There have been many murmurs that disgraced Iraq war advocate and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair may want to jump back into politics.
Blair has released a convoluted statement about Brexit negotiations and how the forthcoming, unexpected June General Election may impact the deal.
After detailing his fears over a ‘hard Brexit’, Blair writes
“There has to be a way of ensuring that voters can put candidates for Parliament under sustained pressure to say whether they would vote against a deal which does not deliver the same benefits as we enjoy with the Single Market or against no deal if that transpires to be as damaging as many fear; and that they are prepared to hold the Government properly to account in the interests of the country.
This should cross Party lines. The political situation the country faces is unprecedented and dangerous. We risk a Parliament which is lop-sided in its make-up; which has a big Tory majority – in part delivered not because of the intrinsic merits of Brexit or the Tories themselves but because of the state of Labour; where they will claim a mandate to take us wherever they will; when we desperately need representatives who will at least keep an open mind.
This requires the electorate in every constituency to know where the candidates stand; and the mobilisation of the thousands in each constituency to make it clear that for them this issue counts when it comes to their vote.
To be clear: I am not urging tactical voting or some anti Tory alliance; I am urging that, as part of this election campaign, we create the capacity for the people to know exactly what the choices are; and elect as many MPs as possible with an open mind on this issue who are prepared to vote according to the quality of the deal and the interests of the British people.
I have never known a political situation as perplexing as this; or as galvanising. But I am absolutely sure that there will be millions of British people who reflect on what this election means with acute anxiety; and wonder what can be done. The first thing is to keep open the possibility, on the most important issue to face our country for over half a century, that we have Parliamentary representatives who will put the national interest before Party interest”.
In typical Blair style, he seems to be advocating for the exact thing he says he is not advocating for; namely, a kind of cross-party soft-Brexit or even anti-Brexit coalition.
But how will Blair achieve that?
Would it behove Blair and others in the anti-Brexit brigade to form a new party?
Would Blair form a pact or even join the Liberal Democrats, the only major party who are still staunchly pro-EU and anti-Brexit?
Would he somehow try to put his supporters up as Labour candidates in a kind of open war with the socialist leadership of current Labour head Jeremy Corbyn?
As usual, Blair didn’t even hint at answers to these logistically important questions. Blair may well be trying to gauge the following:
What is more unpopular among disgruntled urban liberals: Tony Blair or Brexit.
As the Iraq war becomes more of a memory and opposition to Brexit becomes hardened among Blair’s once and future cosmopolitan base, he may find his answer.
In many ways, Blair’s most logical option, if he indeed wants to re-enter frontline politics, would be to join the Liberal Democrats. They do after all represent his ideology more closely than any other party.
However, if even they feel that Blair is an electoral liability, he may have to do it alone.