Sad Tony.

Politics I remember vividly the moment when I realised that a change was going to sweep through the nation. It was 1996 and I was at university having sat in the room of one my housemates after we'd finally itemised the phone bill ready for payment. It was the first time in months the five of us had been in the same place together and even though the group had fractured somewhat since we'd begun living together, we were still able to have those good conversations.

I think I'd mentioned going out that day unsuccessfully looking for a polling booth to vote in the council elections and Liz, one of the more forthright girls verbalised how we all, I think, felt -- we didn't trust the Tories. I obviously towed the wishy-washy Liberal Democrat line. The other four said they didn't trust New Labour either (who had slowly during my time at uni had done away with the grant system) but that it was time to give someone else a chance. That's when I knew there would be a change in government the following year, for people in the room from all over the country and different classes all saying the same thing.

I found myself unable to disagree.

Notice though that none of us could say for certain anything about Tony Blair, whether he was a good man. And it didn't matter that I wasn't a Labour support and would vote for the middle ground. But I was born just before the Thatcher years and I didn't even know what a Labour ruled Britain was and it would at least be a bit exciting just to find out what it would be like. I was still young enough not to really understand the importance of policies (apart from that whole grant thing) and what effect a new government would have on those.

The following year, when John Major stood down outside Downing Street, I rang Liverpool City Council's election department to work at the polls even before the speech was concluded. I effectively told them it was being called. I was desperate for money (some things don't change) but deep down I was also curious to be part of the democtratic process at was going to be a historic occasion.

The excitement of the night, staying up as they always say for Portillo, was seeing these personalities, the Mellors and the Curries, people who'd set the agenda, who's faces had filled the television screens for so many years, simply gone. In retrospect of course, the excitement was short lived. As my journalism teacher always said, it really doesn't matter who's in power, somethings will be better, some things will be worse, but in the end it all balances out expecially across the span of a lifetime.

New Labour weren't all that different to the Conservatives and many of the policies initiated by the latter, from the Dome to Northern Ireland were simply carried on, with credit assumed in the successes and failures blamed on the former administration. But it was certainly exhilarating at the time to see what looked like such a fibrant young man clambering up to number 10 in the wake of the grey suit would been there before him. John Major always seemed pleasant enough but should be really be running the country?

Tony Blair's youth was attractive, he looked like a man who could keep all of the plates of office in the air, at least looked like he had the strength to make decisions, even if he was being egged on by advisors (whoever they were). I was in my early twenties then and given all the things that have happened to me, I can see how long a decade is and actually how much Blair had the potentially to accomplish and what he actually got done, some of which he touched on in his resignation speech today. He's been a very busy man trying to build his legacy and although historically he's done some good but in the end, theorists will wonder, just as I am now, whether the actual successes were worth the strain and general misery of everything else.

Yes, the have been improvements in gender and sexual equality, but we're still a deeply divided nation. A recent Panarama demonstrated that in Blackburne for example, depsite attempts at intergration, whites and asians are all but property swapping, building enclaves and able to live their lives culturally separate, embracing divisions that modern Britain had apparently erradicated. In relation to foreign policy, yes Kosovo could be seen as a moral victory, but compare it to Iraq and well ... plus these things are picked and chosen with other genocides and civil wars and petty dictators, in jungles and deserts, conveniently forgotten because there's no strategic benefit to an intervention, a breaking of the status quo.

I passed by St. Luke's Church in Liverpool today and for the first time, after visiting its bombed out interior yesterday, I was able to look at its exterior war damaged walls and be able to bring an imagine to mind as to what's inside from a different angle. Even after ten years of watching Tony Blair, that's simply not possible, we still don't know if he's really a good man. Some will point to his Christianity as way of underscoring a certain moral certainty.

In ten years, we've never really gained an understanding of who Blair actually is. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and although his drama portrayal by the likes of Robert Lyndsey and Michael Sheen might go some way to suggesting what he's like behind the office and front door we'll never really know, no matter how many apparently frank interviews he'll give on breakfast television sofas. There's always the memoirs I suppose.

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