Talk:Tony Blair/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 5

What is a shadow Cabinet secretary?

The shadow cabinet is a group of politicians of an opposition (i.e. non-governmental) party whose job is to scrutinise and criticise ministers of the governing party. Each minister has his critic/opponent from the other side, called the shadow. Home Secretary is the minister responsible for internal policy in a country (ie Police, drugs policy etc). I can't seem to work this in with the text, though. Maybe we need a Structure of British politics page. GWO



While the 'rebranding' may have fooled some of the population, it should be noted in the interests of balance that the Blair administration was responsible for the loss of serious amounts of public money in (for example) the Millenium Dome? fiasco, and that charges of 'croneyism' are never far away when one of Tony Blair's political allies (more or less inevitably) lands some plum job or other in the British administrative process.

I don't think this is a very fair comment for an encyclopedia. A link to croneyism would be fair because there are frequent charges on this score but it is endemic in British political life, especially in the awarding of peerages.

Also the idea of "fooling" the nation should be reserved until there is enough historical hindsight to determine: a) whether the Labour Party was intent on delibrately misleading the nation and b) whether they were successful.

What was the purpose of rebranding? It was to present an image (spin, etc) to persuade the British electorate that the Labour party were electable, and that things would improve with them in government. They succeeded in their aim, i.e. the rebranding worked. How much of what was being put forward was based in actuality?

Very little. Most of it was/is gloss and sheen. Things are no better in Britain under this lot than the last lot.

Subjective, and not neutral point of view

Crime rates continue to rise

Not true. Crime down, but violent crime up.

taxes also; social conditions worsen.

Evidence? If you backed any of these statements up with facts, it wouldn't just look like party political venting.

M'lud I would suggest that a highly elaborate con was (again) perpetrated on the British public.

Yes you might. But it shouldn't be mistaken for anything factually supported.

I suspect that you might also get a similar response from the millions who stayed away from the last election.

You may well suspect that. Doesn't make it true.

More people didn't vote for Blair and Labour than did, and yet he/they are still in power.

Straw Man. Who would you suggest won the last election?

You're also suggesting that several hundred million pounds of taxpayer's money wasn't thrown down the drain?

On the Dome. The Dome that was John Major and Heseltine's idea. Such avoidance of the facts does not make neutral point of view, it reads like a Daily Mail editorial.

Or that all political appointees above a certain level aren't vetted by Alastair Campbell et al?

Name me one political leader who appointed their enemies to positions of power GWO

Things could only get better?

I see the apparatchiks are up and doing. Mustn't tarnish St Tony's gilded halo, must we...

So what's better? Railways? No. Traffic? No. Street crime? No. Pensions? No. NHS? Much worse. Policing levels? down. Taxes? Up. State bureaucracy and political interference? Up. I'm running out of things to be critical of. See if you can think of any positives. I live in one of the nicest areas of Britain, and it's a ****ing war-zone at night.

Personally I'm glad crime is down at the expense of violent crime, it makes me feel so much safer that I know that I'm less likely to be burgled but more likely to be burgled with violence...

IfI'd been Blair, I'd have scrapped the Dome on coming into office and called a white elephant a white elephant. The Tories are culpable as well, but they didn't control the finances at the time...

I can think of several political leaders who appointed enemies: Ken Clarke offering the olive branch to Portillo being but the first that leaps to mind.

PS I forgot to mention '2 Jags' Prescott, Peter Mandelson, Keith Vaz, the disgraceful treatment of Mo Mowlam, the Hinduja affair, the arms deal fiasco with the IRA.... sjc

How about unemplyment down, inflation down, low interest rates? Or are they not important?

Not that I've agreed with everything Blair's done (eg Iraq)

Having been to Italy and the USA recently the UK doesn't seem so bad. Mind you, to be fair it wasn't THAT bad under Major. However - we just seem incapable of managing big projects - from the Comet, Concorde, the Dome, the Channel Tunnel (took several goes and over 100 years before it came to pass).

Anyway, both my points and yours are fine here on the discussion section - but in the article itself? I think not. It's pure POV.


Here is the suspect text. Change it to something that is from the neutral point of view (recast your partisan take on things as "one view," then cite an opposing view or views), then repost it:

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 committments to public ownership, focusing on presenting itself as fiscally competent (after the failures of the previous Labour government) and "rebranding" itself as New Labour. While the 'rebranding' may have fooled some of the population, it should be noted in the interests of balance that the Blair administration was responsible for the loss of serious amounts of public money in (for example) the Millennium Dome fiasco, and that charges of 'croneyism' are never far away when one of Tony Blair's political allies (more or less inevitably) lands some plum job or other in the British administrative process.
Although it attracted much criticism for its alleged superficiality from both political opponents and traditionalists within the party, the glitzy 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 1997 and repeated the success in 2001 defeating Conservative leader William Hague and Liberal-Democrat leader Charles Kennedy with the overall loss of only one seat (see British Elections 2001). It should, however, be noted that this was the lowest percentage turn-out in a British election in living memory. The second victory was historic as Blair became the first Labour Prime Minister to achieve two terms in office. It was also the biggest majority ever achieved by a party already in government.



