TONY BLAIR’S speech on Brexit on the morning of February 17th has attracted a predictable storm of derision. The former prime minister has become a sort of Rorschach t`est for whatever the viewer thinks is wrong about Britain: to the left he stands for free-market capitalism and war, to the right he stands for a hyper-metropolitan internationalism, to some of his former acolytes he stands for how not to secure one’s political legacy after leaving politics. In parts of Westminster and Fleet Street nuanced opinions about Mr Blair meet with a mix of bafflement and distaste, like ordering veal at a vegan restaurant.

To be sure, some of the criticism is valid. Mr Blair presided over the build-up to Britain’s financial and economic crisis and the failure of the post-invasion period in Iraq. His globe-trotting, pro-globalisation breeziness clashes with the prevailing mood among electorates in much of the West. His money-making activities since leaving Downing Street (ten years ago this June, believe it or not) have done his domestic reputation significant harm.

Yet the shame of all this is that it detracts from the many things Mr Blair says that are worth heeding. He…Continue reading