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A quarter of a century on, Tony Blair’s dream has turned to nightmare

3 59 0
20.07.2019

Twenty-five years ago I was thrown out of a party. Tony Blair had been elected leader of the Labour Party on 21 July 1994, and a victory party was held at Church House in Westminster. Journalists were not invited, but I was writing a book about him, so I went anyway.

I listened to Blair’s speech. “A particular thank-you to a friend of mine called Bobby, who some of you will know. He played a great part and did so well.” Most people in the room had no idea “Bobby” was Peter Mandelson’s codename among the inner circle, a necessary subterfuge because many other Blair supporters were so deeply suspicious of him.

That is the thing about politics: even at momentous turning points in history, the “who hates whom” is often as important as the great questions of national destiny. It will be the same in the circles around Boris Johnson this weekend.

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Anyway, I was politely asked to leave by Tim Allan, one of Blair’s advisers, but I was glad to have been there – on the day the Labour Party stepped decisively into the unknown, electing a leader who struck fear into the hearts of the Conservatives because he was........

© Independent