Why not add this bit too: " Following crushing election defeats by Margaret Thatcher in 83 and 87, Blair aligned himself firmly with the reforming tendencies in the Party, headed by leader Neil Kinnock who gave Blair his first cabinet post, and worked to produce a more moderate, and electable party." --if only because what is electable is of course a matter of opinion, subject to hindsight bias. If you don't believe me, then ask Ross Perot. ;-)

I don't understand this comment. Can you elucidate? GWO

I just mean why blather about what's electable or not? I doubt everyone here would agree about it, nor would everyone voting, nor (obviously) would everyone running for office. I should probably have just removed ", and electable" without commenting on it, now that I think about it. :-) --KQ

Removed term of office. British PMs don't have a term of office. They are appointed by the Queen and remain in office until whenever they retire, lost their seat, are defeated in the House of Commons in a confidence motion or in a general election. Thatcher didn't have a term of office. She was appointed in 1979 and remained until she resigned in 1990. So 'term of office' is completely wrong in the UK (or most parliamentary democracies). Also, the form for elections results on wiki is [[{country} {type of election), {year}]]ÉÍREman 18:53 May 4, 2003 (UTC)

Of course technically, as Parliament is disolved before a General Election, Thatcher wasn't in office continually from 1979 to 1990 Mintguy 20:36 May 4, 2003 (UTC)

She was. The dissolution of parliament is irrelevant to a PM's status. A common myth in parliamentary systems is that a PM resigns then dissolves. That is 100% fiction, as the relevant files show. A dissolution makes no impact on the status of a PM because a dissolution is merely a dissolution of the legislature. A PM exercises executive authority vested in the crown. Thatcher would only be required to resign if the election results showed she could no longer carry on the Queen's government because a new parliamentary majority was against her. That never happened. In fact the idea that a PM should resign after a negative general election result is a new phenonemon. Previoiusly PMs waited until they were actually defeated in the Queen's speech, when they outlined their programme. Only in the last century did the idea of resigning after losing a general election take hold. ÉÍREman 00:45 May 5, 2003 (UTC)

For a neutral balanced article I don't think it's right to have the quotes at the bottom. It's a very easy find quotes to fit whatever image you want to portray of the man; positive or negative. Mintguy 17:35 20 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I agree. The are POV, out of context and should be removed. They are blatently POVing the article. FearÉIREANN 19:20 20 Jul 2003 (UTC)

They are also unsourced: the "We are a corporate state" quote occurs in only three places on the Web, one irrelevant and both others related to this article. Let's take them out. If people want to re-add properly sourced quotes, then we can deal with them on a case-by-case basis. -- Anon.

Moderate and electable

"and worked to produce a more moderate, and electable party"

He might have worked towards that, I suppose. The suggestion is, though, that he succeeded. I'm not sure that we can assume that the changes Blair made were responsible for Labour's election win, though - it's more than possible that Kinnock's Labour party, or even Foot's Labour party, would have won the 1997 election against Major's Conservatives. -- Varitek


Q: Does he really associate himself with Brains from the Thunderbirds? I've heard he played the Thunderbirds March when he accepted the PM position? - Sparky 04:35, 8 Jan 2004 (UTC)


The nicknames section. It isn't neutral. Should we not include it all, or perhaps just give it the usual npov-ing treatment?

Yes this section (as it stands) seems a bit unworthy of the Wikipedia project. People may have legitimate criticisms of Blair, but this really looks like name calling. Also I haven't heard of half of these, and I don't think there in common usage. I changed the heading to Satirical Caricature and moved the bit about St Albans Parish there, which I think fits better. I think it's right that there should be something like this here as satire and scepticism are key part of British Politics, but could do with some editing for NPOV and maybe deleting some of the more obscure nicknames. The most perjorative one "Bliar" is one of the best known thanks to having been on many of the million+ placards at the largest political demonstration ever seen in this country (the anti war march before Iraq). Perhaps a snap of one of these placards would put the nicknames in their proper context, and demonstrate that name calling can be a legitimate part of democratic debate (e.g., in the context of demonstrations).Washington irving 16:38, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I think Teflon refers to the non-sticking of accusations or investigations rather than the non-sticking of what someone says, so in this part: Teflon Tony - It states that much of what Blair says "doesn't stick", this term is alliteration and originates from the non-stick substance, Teflon. I would suggest instead "Teflon Tony - investigations into Blair's statements do not stick..." User:Wikibob 01:00, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Length of term

"On August 1, 2003 he became the longest sitting Labour Prime Minister, surpassing Harold Wilson's 1964 - 1970 term"

I just thought I'd point out Harold Wilson was PM again in 1974-76. That means that Wilson was PM for 8 years, compared to blair's 1997-2004 - 7 years.


Key term: "sitting" - Harold Wilson stood up for a bit inbetween terms SimonMayer 20:56 Thu 29th Jan 2004 (GMT/UTC)

Socialist Campaign Group

Does the opinion of the Socialist Campaign Group really deserve prominence as high as the second sentence in this article? Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 16:19, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

As you will see I have removed this amongst numerous other changes. Have no axe to grind, just wanted to sort out the structure which was getting a bit disjointed/confused. I moved this section from the Political Career section where it was out of place in a chronologically organized part of the article. Have tried to balance these criticisms of Blair (originally inserted by Barbara Shack) with some more general (hopefully more neutral comments). I think this page could still use some more work. Washington irving 16:51, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Yes sorry I caught you in the middle of re-factoring. On the new opening paragraph: right now we credit Tony with winning the election because he moved the party to the right. This point has been discussed a lot on this here talk page. Yes he moved the party to the right (dumped clause 4) and yes they won the election.. but the point that has been made before (forcefully) is that one didn't necessarily cause the other. Had John Smith not died, Labour probably would've still won in '97... the majority may have been different but not so different. In the last round of debate it was decided to steer clear of directly crediting Tony ourselves but try to quote other authorities on the matter. I agree that the article could still use some work because this hasn't been done properly... writing about a sitting leader of a country is a hard task, I reckon. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 18:47, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Yes I take your point. In fact the association between modernization and election is far from proved. On the other hand, I think the Major government wasn't so severely damaged as you suggest, and I don't think either Foot or Kinnock would have been elected in 97. I'm afraid my cynical view is that election results have more to do with hairstyles than policies. See how you like the new version Washington irving 19:58, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I tinkered with it a bit, if only to prove I write in the article namespace sometimes, as well as being a naggard in the talk: namespace! I feel it is right to say what Blair says he's about first, and then immediately follow up with the prominent criticisms, rather than the other way round, which is what was happening before. Odd how pro then con seems more neutral than con then pro... Feel free to nag me now! Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 20:37, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The new version is better for NPOV but maybe read so well. Anyway, its a minor point. I think this article is starting to look much better now. Washington irving 21:37, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Reforming the Labout Party

I don't like this paragraph:

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.

Proposed redrafting:

Shortly after his election as Leader, Blair announced at the conclusion of his 1994 conference speech that he intended to propose a new statement of aims and values for the Labour Party to replace the set originally drawn up in 1918. This involved the deletion of Clause IV which had committed the party to 'the common ownership of the means of production', which was widely interpreted as wholescale nationalisation. A special conference of the party approved the change in March 1995.

While in opposition Blair also revised party policy so that the party would be seen as competent and modern. He used the term 'new Labour' to distinguish the party under his leadership from its past. Although it attracted much criticism for its alleged superficiality from both political opponents and traditionalists within the party, the transformation was nevertheless successful in changing public perception.

Dbiv 13:30, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Children and the media

This section is biased:

The Blairs have also been criticised for "exploiting" their children in public for photocalls when it suits them, yet bemoaning the media for naturally following this through.

Blair is open about his religious faith; some have suggested he is the most devout Prime Minister since William Gladstone. He is an Anglican, but his wife and children are Roman Catholics, and he has increasingly been seen attending Mass with them.

Proposed redrafting:

Blair has tried to shield his children from public view so far as possible and has twice lodged complaints about press stories concerning them. However, the fact that the family have occasionally held photocalls together has led some to accuse him of exploitation.

Blair is an Anglican of the High Church or Anglo-Catholic tendency, while his wife is Roman Catholic and his children are (according to Catholic doctrine) brought up in that faith. However, Blair has not sought to make a political issue of his faith. Some have suggested he is the most devout Prime Minister since William Gladstone.

(RC doctrine says children of 'mixed marriages' should be brought up RC)

Dbiv 13:40, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I agree that the original section was too anti-Blair. Your proposed change is better. However I think it swings slightly too far the other way. I think your version with "so far as possible" removed would be better. Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 14:08, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Reverted the edit by User:Michael3 - while this may not be hard-banned User:Michael, the summary comment makes me very suspicious that it is he. If anyone desperately wants to, they can manually wikify the link to 1980s that Michael3 did. -- Arwel 23:16, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)

John Smith

Which do you think is better: John Smith, Baron Smith of London or Lord London? cryptfiend64 01:32, May 14, 2004 (UTC)

  • the first, by a country mile. Doesn't he already have a page? --Tagishsimon
  • Going out on a limb here, I assume that you mean John Smith as a generic name rather than John Smith, as in the previous leader of the Labour party before Blair, because he died before having a chance to get a peerage. If so, then Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Peerage is where all the juice is. I think the former term is the one in general use, with exceptions for those Lords commonly known by their common name and for those commonly known as Lord X. (e.g. Jeffrey Archer in the former case, and Lord Falconer in the second). Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 11:22, 14 May 2004 (UTC)
    • I noticed that on the charts given at the bottom of British Cabinet members, they're always listed as (if the guy's name was John Watson, Baron Watson of London) The Lord Watson of London, so I used that convention for the lords' names. They're leaders of the House of Lords and such, so I'd assume they go by their proper names. cryptfiend64 19:21, May 14, 2004 (UTC)
You will note there is a general exception for life peers. I oppose strongly the use of these lordnames for people like George Robertson. Morwen 19:25, May 14, 2004 (UTC)
Not particularly -- look at Derry Irvine (the chart on the bottom), and every other page with such charts. I understand that George Robertson didn't go by his peerage, but otherwise (especially for ppl such as the "Leader of the House of Lords"),it seems they went by their lord name. cryptfiend64 19:28, May 14, 2004 (UTC)
But remember he wasn't even a peer at the time he was Defence Secretary... I'm more objecting to the anachronism than anything else. Morwen 19:30, May 14, 2004 (UTC)
I know, I reverted George Robertson back to George Robertson. I think that the others, though (especially Lord Falconer, who was mentioned above) are fine, IMO. cryptfiend64 19:31, May 14, 2004 (UTC)


The otherwise very good section on Satirical caricature misunderstands what cronyism means. It has nothing to do with not listening to his party (although that might, in itself, be a valid point to make). It is a charge of promoting his friends to plum jobs. I tweaked it a little to make that clear Monk Bretton 18:40, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

Why I changed the external link

I changed the link because it linked to some weird 'Tony Blair is the anti-christ, Nostrodamus predicted it!!!!!!' nonsense. The site looks very minor and of no significance whatsoever. If someone wishes to add some more links, ones that satirise or criticise Blair, then fair enough. But they should at least be reflective of genuine criticism. Funny thing is the link I removed seemed to have been in the piece for ages. Other than that glitch this is an excellent page, well done all of you! Monk Bretton 01:26, 3 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Unsubstantiated allegations

I removed the following paragraphs. The first implies that John Smith was murdered by Blairite henchmen; the second suggests that Blair's cabinet contains a paedophile ring. Given that these are somewhat controversial allegations, some links would be nice.

