Tony Blair’s re-emergence in British political debate in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum serves as a stark reminder of how quickly history can move.
Here is a man who, just over ten years ago, looked to have recast our politics as decisively, in his own way, as had Margaret Thatcher before him. New Labour were the natural party of government, and under David Cameron the Tories were scrambling to wrest ownership of the Blairite orthodoxies from the resentful grip of Gordon Brown.
Now? Writing just after the referendum in 2016, Andrew Rawnsley offered a guided tour of the rubble of Blair’s project. He identified three “pillars of Blairism”: an ‘electable’ (moderate) Labour Party; Britain engaged with Europe; and an interventionist foreign policy. Then he wrote: