By Paul Goodman
The Sun has an interview with "The Master", as some Conservative Cabinet modernisers apparently refer to him. It notes that the paperback edition of his autobiography "The Journey" is out now with a new introduction, and this perhaps explains why Blair's out and about in the paper this morning.
But at any rate, he isn't very helpful to Ed Miliband, for three reasons. First, he's not assisting the Labour leader by giving interviews all, unless they're ravingly supportive of him. Second, he backs the Government's schools and hospitals reforms.
And third, he has little time for Blue Labour and its nostalgic aversion to free markets – and none for the new leadership's attempt to "move on" from the Blair/Brown era. The concept of New Labour, he tells the Sun, "can't possibly be over because the concept isn't time related".
Not time-related! There you have it. New Labour will never die! New Labour is eternal! It is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Behold, St Tony of Jerusalem makes All Things New, and will carry on making proclamations to the same effect until he is a grinning nonagenarion.
At any rate, here are three of the main quotes, and you can find more here.
- On the Government's reforms: "I think some of the technical aspects of reform – competition in the NHS, putting the patient first, breaking up the traditional state school system in favour of academies and trust schools – these were things we started."
- On David Cameron as Prime Minister: "I have an innate respect and sense of solidarity for anyone who takes the job on. It is a huge responsibility and it is a responsibility that never leaves you for a single moment of any day or night."
- On British military intervention in Libya: "We can't afford to stay out of this situation because how the Middle East develops will impact us dramatically and profoundly as a country."
Miliband of course gets Blair's "full support", and as for Him Who Mustn't Be Mentioned: "Gordon had enormous strengths but in the end I am afraid there was a profound disagreement on policy."