In 1994 Smith allegedly died suddenly of a heart attack. Despite a certified autopsy confirming the official cause of death, suspicions remain that his passing was not entirely natural and came at an all too opportune time for the ambitious Sedgefield MP.
The report of another inquiry into the presence of alleged practising paedophiles in his cabinet was also suppressed prior to the illegal invasion of Iraq. The revelation was made on 19 January 2003 by a senior intelligence officer in discussions with the Sunday Herald's Home Affairs Editor, Neil Mackay. The government issued a press gagging order, which effectively removed the story from the public domain.

chocolateboy 04:14, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

As the anon tried to insert this tripe twice, I think the short note you left on his talk page was appropriate. Pcb21| Pete 07:52, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I don't know how to word it really...but shouldn't it be said that via marriage to Cherie's father, Tony Blair had somewhat of familial relations with Pat Phoenix? Mike H 16:45, Jul 29, 2004 (UTC)

His wife's father's second?-wife for a couple of days. Hmm.. not really Mintguy (T)


I've removed the following:

On 25 August 2004, it was announced that a number of MPs would soon be initiating an attempt to impeach Blair, charging him with having "caused injury to the state" and "breached his constitutional duties" by lying to Parliament. The attempt, led by Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, is supported by all Welsh and Scottish nationalist MPs. Those behind the impeachment have claimed that a number of Labour backbenchers had expressed support, though none have so far put their name to it. However, the campaign is being supported by the right-wing Spectator magazine and its editor, Conservative MP Boris Johnson. The impeachment process can be initiated by a single MP. There were many attempts to impeach Charles I, but the legislation has not been used in the UK for one-hundred and fifty years. The impeachment may fall at the first hurdle, if the Speaker of the House of Commons refuses to allow a debate. If the impeachment is ultimately successful, it could see Blair brought to trial before the House of Lords.

... as it seems to be without basis in reality. I'm more than happy to be proven wrong, however, with a reference.

James F. (talk) 19:37, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It was announed on C4's news. Doesn't seem to have hit the web yet. I'll put it back in. -- Gregg 20:19, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
This forum comment seems to be the only mention on the net, so far: [1]. C4 did say it was an exclusive, and said that PC had been keeping it quiet to try to avoid any possible sabotage (and besides, everyone's having too much fun with the Mark Thatcher story to pay attention to this). I know it sounds ludicrous, and I'm sure it will amount to nothing, but it is real. -- Gregg 21:08, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Here we go, it's covered on tonight's Newsnight: [2]. -- Gregg 21:31, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Very curious. I'm not sure what Charles I has got to do with it though. Mintguy (T) 21:55, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Charles I doesn't seem terrible relevant - the C4 report mentioned that there had been several attempts to impeach him, and I was just typing it up as the report went. I've included some more info from Newsnight's coverage, and dropped Charles. -- Gregg 22:21, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Indeed, I can't quite see how the impeachment of a parliamentarian and the prosecution of a monarch are even closely related. Still, an interesting footnote in history, no doubt.
James F. (talk) 22:50, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Well, it's the same piece of legislation. It seems it can be used against a monarch, parliamentarian or public servant (going by the entry on impeachment) - it's just a motion in Parliament to bring the holder of a state office to trial in the Lords, either because they can't be, or because Parliament feels it's inappropriate for them to be, tried in a lesser court. That there hasn't been an attempt at impeachment for 150 years does make this an interesting footnote. Of course, if it's successful, it'll be much more than just a footnote. And whilst I don't think it will be successful, there is a very important difference between this and the only other Parliamentary alternative for getting rid of a PM which opens two interesting possibilities, depending on the timing. -- Gregg 23:43, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I remember adding a very brief note to Judicial functions of the House of Lords about the last peer to be impeached being in 1806 (no further info to hand). I don't know if this is the same legislation. Mintguy (T)
The 1806 case was mentioned on Newsnight, so I presume so. -- Gregg 23:59, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It was last used on Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville for alleged financial mismanagment while he was First Lord of the Admiralty, the action failed. Mintguy (T) 10:25, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Editor that removed the impeachment information: attention is drawn to this
[-- 22:45, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)]
Yes yes, seen. Thanks.
James F. (talk) 23:57, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)


I garnered this information from the numerous BBC articles on the succession of cabinet ministers, but some of the info conflicts (for example, BBC says the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster no longer sits in the cabinet, but I'd think that's a bit unlikely); can someone more knowledgeable with the everyday workings of the British cabinet look it over or something? :-| ugen64 01:45, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster doesn't need to be a cabinet position - it's entirely up the PM. The BBC is reporting that Milburn is the new Chancellor, with a seat in the cabinet; but his predecessor was outside of the cabinet, and I'm fairly sure Mowlam wasn't in the cabinet following the 2001 General Election. The official cabinet list is publsihed here, and there may be archives. -- Gregg 20:06, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I would note that no particular post has to be a cabinet post. Lloyd George's war cabinet of 1916 included he himself, as PM and First Lord of the Treasury; the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Bonar Law), the Lord President (Curzon), and two ministers without portfolio (Milner and Henderson). Churchill's first war cabinet included himself as PM, 1st Lord of the Treasury, and Minister of Defense; the Foreign Secretary (Halifax), the Lord President (Chamberlain), the Lord Privy Seal (Attlee), and a minister without portfolio (Greenwood). Besides the PM, the Lord President would appear to be the only position which always has had cabinet rank since cabinet governments were invented. Normally, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, all Secretaries of State, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Privy Seal, and the First Lord of the Admiralty (when there was one), have also had cabinet rank, but, as is apparent from this, not always. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has always, going back to the 18th century, been a position which is only sometimes of cabinet rank. john k 21:33, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's a difference between "Cabinet rank" and "position is (always) in the Cabinet". The examples you cite are War Cabinets which were cut down to a tiny core of decision makers. Normally in peace time cabinets there are some posts perpetually represented but this is mainly because they're key departments - e.g. the Home Office, Foreign Office, Treasury and so on. Lord President is increasingly just a grand title for "Minister Without Portfolio" but is always in the Cabinet because there's always a need for such a minister, regardless of what function they perform. It could well be left out in a future reshuffle without much fuss (except from the minister who'd be expecting a fancy title). Timrollpickering 22:38, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It's not just a matter of fancy titles, though - the sinecure positions carry both status and a salary, and that's why they're used. The Leaderships of the two Houses are not salaried positions, but Lord President and Lord Privy Seal are. Of course that can be changed by legislation, much as Prime Minister became a salaried position in the 1930s (and First Lord of the Treasury ceased to be one, presumably), but at the moment the point is to get the person doing the job of Leading the House (and that does involve a lot of work) a salary above that for a normal MP. That being said, the Lord President and the Privy Secretary do have some (ceremonial?) duties with regard to the Privy Council. -- Gregg 23:30, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)
No idea if the FLotT position stopped being salaried, but I doubt they would have bothered, as one can only draw one of the salaries at a time anyway ...
James F. (talk) 01:38, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Just spotted that the Lord President was left out of Neville Chamberlain's War Cabinet. So that leaves just Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Commons (which isn't actually a ministerial post). Timrollpickering 01:33, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)


