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It's ten years

Eddie Mair | 06:53 UK time, Thursday, 10 May 2007

since we heard the first ever assessment of how Tony Blair was doing as Prime Minister. Ten years later, there are ten years of assessments to assess, and tonight on PM we'll assess the best of the assessments. Who assessed most accurately, pithily or assessingly? Has this period seen the birth of what we could call Assessism, or has it always been with us? Join us as we assess ten years of assessing. We'll hear from the kings and queens of assessment in Britain, and internationally, from King Assess of Syria, from the capital of Assessistan, Assessibad, and of course St Francis of Assessi.

If you have your own assessment, please hand it to your teacher.


  1. At 08:31 AM on 10 May 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Yup. That pretty much sums up how I'm hearing the so-called 'News' this week:

    "Blah blah-blah, blah assessment blah, blah-blah b-blah blah, assessing blah, blah blah ya-da blah, blah-di-blah assessment."

    Bored now...


  2. At 09:48 AM on 10 May 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Fifi (1) In my assessment, according to the recently-introduced baby assessments, your pre-verbal skills are developing very well.
    You are using different noises to get people's attention.
    There is a great deal of intonation and your sets of sounds are beginning to resemble those in your home language.
    Your use of the 's' sound is advanced, and your vocabulary is beginning to build, having been reinforced by much repetition from adults around you.
    Recommendations - continue to work towards a more extensive vocabulary, and increase concentration span. The indications are that this will occur as a natural result of normal development and increased maturity. ;o)

  3. At 10:31 AM on 10 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I assess that we're all going to be sick'&'tired of the assessments by the end of today, let alone 7 or 8 weeks' time when he finally leaves. Eddie, can you place a moritorium on PM running assessments after today until the fateful/wonderful* day when TB leaves?

    *delete as per your personal preference...

  4. At 10:33 AM on 10 May 2007, DI Wyman wrote:

    Fifi (1) totally agree, but did anyone catch Paddy Ashdown's comments last week re Tony B's departure /legacy. I forget which programme it was but he made some very astute and accurate observations that TB will be remembered for all his failures and none of his successes until at least 5 years after his going!

  5. At 11:55 AM on 10 May 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Has it actually said IT yet?? Am bored already; no reflection on PM but I think I may avoid any programme featuring the word Blair for teh rest of the day. Good job the Adonis thread is going....

  6. At 12:09 PM on 10 May 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I'd go for a meta-analysis of all available assessments, if I were you, Eddie. Or just a couple of asses.

  7. At 01:20 PM on 10 May 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Having had a brief period of reflection it strikes me that a lot of my attitudes to politics and government have been shaped by the last 10 years.

    Blair was elected in the first general election I voted in; I graduated from uni and began my working life under a this Labour government so this notion of improved propsperity is a curious one. I have nothing to compare it to. However I will say I'm glad I went to uni when I did or else I could never have afforded it (barmy under a Labour!!). But as a first time buyer - well, without a LOT of help from parents theres no way I could have afforded my place (and can't afford to move now).

    My assessment? Bring on the new phase, this one has not been great, at least in personal terms.

    In a more wider sense this suggestion that Blair was responsible for the situation in NI does the name Mo Mowlam ring any bells??

  8. At 01:23 PM on 10 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    (wry grin)

  9. At 02:37 PM on 10 May 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    On an unrelated (oh yeah?) topic, I just this morning read the DNB's assessment of Denis Thatcher. (You know, the PM consort). Can anyone remind me of what his wife achieved apart from breaking up a society whose very existence she denied.

  10. At 03:23 PM on 10 May 2007, mittfh wrote:

    Here's my assessment of the past 10 years - I'll put it here rather than in any of the other threads regarding the 27th June (in case you haven't heard the news, that's when TB steps down as Prime Minister - although he'll continue to hang around until a new one is "elected" [what do you mean, elected? I thought nobody in new Labour was daft enough to stand up to the mighty Gordon?])

    From what I remember, the first term of new Labour was the most successful. Rather than cooking up their own half-baked ideas, they spent a lot of time talking to focus groups.

    We've somehow managed to maintain consistent economic growth, although traditional manufacturing industries have declined.

    We've got a national minimum wage, which is periodically increased. That was a brave decision, as IIRC the CBI and IoD hated the idea - and usually, what the CBI says, new Labour does.

    We've got low(ish) interest rates, and control over their direction devolved to the Bank of England.

