He'll be gone as of June 27th.
Allah's collecting a Blair-video highlight reel.
• "And then came the utterly unanticipated and dramatic September 11,2001 and the death of 3,000 or more on the streets of New York and I decided we should stand shoulder to shoulder with our oldest ally and I did so out of belief."
• "And so Afghanistan and then Iraq, the latter bitterly controversial, and removing Saddam and his sons from power, as with removing the Taliban was over with relative ease, but the blowbacksince from global terrorism and those elements that support it has beenfierce and unrelenting and costly and for many it simply isn't andcan't be worth it."
• "For me I think we must see it through. They, the terrorists who threaten us here and round the world, will never give up if we give up. It is a test of will and of belief and we can't fail it."...
• "I ask you to accept one thing. Hand on heart, I did what I thought was right. I may have been wrong - that's your call. But believe one thing if nothing else. I did what I thought was right for our country and I came into office with high hopes for Britain's future and you know I leave it with even higher hopes for Britain's future."
Video of his farewell speech, here.
Rick Moran has a long remembrance of the Bush/Blair odd couple:
Blair forged one of the unique personal relationships of our times with George Bush that, much to his detriment and own personal political standing in Great Britain, has sustained the war effort in Iraq. The two made something of an odd couple although they complemented each other beautifully. Bush as the blunt, outspoken and emotional leader while Blair played counterpoint as the suave, sophisticated and often eloquent partner. Where Bush’s defense of his policies sometimes fell flat, Blair’s ringing endorsement of the war and the necessity for it made it seem at times that he was the senior member of the partnership.
And this is where the Bush-Blair relationship differed markedly from the FDR-Churchill and Reagan-Thatcher partnerships of the past. Blair was much more Bush’s equal in the “special relationship” that has endured between the United Kingdom and America for more than a century. It was Blair who convinced Bush at the beginning of the war to try and get the United Nations on board – a futile effort given the amount of Oil For Food bribery Saddam had spread around the Security Council membership as well as the general anti-American feelings in that body. But by taking his case to the Security Council, Bush gained some much needed legitimacy for the war with the American people – at least for a time.
And it was also Blair who outshone the President in defending the decision to go to war in Iraq as well as advocating a united western response to the threat of Islamic radicals – a threat that to this day is not acknowledged by much of the western left.
It is truly a testament to his charm and skill that Blair was able to last so long across the pond while embracing the Euro-Left's least favorite cowboy and having the temerity to routinely laud the merits of western civilization and the need to defend it, all while warning against the dangers of indulging in rampant anti-Americanism as a national pastime.
From January 2007, Brown, Blair and the machinery of government have increasingly begun to treat Brown as premier-in-waiting, with a wider range of visits, foreign trips and speeches beyond Brown's Chancellor role, the media reported that Brown had now "dropped any pretence of not wanting, or expecting, to move into Number 10 in the next few months" - although he and his family will likely use the more spacious 11 Downing Street.
This enabled Brown to signal the most significant priorities for his agenda as Prime Minister - stressing education, international development, narrowing inequalities (to pursue 'equality of opportunity and fairness of outcome'), renewing Britishness, restoring trust in politics, and winning hearts and minds in the war on terror as key priorities - speaking at a Fabian Society conference on 'The Next Decade' in January 2007.
In this way, Brown has used the final months of the Blair premiership to set out the themes of a Brown premiership while remaining constrained from setting out publicly, the policy detail of his agenda in these areas.