(see also Talk:Kathryn Blair)

Should we or shouldn't we report these rumours about Kathryn Blair's suicide attempt? I'm pulled in two directions - on the one hand, it's clearly rather sensitive; on the other hand, it should be possible to provide an NPOV discussion about internet rumours, and I have a strong urge to include information that seems to be subject to official censorship... Comments? Evercat 15:00, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 15:10, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)) This is the first I've heard of it and I live in the UK. So I guess its been supressed (err, tentatively assuming its true). Should it be included...? hard to know. If he *had* resigned, then yes - it would likely have been part of the explanation. Since he didn't, it doesn't seem desperately relevant to anything and amounts to prying for no obvious purpose. It might belong better in an article on british media (self?) censorship.

But on the other hand it might not be true at all. There are no mainstream sources for this story... I think I'm going to remove it if there are no compelling arguments by the end of the day... Evercat 15:16, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I've taken it out for now. Evercat 15:44, 29 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Sovereignty of Iraq

This article is a biography of Tony Blair. It is not the place to enter into complex discussions about the constitution of Iraq. To put quotes around "sovereignty" is to imply that it is sovereignty in name only and this is a POV statement; what is undisputed is that legal sovereignty is in the hands of the government of Iraq. Anyone can follow the link and learn more about the nature of that sovereignty. Dbiv 19:13, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 19:42, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)) To put quotes round sov is to suggest that the term is disputed - as indeed it is. Iraq may be (fully) sov in name, but clearly not in reality. Putting sov *without* quotes is also POV. So I've tried for compromise by simply leaving the date in the piccy.

why was this removed?

Directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians following a culturally and militarily imperialistic strategy in Iraq.

POV is not relevant as is factually correct.

(William M. Connolley 11:38, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)) Oh come on. Its obviously not POV. Its probably not even correct (even assuming that a leader is responsible for all deaths) - the US have killed 1000's of civs but I doubt the British have. Unless you're arguing that Blair is responsible for *all* the civ deaths in Iraq? Wouldn't that rather let Bush off the hook?

Explanation for revert of 16:49, 28 Oct 2004

He re-branded the party ‘New Labour’ in a move that is described as an attempt at “elimination of the party image as a socialist party in hock to the unions” by Lynton Robins in Contemporary British Politics.

This is, as its proponent accepts, a POV statement. Lynton Robins may have written a textbook but his view is his own. Tony Blair has continued to describe himself as a socialist and anything which states baldly that he is not is therefore highly contentious and cannot simply be included as a neutral comment.

The term "usable Weapons of Mass Destruction" must be preferred because the Iraq Survey Group did find that Iraq had retained a capacity to produce weapons and judged that it still harboured an intention to create them. See, e.g., the key conclusion on Biological Weapons which states "Iraq would have faced great difficulty in re-establishing an effective BW agent production capability. Nevertheless, after 1996 Iraq still had a significant dual-use capability - some declared - readily useful for BW if the Regime chose to use it to pursue a BW program. Moreover, Iraq still possessed its most important BW asset, the scientific know-how of its BW cadre." (In fact, asserting Iraq had no usable Weapons of Mass Destruction is technically incorrect as there were some CW shells which had escaped destruction, but it is true in the generality.) Dbiv 17:32, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

(William M. Connolley 21:58, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)) I disagree, and have re-removed the word "usable" (I'm not 195...). Some kind of capacity, and some kind of intention, don't make a WMD. Iraq had no WMD and trying to get in the word "usable" implies... what? That they had some unusable weapons? It makes no sense. (And, of course, a few CW shells don't add up to WMD, unless you take a very very generous view of "mass").
The problem is that just leaving it at "no weapons of mass destruction" is to give Iraq a total clearance on the issue when the Iraq Survey Group did not quite find that. Perhaps a compromise to have the sentence read "When after the war it was established that Iraq's interest in weapons of mass destruction was only in restarting the programmes once sanctions were lifted, Blair's pre-war statements became a major domestic controversy."? Dbiv 09:44, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
(William M. Connolley 11:16, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)) I (personally) think we shouldn't be trying to minimise the massive contrast between the pre-war assertions and what was subsequently found (incidentally, the entire "WMD" name is (IMHO) massively POV - it seems to be an attempt to label a few fairly feeble weapons in a way that makes them sound dangerous... but I don't suggest the article go into that). I don't think your compromise is fair... how about "When after the war it was established that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction (although the ISG states that <whatever>), Blair's pre-war..."?
Making a case that the difference between what was said before the war and the situation found on the ground is "massive" is just that: making a case, and inappropriate for an encyclopaedia article. I agree that the term "Weapons of Mass destruction" is POV though not for the reasons you give: it has been polluted by being ridiculed by anti-war protesters. I would prefer the term "nuclear, biological or chemical weapons" but that would get us into difficult territory as it was not asserted that Iraq possessed nuclear weapons.
Perhaps we should approach the problem from the opposite direction? "After the war, the Iraq Survey Group found that Iraq had shut down its weapons of mass destruction programmes while still being in breach of UN resolutions; Blair's pre-war ..."? Dbiv 17:38, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

On the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Hutton and Butler, the suggested wording "no intent to deceive" is perhaps a stronger defence of Blair than my preferred "honestly stated what he believed to be true at the time". However I feel that in a biography of Blair the key issue is his actions and not the effect of them, whether intended or not.

