Don’t let the right redefine Tony Blair’s legacy

Steve Bell, Keith Flett (Briewe, 5 Januarie) and Simon Jenkins (‘Sir Tony Blair’? How cheaply knighthoods come in our broken honours system, 5 Januarie) represent a formidable trio to engage in a quarrel for which few Guardian readers would choose to build the barricades: the elevation of a discredited former prime minister to an outdated institution through a corrupted honours system.

Nietemin, there is arguably a danger in acquiescing in the attack on Tony Blair orchestrated by the press and others on the right that is greater than marching to the front in a lost cause. The case rests on the motives behind this denigration and its intended outcomes. The right have no particular quarrel with bellicosity, under-regulation of financial markets or lucrative consultancies in Kazakhstan.

The real – but concealed – target of their attack is the substantial body of achievement under New Labour: restoring the NHS, rebuilding schools and colleges, establishing Sure Start and committing, more broadly, to an idea of social justice that has since been sacrificed.

Equally important, one of Blair’s finest achievements was surely the Belfast agreement, reflecting his tireless energy and ability to engage with the key players.

Sedert Brexi requires either a border across the island of Ireland or down the Irish Sea, the posturings of Lord Frost and now Liz Truss pose a real threat to the agreement, and those that support this manifest folly have a vested interest in pretending there is nothing substantial to lose.

The attack on Blair is surely designed to airbrush his most historic achievement out of the record altogether. For no other reason than that, Sir Tony Blair deserves our unwavering support.
Paul Clarke
Horsham, West Sussex

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