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Tony Blair

The Right Hon. Tony Blair
Appointed PM:May 2, 1997
PM Predecessor:John Major
Date of Birth:May 6, 1953
Place of Birth:Edinburgh, Scotland
Political Party:Labour

The Rt Hon Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953) became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1997.

Born in 1953 in Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated at Fettes[?] in Edinburgh, known as the "Eton of Scotland". He read law at St. John's College, Oxford where he obtained a degree. During his college years he also played guitar and sang for a rock band called Ugly Rumours. Shortly after graduation in 1975 he joined the Labour Party, running unsuccessfully for parliament in 1982 in the safe Tory seat of Beaconsfield[?]. During the early 1980s he was involved in the Hackney Labour Party, where he aligned himself with the "soft left" who looked to be taking control of the party.

During the 1983 UK general election he was elected in Sedgefield, where he has served until the present day. Following two general election defeats by Margaret Thatcher in 1983 and 1987, Blair aligned himself firmly with the reforming tendencies in the party, headed by leader Neil Kinnock who gave Blair his first shadow cabinet post, and worked to produce a more moderate and electable party. When Kinnock resigned after defeat by John Major in the 1992 UK general election, Blair became Shadow Home Secretary under John Smith.

In 1994 Smith died of a heart attack. Blair and fellow shadow cabinet member Gordon Brown struck a deal that would see Blair stand for the leadership, with Brown becoming Chancellor in the event of victory. Elected using the reformed election rules he had helped to bring in, Blair and Brown set about changing the Labour Party, modifying its constitution away from commitments to public ownership, focusing on presenting itself as fiscally competent (after the failures of the Conservative government of that time) and "rebranding" itself as New Labour.

Although it attracted much criticism for its alleged superficiality from both political opponents and traditionalists within the party, the transformation was nevertheless successful. Aided by a Conservative government split over policy toward the European Union and tainted by allegations of corruption, "New Labour" achieved a landslide victory over John Major in the 1997 UK general election.

Blair presided over the British involvement in the Kosovo War, and was the only Prime Minister of the 20th century to sire a child while in office.

In the 2001 UK general election, the Labour Party preserved its majority at an unprecedented level, even in the face of a reduced turnout, and Blair became the first Labour Prime Minister to serve two consecutive terms. The leader of the Conservative Party, William Hague resigned and became the first Conservative Party leader since the 1920s not to have served as Prime Minister.

Following the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center, Blair was quick to align the UK with the US, engaging in a round of shuttle diplomacy to help form and maintain the allied coalition prior to their attack on Afghanistan (in which British troops participated). He continues in this role to this day, showing a willingness to visit countries on diplomatic missions that other world leaders might consider too dangerous to visit.

As is usually the fate with British Prime Ministers, he has become the central focal point of satire in the magazine Private Eye. A regular feature is the St Albion Parish News (incumbent: Rev. A.R.P. Blair MA (Oxon)), in which recent political events and Blair's penchant for spin and his zealous enthusiasms are relentlessly pilloried.

Blair is married to successful barrister Cherie Booth[?] who he met in 1976 whilst both were studying law. They have three sons and one daughter. His wife and children are Roman Catholics, and he has increasingly been seen attending Mass with them.

Quotes

  • "The anti-globalization protests and people who indulge in the protests are completely misguided. World trade is good for people's jobs and people's living standards. These protests are a complete outrage."

  • "We are a corporate state."

  • "In retrospect, the Millennium marked only a moment in time. It was the events of September 11 that marked a turning point in history, where we confront the dangers of the future and assess the choices facing humankind."

  • "But what has come home to me more than anything else is the utter futility of Opposition. I did not join the Labour Party to protest. I joined it as a party of government and I will make sure that it is a party of government."-From Tony Blair's speech to the TUC, September 1995:


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