The latest of these, the Butler report, found a "collective" failing and a "collective responsibility" for failures in intelligence. In particular, the Butler Report highlighted in it's appendix discrepencies between what Blair was told in intelligence reports about the extent and quality of intelligence reports from iraq, and what was subsequently reported by Blair to the House of Commons.

This is not acceptable, and not just because of its grammatical and spelling flaws. For a start if it is a collective failing and a collective responsibility, it can't be personal to Tony Blair and ought not to be in this article. The next sentence presumably refers to Annex B, pages 163 - 176. The edit shown above is POV and inaccurate because stating that there were 'discrepancies' (assuming it was spelt correctly) implies that Butler concluded the dossier and Prime Minister's statement were not justified by JIC assessments or went beyond what the JIC had said. Butler explicitly said that this was not so ("judgments in the dossier went to (although not beyond) the outer limits of the intelligence available" - para. 464); his criticism was that the dossier and statement had failed to include warnings about the intelligence being limited and uncertain. Dbiv 17:32, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)

... ok, so this perhaps is POV: how can something be stated honestly if known qualifications are omitted? This is why I edited to "no intent to deceive", which is actually what the report found. You can omit caveats without intending to deceive because you believe that there are WMD without having any good evidence. The fact that you are deceiving may not be your intent, but is the outcome, because your belief is wrong (as is quite clear in this case). You cannot remove caveates and still insist that you are honestly stating what you believe to be true, as you know that you have removed the caveats. It's not a question of belief, but of honestly. An honest statement would be "this is what I believe, but this is the limitation of the evidence."

...This comes down to Butler playing for both sides. However, I believe that pointing out the discrepancy between evidence presented to Blair, and the reporting of that evidence is not only fair, it is factual, and furthermore it is factual and fair enough to be deemed worth pointing out by Butler. You may say that Butler found a collective responsibility, so focussing on Blair's role is unfair, but that is not what I am doing, that is what Butler did by including that appendix. You could have clarified the point without removing the factual information. My POV is that blair knowingly lied, BTW, but then I think that is the POV of any sane person.

Also, you know what, sometimes it comes down to interpretation, and not just bald statement of the "facts" (whatever fact means). Every statement is an act of interpretation. User:

The moment you say "this perhaps is POV" the edit becomes unacceptable. "NPOV is absolute and not negotiable" as Jimbo Wales puts it. As far as your first para goes, you're completely wrong, and let me show you why in simple terms. The intelligence agencies said to the government "About Iraq, we think A,B,C, but the intelligence is scarce and we are not certain". The dossier then said "About Iraq, we think A,B,C". This is a true statement: the government said no more than it had been told. If the government had said "About Iraq, we think A,B,C,D,E,F" then that would not be true, but that was what Hutton, Butler, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee specifically found that the dossier did not do.
I meant the one sentence on that was POV, which is why I put it in this discussion. "This is a true statement" I don't disagree, but what is not true is to say the intelligence is "authoritative, detailed and growing" when the JIC have discribed the intelligence as "patchy and sporadic". One can honestly hold an opinion, based on the intelligence, about the situation in iraq. One can not honestly hold the opinion, however, that intelligence is "authoritative, detailed, and growing" when the intelligence reports themselves warn that intelligence is "patchy and sporadic". That is
(William M. Connolley 17:26, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)) Your certainty about what went on is misplaced.
I note the lack of evidence for this blank assertion. Dbiv 17:52, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Butler's appendix does not make even a prima facie case that the dossier had distorted or added to the conclusions of the JIC. If it did then Butler would have included this as a finding, and he doesn't. It does show how the drafting process lost the caveats, and that was Butler's conclusion. PS get yourself a username. Dbiv 17:19, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I never suggested it did make a case. I said that it was evidence that had called into doubt (whatever I said, the veracity) of the PM. This isn't POV, you can find many examples of that doubt in Hansard, and throughout the press. Whether that doubt is justified, we all have to decide on individually, on the merits of the evidence. Although I am not in very much doubt as to the majority view, here. Certainly in the UK.
I may get a username.


What is the better introductary paragraph

The Right Honourable Anthony Charles Lynton "Tony" Blair (born 6 May 1953) has served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 1997, when he brought the Labour Party into power after 18 consecutive years of Conservative government.

OR- this new proposed

The Right Honourable Tony Blair M.P. (Anthony Charles Lynton Blair) (born 6 May 1953) is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 1997. He has been the Leader of the Labour Party since 1993, and Member of Parliament for Sedgefield, County Durham since 1983.

I think the current introductory paragraph is unsightly and fails to mention key data. I attemted to make a change, but it was reverted without explanation. Astrotrain 21:23, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't like overloaded introductory paragraphs. The ideal introduction for a biography should contain only the main facts which people associate with the person. IMHO too many people on wikipedia add things to the introduction rather than in the right place in the article. Is it really important to say where his constituency is in the first paragraph? Also, Blair became Leader of the Labour Party in July 1994, not 1993. Dbiv 21:55, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Convention dictates that the first version be used. There are several problems with your proposed version: The Right Honourable shouldn't be bolded or italicised; we only use the (Full Name) format for royals; "M.P." is not a post-nominal that we normally include; and there are also several issues with the wording (along with the aforementioned factual error). ugen64 02:38, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)


leadership of the party in 1993 or 1994? Christopher Mahan 22:59, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

John Smith died on May 12, 1994; the special conference which elected Tony Blair as his successor was held on July 21. Dbiv 23:56, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Surely the quotes could be moved to

"Government" vs "Term"

I snipped the following HTML comment from the article:

Please do NOT change this to 'term' - it is wholly wrong and inappropriate a term, as Prime Ministers do not start a new term after each General Election.

