Does anyone else remember watching that stunning confrontation between Nigel Farage and #Tony Blair in 2005 at the European Parliament? The former UKIP leader slammed the former Labour prime minister for failing to secure a rebate for Britain in the same way Mrs Thatcher did in 1984.
To give credit where it's due, Blair is brilliant at dodging questions. He is a master. A skilled performer and an amazing salesman who could still sell the New Labour brand to Britain that year and secure a third term victory for the centre-left party. And so, rather than addressing Farage's accurate points about the rebate disaster, Blair rebuked:
'This is 2005, not 1945.'
This is 2017, not 1997
What was he implying? That UKIP want to tear apart the 'progressive' project that was the European Union back then and that the Eurosceptic party were a bunch of nationalists and xenophobes. It's a familiar tune, one that we have witnessed the former Labour leader spout today.
It's ironic that the advice he gave the UKIP MEP then now applies to him today. Someone now needs to remind Mr. Blair that this is not 1997. In fact, it's not even 2005 like it was when he slammed the Eurosceptic leader. Back then, New Labour dealt with the European question by promising the British people a referendum on the euro, thereby devolving power to the people to decide Britain's future in the European Union, rather than a barmy centre-right party tearing themselves apart over the issue. With a brilliant spin machine behind the brand under the command of Alistair Campbell, they sold Britain a pack of lies that this nation could lead Europe and that #EU membership was progressive, whilst the Conservatives obsessed over that single issue.
Blair's Open Europe speech
That was then, this is now. That is why Mr. Blair's speech to Open Europe today was as irrelevant as the former Labour prime minister himself. The pro-EU group are entitled to campaign for Britain to stay in the Single Market, that's democracy, but to sell themselves out to the man who took us into Iraq on a pack of lies not only alienates those who backed #Brexit, but the Remain camp too.
His speech stunk of the same arrogance he had back in the New Labour years. These referendums he promised on the euro and then the 2004 EU Constitution never happened. Like the skilled salesman he is, he sold people lies to win power and only further eroded people's confidence in our system. Now that Brexit is increasingly becoming a reality, he wants to reverse that decision because he believes the British people were misinformed about what leaving the European Union meant.
If that's the case, what happened to the British people when they voted for New Labour in 1997, 2001 and 2005? Let's remind Blair of the numerous lies he told then? An end to boom and bust, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that there was an endless supply of money to throw at our public services.
Blair's double standards
So when Mr. Blair stood there today and labelled the people that brought him to power as stupid, the reactions on social media afterwards were more than justified. The European Union has changed since he was in power and the project is under threat. We are leaving and the days of sucking up to European leaders is over whilst gradually integrating us into the superbloc by the back door. We voted for Brexit because of his decisions.
So when we listened to that man's speech today, one could not help but wonder whether he remembered that rebuke he made to Mr. Farage in 2005. The same advice now applies to him. The latter achieved his ultimate ambition, which the former never did. That's why there are books written about how Blair failed to achieve his legacy. As Cameron once said: 'He was the future once.' But not anymore. He belongs in the past. Mr. Blair, practice what you preach.