I thought David Clark’s article in the Guardian about the Prime Minister the other day got things about right. So go and read it, if you haven’t already.
One reason I liked it, of course, is that it’s a recognisable version of Ross McKibbin’s approach to thinking about Mr Blair, from which I’ve approvingly quoted before. Here he is again, writing in the LRB in 2003:
This is a government by no means without achievement, but it has even so been a disappointment: a disappointment in relation to what we had a right to expect and in relation to its own extraordinary electoral strength. Its ambitions are narrowed to those which can be achieved with the least controversy and offend the fewest powerful interests. Blair, we are told, is an admirer of the Asquith Government, but I wonder how much he knows of it. This, after all, was a government which was prepared to take on the House of Lords, the Tory Party, a good part of the ruling class, the rich, even the monarchy, and was dependent on the fruitful relationship between a Prime Minister who in the end sided with the Left and a Chancellor (Lloyd George) who enjoyed offending almost everybody. To read the Liberal Party’s rhetoric during the 1910 elections is to realise that we live in a different world. It is inconceivable that Blair or Brown would behave that way.
(Dead Men Left has more.)