Please see User talk:Jdforrester#Tony Blair and Talk:Margaret Thatcher/Archive 2#Relabelling of parliamentary terms as PM for further details.

chocolateboy 18:19, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Actually, thinking about it, I believe the correct word would be "Parliament". --Khendon 15:35, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It's not Blair's (or New Labour's) Parliament. He's not Oliver Cromwell :-)

Unless there's some genuine evidence that the customary term used by everyone and his cat (including the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Tony Blair himself), is sowing mass confusion, I'd suggest we'd be better off sticking with "term" rather than manufacturing inaccurate, inelegant and obfuscated substitutes.

chocolateboy 18:23, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Look, this is ridiculous. Whether or not the phrase is commonly used by the mass media is irrelevent here, because we are meant to be writing what is correct, not what is commonly held to be 'all right' as a way of wording things. First off, of the two links you gave, the former has 3 people commenting - you, who say that 'term', although both imprecise or wrong depending on context, and misleading in either, is OK for us to use, and Emsworth and I, who say that we should attempt to avoid using the term 'term', because it can be confusing. We are not advocating something odd, or arcane, or counter-factual suggestions - we are trying to be clear by avoiding misleading terms, and I really can't see why you get so worked up about this. Discussions on IRC led to Proteus putting the really rather clear message at the top of the talk page for PMotUK. Bullet-point form, for those who can't be bothered to recall or read:
  • Prime Ministers have 'terms'.
  • Parliaments have 'terms'.
  • These are not the same thing.
  • The former is limited by the resignation, death, or (though not of late) dismissal.
  • The latter is limited by the Septennial Act (as amended by the Parliament Act 1911 to be, effectively, the Quintennial Act) to 5 years.
  • These are not even remotely the same thing.
I hope this is clear enough for you to understand.
The corollary of this is that Blair has only had one term as Prime Minister, so far, that Thatcher has only had one term, so far. Neither of the two are ever likely to have a second term as Prime Minister.
Thus, I propose that we follow the advice of myself, Emsworth, and Proteus, as well as common custom and the simple facts of what the term 'term' means in different contexts, and take care to avoid confusing people into thinking that the two are the same thing.
James F. (talk) 00:16, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
What about using "administration" instead? This is the term used by "Facts about the British Prime Ministers" and can't be confused with the statutory term of a Parliament. Dbiv 01:17, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Administration is definitely wrong. It's an Americanism. --Khendon 06:54, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Thus, I propose that we follow the advice of myself, Emsworth, and Proteus

Common parlance, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Tony Blair, this article, and Wikipedia in general (notwithstanding your unilateral mutilations) are more robust authorities. The edits you've made to the Prime Ministerial articles have served only to obscure, not clarify.

as well as common custom

It is not common custom as amply demonstrated here.

and the simple facts of what the term 'term' means in different contexts, and take care to avoid confusing people into thinking that the two are the same thing.

These incorrections are disfiguring the articles. The pedantic (in a good way) clarification of the term "term" is fine in Prime Minister of the United Kingdom#Term (not on the talk page - let's dispel (alleged) vulgar errors in the encyclopaedia proper). The contortions in the Margaret Thatcher article are particularly infelicitous, and efface the fact that she was re-elected. Pedantry is not a defence of obfuscation, which is precisely what edits like this achieve.

This species of inappropriate pedantry stipulates that we refer not to Blair becoming Prime Minister, but to him "kissing hands"; moreover, we must evict the Prime Minister from 10 Downing Street and replace him with a smiling simulacrum discharging the duty of First Lord of the Treasury. While we're at it, let's please make it clear that Blair is a primate made mostly of carbon, and that his speeches are delivered in a "non-inflected Indo-European language derived from dialects of..." [3]. Recondite quibbling about the constitutional minutiae of the de facto term "term" belong in a separate article; a civil war should not be waged over every (mis)use of "Linux" or "acronym".

chocolateboy 09:10, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Can we not disabiguate by using the (admitadly slightly clumsy but certainly more acurate) construction "parlimentary term" when refering to, for examplr, Tony's second parlimentary term during his term as PM? Iain 10:12, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree with chocolateboy that there comes a point where being strictly correct with terminology becomes seriously confusing to the lay reader, especially when it comes to such things which are 'legal fiction'. In reality in the modern world, we normally expect a Prime Minister whose party wins a general election to serve for the whole term of that Parliament. In the post-war world, the only exceptions involve two retirements for ill health and two for old age. I also claim responsibility for the headings to Margaret Thatcher which I inserted when doing a major rewrite at the beginning of May; it seemed to me appropriate to break up the period of Mrs Thatcher's government into the three separate Parliaments and I can't remember even having to think about it before referring to them as 'First term', 'Second term', 'Third term'. And I am frequently accused of being pedantic. Dbiv 12:45, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Weren't Eden's and Thatcher's resignations due to neither old age nor ill health? At any rate, I'd like to add that the term "administration" is certainly not an Americanism. Although rarely used, Dbiv pointed out a British source that uses this term. It was more commonly used in the 19th century, though. At any rate, I tend to think that, so long as we have the notice in the PM article, there's no especial problem with using "term" informally in individual articles. We should certainly note pedantic technicalities in articles where they play a major role, but I see no particular reason to note them everywhere they might possibly come up. If we could find a term that is both more accurate than "term" and not terribly cumbersome, I would be in favor of doing that. but "parliamentary term" doesn't seem to fit the second criterion... john k 17:14, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Suggestion - 'ministry', referring to an uninterrupted period of office as Prime Minister. This a bit archaic though - it's routine to refer to Gladstone's second ministry, etc, but not much used today. The Land 19:59, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As one of those who started this in the first place, my view is that we should use a phrase which is appropriate for most articles on Prime Ministers, not just the post war ones. "Term" can get very confusing when applied to earlier periods and a better phrase that can encompass all Prime Ministers is perhaps better. Also the comment referred to the list of Cbainets. When listing government changes sometimes the reshuffles during a parliamentary session are as significant if not more so as those that take place after an election. Timrollpickering 01:44, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Mr. Blair, Mr. Bush, NPOV

