Thanks largely to his protracted departure, we have plenty of time to assess Tony Blair’s legacy before he steps down as Prime Minister.
There are obvious issues that will dominate any such analysis, with Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terrorism and our “special relationship” with the US all drawing much of the focus.
But there are other, equally significant issues that could be considered – for example, how well did he meet his own infamous “education, education, education” pledge? Throw in the NHS, the “respect agenda” and the environment and the list grows ever longer.
Then we get to another promise that Mr Blair launched with a grand fanfare and a series of bold statements and yet a new study shows his Government has little chance of keeping.
The Government will fail to meet its own target of halving child poverty by 2010, according to a report by Barnardo’s that has the support of other charities and campaigners.
Martin Narey, the charity’s chief executive and chairman of the End Child Poverty campaign, states that it will require a further £3.8bn investment for the Government to reach its own target.
This is a significant sum of money. But Barnardo’s puts it firmly into context by pointing out that £3.8bn is less than half the cost of staging the Olympics and also represents less than half the £9bn paid in City bonuses last year.
It does praise Mr Blair for making such a “historic and ambitious” promise to halve child poverty from 3.4m to 1.7m by 2010. However, with three years left only 600,000 have been lifted out of poverty.
The charity is now turning to Chancellor Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister in waiting, and urging him to keep Mr Blair’s original promise by getting the strategy back on track.
This already seems a familiar statement and sentiment – Mr Blair makes the bold promise, the grand gesture and the significant step down a particular path and Mr Brown has to try and deliver on it, justify it and make sure it stays on the right course.
Is the role the Chancellor has coveted for so long turning into a poisoned chalice?
Forget Mr Blair, it is increasingly clear that it will be Gordon Brown who struggles the most to cope with the Prime Minister’s legacy.