Tony Blair booking

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The son of a barrister and lecturer, Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh, but spent most of his childhood
in Durham. At the age of 14, he returned to Edinburgh to finish his schooling at Fettes College. He was
later educated at St. John’s College, Oxford, where he obtained a law degree. He joined the Labour
Party after graduation. As a result of the 1983 general election, Blair became MP for Sedgefield, and
aligned himself with the reforming tendencies in the party. He made a speedy rise through the ranks,
being promoted first to the shadow Treasury front bench in 1984. The young MP subsequently served
as a trade and industry spokesman, before being elected to the Shadow Cabinet in 1988, where he
was made Shadow Secretary of State for Energy. In 1989, he moved to the employment brief. After
the 1992 election, the new Labour leader John Smith promoted Blair to Shadow Home Secretary. It
was in this post that Mr Blair made his famous pledge that Labour would be ‘tough on crime, tough on
the causes of crime’. Two years later Smith died of a heart attack. Blair and fellow shadow cabinet
member, Gordon Brown, agreed that the latter would stand for the leadership, with Brown becoming
Chancellor in the event of victory. Coming to power as a result of the new election rules they had
helped to bring in, Blair and Brown set about changing the Labour Party, modifying its constitution
away from commitments to public ownership, and allying the party to big business, rather than the
trade unions movement. Although it attracted much criticism for its alleged superficiality, from both
political opponents and traditionalists within the party, “New Labour” achieved a landslide victory over
John Major’s ruling Conservative Party in the 1997 general election. In government, Blair has been
notable for his commitment to business interests. He will probably be best remembered for the
introduction of university tuition fees, and for market reforms to the NHS and social services. He has
also been criticised for his attachment to media manipulation and ‘spin’.
Blair also presided over the British involvement in the Kosovan War, and was the only Prime Minister
of the 20th century to father a child while in office. Despite a drastically reduced turnout in the 2001 UK
general election, the Labour Party preserved its majority. Blair became the first Labour Prime Minister
to serve two consecutive terms. Following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre on 11
September 2001, he was quick to align Britain with the US, specifically involving the country in the
controversial campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. This cost him a substantial percentage of his popular
support. On a more positive note, his contribution towards assisting the Northern Ireland Peace
Process by helping to negotiate the Good Friday Agreement after 30 years of conflict is widely
recognised. On 10 May 2007, Blair announced during a speech at the Trimdon Labour Club in his
Sedgefield constituency his intention to resign as Labour Party leader and that he would tender his
resignation as Prime Minister on 27 June 2007. He was replaced by Gordon Brown. This allowed him
to spend more time with his wife, barrister Cherie Booth, and their three sons and one daughter.
However, the former PM continued to remain heavily involved in the world of politics. In fact, on the
very day he resigned from the top office, he was appointed Special Envoy to the Quartet on the Middle
East. In this role, he could use his significant ties with influential members of the four parties – the
United Nations, the US, the European Union and the Russia – to help mediate the Middle Eastern
peace process and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As well as serving in this role, Blair also used his newfound freedom to undertake more charity work,
establishing the Tony Blair Faith Foundation in 2008. Launched with typical New Labour aplomb, Blair
claimed that its aim was to ensure that “idealism becomes the new realism”. It also provided him with
a space in which to explore his strong religious principles, which he had always felt the need to keep
private while in office. In fact, one of the main aims of the body was stated as countering extremism in
all of the world’s major religions. Blair has also toured the US giving talks and lectures, and launched
his memoirs, called ‘A Journey’, in 2010. That book went on to become the fastest-selling
autobiography of all time, although the corresponding book tour saw Blair confronted by many of his
harshest critics. Despite the controversy that the account created, Blair pledged to give the multimillion pound advance and all royalties to a foundation for badly-injured soldiers.

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