Okay, this revision is most definitely in accordance with the NPOV policy. What I am doing is drawing out, in an unbiased and factual manner, Mr. Blair's relationship with Mr. Bush of the US. Mr. Blair has become known in Britain as well as Europe for his closeness tyo Mr. Bush- more so than any other European leader perhaps in the last 200 years. I am simply showing this incredibly important component of the Blair prime minister reign, and doing so in a fashion that does not portray Mr. Blair to be subserviant to Mr. Bush or to United States' interests. Thank you. 20:44, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Let me explain the problems in your paragraph, which for ease of reference I include below.
Prime Minister Blair is known in Britain as well as the United States for his personal closeness to US President Bush. The two's coordination is uncanny, rarely ever voicing direct disagreements and presenting united stances on most issues; sometimes with Blair going against the Labour party as well as the majority of British citizens. In May, he backed the controversial Israeli withdrawal plan for the Gaza Strip, a radical departure from traditional British politics toward the region, and a move that put the British government in the position of being the only major nation besides the US to support it. He acquiesced to American requests in October to send Scotland's prestigious Black Watch battalion to Baghdad. Recently, the Prime Minister responded to a question on the environment with a stance very close to what the President Bush's was. This "special relationship" between George W. Bush and Tony Blair has drawn a mixed bag of reactions in the UK, but it continues to be strong. In November 2004, the Prime Minister travelled to Washington in hopes of using the close friendship to influence the President's stances on a European summit, environment/climate control, and an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
The first sentence is acceptable and is in the article. The second is where the problems start. "The two's coordination is uncanny" is the sort of statement one would make about two lovers, and will carry this meaning to readers. As for "rarely ever voicing direct disagreements", you will find this in most public utterances in diplomacy, regardless of any actual disagreements. For example read the press conference with Blair and Chirac earlier this month. The issue of dissent within the Labour Party over Blair has already been covered in the article and needs no repeating here.
The UK government's support for the Gaza withdrawal plan is hardly "a radical departure" and, even if it was such a statement would be POV. See 'The Chariot of Israel' by Harold Wilson for the full story of British support for Israel over the years to 1981. Also, the Israeli Labour Party has supported it, and that carries weight in its British sister party. Then the use of the term 'acquiesced' which is only used in a subservient relationship and is therefore pejorative, as is the insertion of 'prestigious' before the regiment: this reads as if it magnifies any offence because the regiment involved was more distinguished than others.
The remark about the environment lacks any detail but is irrelevant: the UK government policy hasn't changed and is quite distinct from the US, so anything which Blair might have said at a press conference is neither here nor there. Finally we come to a report of Blair's visit to the US which states that it was about the environment (it wasn't - see press conference) and is imprecise. This issue, and the rest of this edit, is better covered in the article as it was, and I have therefore reverted it. Dbiv 00:19, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire

Can we avoid an edit war about whether it's correct to say "Edinburgh, Scotland" in British English? It manifestly is OK. Dbiv 13:10, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

3 people each making one revert each does not an edit war make. :-)
James F. (talk) 02:41, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I've seen them start over less. Dbiv 00:09, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)


You know, this is a pretty good article. WP:FAC? -- ALoan (Talk) 15:58, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Margaret Thatcher and John Major are there already (I'm slightly bemused by the latter). I've just navigated Reginald Maudling through the process (as a self-nom). Have a check of some of the debates on the FAC page for likely problems, and I'm sure some will object because they see it as honouring Tony Blair in some way. Dbiv 20:03, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)
What bemuses you about John Major? The only serious objection I can see about this article is that TB is still in office, so there will be plenty more to write as events unfold, paricularly the next general election. OTOH, there are enough people contributing and updating (David Blunkett's resignation, for example) that it should not be a problem. -- ALoan (Talk) 21:48, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Because John Major isn't a really outstanding article. The fact that Blair is a current incumbent oughtn't to cause problems with an FAC nom. Seriously, if you think it deserves Featured article status, I will support. Dbiv 22:32, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Done. -- ALoan (Talk) 11:44, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Main picture of tony

There has been a number of reverts over the main picture of tony blair, one with him standing outside of number ten waving File:Blair10.jpg, and the other of tony facing the camera

The file File:tonyblair1.jpg has an uncertain copyright status and may be deleted. You can comment on its removal.

May i propose that we use the one of tony facing the camera, which follows the standard in other profiles of british politicans. The one outside number ten could be added further down the article or included in a new entry on images of tony blair? Suggestions please! DaveLewis 20:14, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Ideally I would prefer neither. The waving picture is not head-on, and the other one is clearly some years old. Dbiv 16:15, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Well i would prefer a more up to date one, but no-one has posted a better alternative than the old, head facing one. I was looking for comment on which one would currently be more suitable. DaveLewis 20:14, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The Sunday Times

Atticus section on January 16 includes following para:

It must be where Tony Blair learnt all about spin and inflation. The prime minister’s biography in Wikipedia, the internet encyclopaedia that its users write, claims that between the ages of 13 and 15 “he worked during school holidays as a bicycle repairer in the local hardware store”. A prankster’s work, sadly.

Not any more it doesn't. Dbiv 00:53, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)