Should Tony Blair be advising Labour?
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Tony Blair was this week welcomed back into the Labour fold with open arms, as he was appointed as an adviser on the Olympic legacy. Blair is one of politics’ most divisive figures: reaction to his appointment has varied from calling it a “masterstroke” on Ed Miliband’s part, to bemoaning an “appalling” decision. The truth is, Miliband has made a shrewd political move in sharing a platform with Blair for the first time as leader. Blair’s role may only be as an ‘Olympic Adviser’, but the political symbolism of this appointment is huge - and Labour know it. It allows Miliband to test the water: to see whether Blair’s name really can restore any of Labour’s support in Middle England without significantly alienating the traditional Left. As one shadow cabinet source said: “Ed knows he needs Tony to act as midwife for his introduction to the British people.” Miliband generally scores well with the public on substance but poorly on style and charisma. Blair is precisely the opposite. Blair remains popular within the Labour Party because of his unrivaled record as leader. He won three consecutive general elections by appealing to swathes of new voters with his ‘New Labour’ message.
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