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Tony Blair explains why he’s looking for a second act in UK politics

Tony Blair was also also clear on what ails Europe today. Blair said immigration and large-scale migration from the Muslim world is the single biggest driver of EU politics.

singapore summit Updated: Apr 13, 2018 23:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Singapore
Tony Blair,Brexit,Donald Trump
Tony Blair at the Mint Asia-Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Singapore.(HT Photo)

Having stayed out of British politics for a long time, former Prime Minister Tony Blair made a comeback after the UK’s Brexit vote in 2016. He said on Friday that he is trying to forge vastly different words together to forge a new political centre.

“I want to reinvigorate the progressive centre in UK politics to shape a world that is post-ideological,” said Blair at the first Mint Asia-Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Singapore. “A new centre would be a step in the right direction to combat the rise of populist forces across the UK, Europe, and the US.”

According to him, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as US president “are a result of the mainstream centrist parties that have failed because they are afraid to speak uncomfortable truths to their public.”

“Challenging the public has become almost something improper. These mainstream centrist parties have been so battered today that they feel they have to follow political opinion, not lead it. No solution can come out of this scenario. A strong centrist leadership would speak directly about the uncomfortable truths and address them pragmatically through politics and policy,” he said.

Blair is clear about what ails Europe today. “Immigration and large-scale migration from the Muslim world is the single biggest driver of EU politics today. You can’t simply dismiss it as the prejudice of the right, as it does nothing for the cause.”

“The truth is there is populism in both left and right of centre,” he adds. “The right blames the immigrants and the left blames the pro-business and trade groups. This is riding the anger, not providing the answers.”

A progressive, modern and strong centre, according to him, has been vanquished in British politics, and also in most other western societies dealing with immigration.

“I am serious about remaking the centre-left of British politics. It needs to be redefined so that the millions of disenfranchised people can come back into the political process,” he said.

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 22:47 IST