Tony Blair’s Slow Fade

Slate’s take on the British prime minister.

Prime Minister Tony Blair announced Thursday that he’ll step down as leader of Britain’s Labor Party “within the next 12 months.” Before last May’s general election, Blair indicated it would be his last as the party’s leader. The morning after Labor won an unprecedented third consecutive majority, June Thomas reported from London that “[p]apers on the left and right are calling on Blair to step down … sooner rather than later.”

In April 2005, Christopher Hitchens explained why he supports Tony Blair, while British writer Geoffrey Wheatcroft reckons Blair’s “worse than Bush.” Since at least 2001, Blair has been more popular in America than he is at home; Chris Suellentrop called him “Bush’s ambassador to America.” In April 2001, Anne Applebaum interviewed Blair; later that year, she claimed that he is motivated by a “semi-mystical, near-religious, and rather ill-defined belief in the overriding importance of international cooperation.” Michael Kinsley laid out some lessons that American pols could learn from the British prime minister.