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Blair: Don’t understand today’s politics, rise of Sanders, Corbyn

world Updated: Feb 24, 2016 20:52 IST
HT Correspondent
Tony Blair

Tony Blair(Reuters File Photo)

Tony Blair, the most successful Labour leader who took the party to three successive election victories, is baffled by today’s politics and unable to understand the rise of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The reason, according to him, is the “question of electability”. His remarks in an interview to The Guardian and Financial Times in Washington provoked quips that he is unable to come to terms with the reality because “he does not see the bigger picture”.

Blair admitted: “One of the strangest things about politics at the moment – and I really mean it when I say I’m not sure I fully understand politics right now, which is an odd thing to say, having spent my life in it – is when you put the question of electability as a factor in your decision to nominate a leader, it’s how small the numbers are that this is the decisive factor. That sounds curious to me.”

Corbyn, the current Labour leader, is considered “unelectable” in political circles.

Blair added: “Surely it should be a major factor because if this is not about you, but it’s about the people you want to serve, then selecting someone who is electable is really important because otherwise you can’t help people; you’re powerless.”

Supporting Hillary Clinton in the US presidential race, Blair said: “It’s up to Democrats who they decide they want to elect but, five months on from the nomination of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party, you’ve got the published polls. We (Labour) should be significantly ahead. The last poll I saw, we were quite significantly behind.”

Columnist Michael White wrote in The Guardian: “There has to be a political and economic answer to the great challenge of rising inequality around the world, in China and New Zealand almost as much as in the US or UK.”

Stating that Blair did not see the “bigger picture”, he added: “This is where Blair’s puzzlement kicks in. He doesn’t really get it. He thinks about Corbyn and Sanders in terms of their electability. He’s right but he’s also wrong.”