I don’t think that anyone can doubt that Blair is a very good speaker. His speech was quite moving to those who were in the hall. It contained some things that even the jaded hacks of The Daily would endorse, such as the need to find constructive ways to get people “off the sick” or the importance of tax credits etc.
It was also moving, after so many years under Tony to hear him acknowledge that this will be his last speech, and effectively say goodbye to the Party.
However, as with all of his conference speeches, there were some things that can just drive me mad. For example, the line “not until we shake ourselves free of the wretched capitulation to the propaganda of the enemy, that somehow we are the ones responsible.”
It’s one of those things he says where he never says what he means, but you know he’s verbally stabbing you in the back. Is he implying that to criticise elements of UK foreign policy and its knock-on effects in strengthening terrorist groups is to “capitulate to the enemy” He didn’t say it, but you always know what he means.
So, we’ll miss the drama, we’ll miss the showmanship and the oratory, but we won’t miss the veiled attacks. Tony Blair’s time in the Labour Party is coming to an end and it’s time for a new way of working in the party where instead of the party telling members how they need to change, the party listens to what people in their communities all over the country are saying and makes its voice heard.