Tony Blair completed his education from Chorister School, Durham, and Fettes College, Edinburgh. Teachers and fellow students report that he was a huge Mick Jagger fan. In fact, his teachers go on record to say, " they were very glad to see the back of him". He spent a year trying his luck as a rock music promoter, after college. Without much luck, he went on to pursue jurisprudence at St John's College. He used to play the guitar and even sang with the Ugly Rumors.
Period of Change
Blair was very influenced by a colleague, who was also an Anglican priest, Peter Thomson. Thomson played a major role in evoking deep religious faith and interest in the left wing ideology. He went on to graduate from Oxford with a Second Class Honors BA in 1976. He met Cherie Booth, his future wife, when he enrolled as a barrister at the Chambers. Blair and Cherie have four children. He was always vocal about his ambition to become Prime Minister.
As Prime Minister
Tony Blair extensively modernized the Labor party. The term 'New Labor' was adopted. Old policies were abandoned to create space for the setting of 'minimum wage'. 'New Labor' enjoyed a landslide victory in 1997, ending the rule of the Conservatives of 18 years. Alongside being elected Prime Minister, he also served as First Lord of Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Privy Counselor. At 43, he became the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool. Blair was a leader within a political arena that is overshadowed by controversies. But his persona and charisma saw him sail through three consecutive election victories.
He was honored in 2003 with the Congressional Gold Medal. He was instrumental in aligning Britain with the US in the Iraq war. He committed political and military help without considering the opposition being expressed by the British public. Blair supported a British exit from the EEC, and strongly supported nuclear disarmament that is unilateral in nature. He also declared himself a socialist, who supported cooperation instead of confrontation. This outlook was responsible for the Labor Party changing Clause IV, becoming a democratic socialist party, rather than a social democratic party. He openly voiced against issues like:
- Conservative Public Order White Paper
- Bank of England's rescue of Johnson Matthey in 1985
- Policies of city traders at the London Stock Exchange
- Death Penalty
- Common ownership of the means of production
- Public spending on health and education
- Market-based reforms
- Constitutional reform such as devolution
- Subtle tax increases
- Northern Ireland Peace Process
- War on Terrorism
- United States foreign policy
- Peace Valley plan
His political stance suffered a setback following severe opposition to the Iraq war, fraud involving an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, party rebellion, and the Cash for Honors scandal. In 2007, he was replaced by Gordon Brown.
When he stood down from his position as Prime Minister, he was appointed Official Envoy of the United Nations, to the Quartet on the Middle East. He represented the European Union, Russia, and the United States in this capacity. In 2007, the Tony Blair Sports Foundation was launched to increase participation in sports-related activities. The Blair Faith Foundation launched in 2008 is a rostrum for people of different faiths to come together and promote an understanding. He is the first Prime Minister who did not issue the Resignation Honors, post resignation.