Tony Blair is the most successful political leader of the modern era, winning three general elections and securing the largest ever post-war Commons majority of 179 seats in 1997. Yet his legacy in restoring the fortunes of the Labour Party as a party suitable for office is currently in the process of being trashed by the Left-wing caucus led by Jeremy Corbyn. In addition, Mr Blair believes the British voters made a historic mistake last June in voting to leave the EU and he wishes to see that result reversed or certainly revisited.
To that end, he popped up on BBC radio yesterday to advocate that voters in the June 8 election should consider whether the candidates in their constituency are in favour of a “hard Brexit” and, if so, vote accordingly. He maintained that this was a matter of such importance to the future of the nation that it transcended party politics.
Yet when Mr Blair was asked how he personally would vote, he said he would support Labour because “I always have”. In other words, he is inviting others to do something that he is not prepared to do himself.
In truth, it is hard to imagine Mr Blair casting a vote for Mr Corbyn; but he feared that the story would turn into the former prime minister saying “don’t vote Labour”, as no doubt it would. However, if he thinks the matter is crucial enough to warrant advising fellow Remainers to vote tactically, why is he not ready to do so himself?
Is Mr Blair suggesting that Remainers should vote for the Liberal Democrats or not? And if so, is he prepared to risk the prospect of a hung Parliament in which Mr Corbyn could get his hands on the levers of power? The Labour leader’s worryingly blasé response to questions from Andrew Marr yesterday about Britain’s nuclear defence and security demonstrated how dangerous that would be. He cast doubt on retaining the Trident deterrent, only for others in the party to state the opposite.
There is a straightforward choice to be made on June 8: a stable government under a Prime Minister who has shown over the past nine months that she has what it takes to lead the country into the Brexit talks and beyond; or a shambolic coalition with Mr Corbyn and his Left-wing hardliners as its leading component. If Mr Blair really has the best interests of his country at heart, he would do everything to prevent the latter, not encourage it.