Even if it was a tactic that could work, the switch in approach has probably still come far too late.
The Prime Minister’s speech acknowledging the controversial nature of involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and the wider war on terrorism, but going on to claim that if Britain wants to remain a world force then such participation is inevitable, has been a tried and trusted approach over the years.
But Tony Blair’s pronouncement is that we, the British public, must decide the next step. Do we want to continue the fight against terrorism and strive for a peaceful resolution, paying whatever price is required?
Or do we retreat, take a back seat on the world stage and face the consequences of that decision (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics)?
It signals a tactical change. He’s putting the ball in the our court and saying: “We can help, but only if you say it is alright to do so.”
Not quite emotional blackmail, but certainly turning the tables on the British people.
Such a tactic is nothing new and it has arguably worked in other situations for other politicians in the past. However, in this incidence and with regard to this particular politician, it is a tactical switch that has come too late to save the game.
Just as George W Bush’s legacy as US President will be coloured by events in Iraq and Afghanistan, both now and for years to come, so Tony Blair’s prime ministerial legacy will be painted in a similar style.
The UK’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the unswerving loyalty shown towards President Bush and his policies, will characterise Tony Blair’s time as Prime Minister.
He may have shifted the ball back into the public’s court, but he can expect it to be returned quickly and with plenty more venom.