from all parties and in effect form a new strong party to take over. Here is the issue, would forming a new party be such a large gamble that may not work or will it actually achieve an incredible political first and achieve power quickly to reverse the damage currently being caused.
If we take a look at the Liberal Democrats, the party has continued to grow and stands at just over 100,000 members but lacks any power in Westminster with only 12 MP’s. Labour has 257 MP’s and the Conservatives 315. For a new party to be successful under Tony Blair they would need to do well in Scotland and Wales as well has hit hard in the home counties and the south-east. Is it possible? It just maybe.
I will not make an assumption as to the way forward. I do believe that potentially the political landscape will be changing soon in the UK and that from this I am guessing we will see either a new party, or a Liberal Democrat party changing its face and with an influx and take over from central Labour party members. Without question, the next 18 months will be interesting to watch.
Currently, Tony Blair runs the Institute for Global Change. This organisation aims to help make globalisation work for the many, not the few. They do this by helping countries, their people and their governments address some of the most difficult challenges in the world today.