Blair's Suffolk legacy
TEN years of power but just one word to remember him by.On the day Tony Blair moves out of 10 Downing Street, community leaders in Suffolk have revealed that his lasting legacy will be the controversial war in Iraq.
TEN years of power but just one word to remember him by.
On the day Tony Blair moves out of 10 Downing Street, community leaders in Suffolk have revealed that his lasting legacy will be the controversial war in Iraq.
Speaking to the Evening Star, health, business and education figures said much has changed since Mr Blair came to power in 1997 - a lot of it good.
However the general feeling is that he will go down in history for his decision to back George W Bush in his war on terror and the subsequent invasion of Iraq rather than positive changes for Suffolk folk.
Paul Clement, head of Ipswich Central, said: “There is only one answer to what his legacy is - Iraq.
“In fairness to him or them (Labour), under his leadership it has been a fairly consistent period of economic growth, a period in which the country has enjoyed low interest rates and consumers have had a reasonably high level of confidence.
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“On a personal note Ipswich has got a BID (business improvement district) and legislation for BIDs did come through under his premiership.”
Andrew Reed, chief executive of Ipswich Hospital, said he felt Mr Blair has done good work with the health service since coming to power.
He said: “There are shorter waiting times for routine operations and I think this has had a massive effect for patients in Suffolk.
“Two other major legacy areas are patient choice with patients being able to choose from four or five hospitals for their treatment and also a move away from the NHS being a massive state-run organisation.
“It is being made more like a system of local franchises that have to meet very high standards.
“I think eventually it will be a change for the better.
“Overall the country is economically stronger than 10 years ago and the country is a stronger player on the world stage although that is not without controversy in terms of involvement in Iraq.
“The issue of Iraq was always going to be a huge controversy.”
Martin Goold, Suffolk secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said he felt Mr Blair would be judged by history more on Iraq than any benefits he has brought to Suffolk's education system.
He said: “I think Tony Blair has failed to stand up to his promise of education, education, education and has been far too concerned with the privatisation of education.
“I personally feel his legacy is going to be Iraq - unfortunately a very big error.”
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