Considering Tony Blair’s Brexit speech — the message not the messenger

In an editorial, The Guardian says: If the test of a speech is how effectively it generates headlines and dominates conversations, Tony Blair’s call for a Brexit rethink today was a resounding success. Less so, perhaps, if the test was to persuade people who do not agree with him already.

Mr Blair always commands attention as the only living British politician to have won three elections and served a decade as prime minister. That experience furnishes insight deserving of an audience. But such insight is routinely obscured by debate about the integrity of the man. Anyone who served so long will animate partisan feelings; Mr Blair’s unusual fate is to have aroused some of the most passionate hatred within his own party.

It is possible to believe that some of the opprobrium is earned, yet also to think that the argument advanced by Mr Blair on Brexit is sound. His case is that Britain voted to leave the European Union without an account of what that would involve in practice. As the terms of separation become clear – if it appears that the government is wedded to a ruinous version of Brexit – it is reasonable to argue for a different course. [Continue reading…]

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