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David Blunkett
David Blunkett addresses the conference

Press Release - 12 April 2007

David Blunkett visits the University of Bath to discuss the legacy of Tony Blair

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett today said Tony Blair’s legacy was an ‘irreversible’ transformation of the British political scene. He was speaking at the Political Studies Association annual conference which is being hosted by the University of Bath (11-13 April 2007).

Mr Blunkett chaired a discussion on Mr Blair’s ten years in office, which also looked at the changing culture of British politics since Margaret Thatcher, the emergence of David Cameron and the reorganisation of the Home Office.

“In years to come when a rational and long-term view can be taken of the Iraq decision, Tony Blair’s legacy will be recognised for what it is – a transformation of the political scene in the UK,” he said.

“In simple terms, this has been a change in the politics of Britain which looks to be irreversible. The development of policies which, over 10 years, reversed the selfish individualism and free-for-all market approach of Margaret Thatcher and, in its place, put a unified commitment to long-term investment in public services, social cohesion and an acknowledgment of interdependence at the top of the agenda.

“In doing so, Tony Blair ensured that all of Labour’s main opponents are now arguing for policies which, 10 years ago, formed the modernising reform agenda of New Labour.

“Coupled with his commitment, and that of Gordon Brown, to acknowledge and prepare for ever more rapid globalisation and social, cultural and political change, the legacy of Tony Blair will amount to nothing less than the transformation of Britain’s prospects in the 21st century.

“Helping to cope with rapid change, linking social and economic policy together, setting aside the deep divisions and underinvestment in people and infrastructure of the pre-97 years, has led to a situation where all of the major issues that were being addressed in the 1997 election have, in whole or in part, been dealt with.

“The legacy, therefore, is to provide the foundation on which the next 10 years can be faced - in approaching modernity and overcoming the fear and insecurity of both terrorism and rapid change.”

David Blunkett was Education Secretary between 1997 and 2001, then Home Secretary, and Work & Pensions Secretary . He was forced to step down in November 2005 after reports were published on his external business dealings. He is currently MP for Sheffield Brightside.

The Political Studies Association conference, which has a theme of European and global politics, is the UK’s largest annual gathering of scholars and practitioners working on the study of politics, and will bring over 500 participants from the UK and overseas to the University of Bath to present and discuss the latest research on politics.

In addition to the talk by David Blunkett, there will be more than 300 papers presented by academics, on topics ranging from the ‘feminisation’ of David Cameron to prospects for the forthcoming French presidential election.

Lord Anthony Giddens is the after-dinner speaker at the conference dinner, to be held in the Pump Room tonight. He will discuss some of the themes raised in his new book: Over to you, Mr Brown: How Labour can win again. The book looks at what Gordon Brown could do to maximise the chances of Labour achieving a fourth term.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: