THE BLOG

Blair's Anti-Brexit Campaign Is Opportunistic And Nothing Else

09/12/2016 12:05
STEFAN ROUSSEAU via Getty Images

Prior to the EU Referendum, then Prime Minister, David Cameron, made it clear the result would be respected, arguing "You cannot have neverendums. You have referendums." His £9.3 million taxpayer-funded leaflet made this very clear.

Now the Remain campaign have lost the Referendum, they have not been so gracious in defeat. And after Cameron's early retirement, veterans like former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Ken Clarke, Peter Mandelson, Danny Alexander, Paddy Ashdown and Nick Clegg have come back into the fray to fight against Brexit.

It's Blair who will launch the biggest challenge it seems, in a cynical attempt to resurrect his disgraced political career. Part-funded by Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, Blair will apparently launch the 'Tony Blair Institute' in the New Year. This will have a focus on "trying to make globalisation work for all", and will fight Brexit as being "close-minded" and "isolationist". It is clearly a revival of New Labour in everything but name, and will seek to recapture the political centre ground.

Blair and his cronies certainly have seen an opportunity in front of them, and believe they are politically skilled enough to get somewhere with this. Many Remainers are so bitter about Brexit they would delight in the thwarting of democracy. It's no stretch to say they could switch their party based on a Brexit stance. No wonder the Lib Dems will vote against the triggering of Article 50; they are going for broke to attract the Remainers.

This discontent has grown under Labour's Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had led a remarkably weak Remain campaign. This, along with Labour's hard-left stance, is causing a rapid loss of support. With a disillusioned Labour centre-left wing, Tony Blair has clearly seen an opportunity to recapture the centre ground. We should expect Blair to make a strong opposition. After all, he is an opportunist.

It is vital to get to the bottom of why Blair is mounting this challenge. After his track record in Government, this is clearly not a matter of conscience. We should also doubt his real concern for the United Kingdom or Europe, having contributed to the 2008 recession and weakened global security after the Iraq war.

This is nothing more than we should expect from Blair. This is only about his power and reputation. Both are in a dire state at the moment, and Blair is deeply unpopular with the British people for his actions in the past. This is something he certainly wants to change, and he sees this as an opportunity for him. Blair can quickly become popular with disgruntled Remainers, who will support anyone who tries to thwart Brexit.

As for power, the Tony Blair Institute could become a force in British politics in the future. Labour and the Conservatives could easily lose disappointed Remainers. If these voters are not convinced by the Lib Dems, Blair may seize the opportunity to get back into the political scene.

Fortunately, the more sensible Eurosceptics have the upper hand. Blair will ultimately fail because he cannot change the record of history. His mistakes cannot be rectified, and the Great British Public will never forget the damage he has done.

Meanwhile, the Remoaners have little to stand on. Brexit is the clear democratic will of the people, supported by the largest absolute vote in British electoral history. Their arguments during the campaign were false, and Project Fear is being continuously proven wrong. The UK will be leaving the European Union, so we must tell Blair defiantly to 'bring it on'.

Though Blair's project is likely to fail, we should recognise what is really behind it. Blair is driven by self-interest and opportunism. The British people are driven by the love for their country and its people. It's clear which side will win, and soon we will Get Britain Out of the EU.

Jack Beresford is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out.

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