    We've finally persuaded all the paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland (loyalist as well as republican) to abandon their violent struggle (although there's still plenty of unorganised, uncoordinated hothead thugs out there, and the separation of the two communities has actually increased over the past 10 years).


    More controversially, new Labour has done plenty of stuff which has resulted in mixed opinions:

    Welfare to Work (New Deal and friends)
    Tax Credits (muddling up the roles of the Inland Revenue and the DSS - surely it would have been simpler if the Inland Revenue collected money and the DSS gave it back - the old system)
    Trust Schools / Academies
    Partially implemented Vocational Diplomas (the original proposals would have replaced GCSEs and A levels with Diplomas - one qualification which could be optained through both academic, vocational or mixed routes).

    And then there's the stuff hardly anyone likes:

    Interpreting the "Special Relationship" with the US too literally.
    Iran (i.e. Iraq Mk. II)
    Alistair Campbell and the Ministry of Spin
    Jo Moore and the philosophy of "it's a good day to bury bad news"

    Not to mention the extra-curricular activities of:
    David Blunkett
    John Prescott

    The soap opera has even had ministerial deaths:
    Mo Mowlem
    Robin Cook

    And ex-ministers being relegated to relative obscurity:
    Peter Mandelson (exiled to Brussels)
    Frank Dobson (somewhere on the back benches)

    And everyone curses new Labour over it's environmental record:
    Motorists, urban families and business think they've gone too far down the 'green' route (lack of roads investment, RFL steadily increasing for anything larger than a city car, fortnightly bin collections)
    Environemntal groups think they haven't gone far enough (scrapping the fuel duty escalator, still building some new roads, procastinating over airport expansion rather than refusing point blank, not imposing tougher waste reduction targets)

    Not to mention the age-old town vs country debate:
    Fox hunting
    Lords reform

  11. At 03:33 PM on 10 May 2007, Les B wrote:

    So Blair finally feels the boot of history in his posterior.

    Such an opportunity in 1997 after the miserable years of the Tories: the 'Raving Right' who set up the structural instability in the economy through their biggest privatisation: the National Debt. But an opportunity largely untaken.

    Many good things: minimum wage, some devolution of power and investment in public services but too much toadying to right wing business, media and America.

    Ultimately Blair will be an interesting footnote to historians of the Labour Party and of colonial Wars. Meanwhile our future is in hock to PFI companies and mortgage lenders.

  12. At 03:34 PM on 10 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    WW and Tony (8 & 9),

    Many grew up with no experience beyond Thatcherism, and many since (today's 18 year olds) have little experience or recollection of anything except NuLabour.

    Those of us with more years have more memories of promised new dawns not fulfilled, and deeper cynicism, though I still have hopes for Scotland, and the situation shaping up. My ideal has long been a 'hung' parliament, and ideally one as at present in Edinburgh, where the cooperation of more than any two parties is required. Perhaps less legislation overall, but far less Bad Law and divisive policy, e.g. Foxhunting, essentially a trivial diversion which wasted an enormous amount of time when good, inclusive moves were promised and MIGHT have been accomplished, e.g. sensible reform of the Other Place.

    Strangely, I still have hope. There are many MSPs who are not in hock to wealthy special interests. Perhaps those with more or 'higher' Ambitions still go to Westminster? I hope so.


  13. At 03:35 PM on 10 May 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Tony (9);
    I'm amazed that Thatcher still haunts the political sidelines as a bogeyman of the Left. She hasn't been in power for the best part of 20 years. Take off the backward looking blinkers. Time has moved on since then.

    But Blair regarded her in a way as some sort of mentor or totem. Remember when she paid him a compliment or two?

    In the same way no-one looks back and blames the current shower for the Winter of Discontent that brought the Blessed Margaret to power. Oh no, this lot have managed to find their own way to corruption, excess and failure to deliver.

    Compare Neil Hamilton and a few thousand quid in an "envelope stuffed with cash" with the million quid of the Ecclestone Affair. Or the current 'Cash for Honours'. The Tories were amateurs in the corruption stakes by comparison.

    And you had to have some sympathy for Dennis. In the words of John Wells (in character at a 'Secret Policemans Ball' complete with glass of G&T in hand) "I can say without fear of contradiction that I'm the only one here to have had his retirement completely buggered up by his wife becoming Prime Minister".


  14. At 03:54 PM on 10 May 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Okay, I'm posting this both here and on the Live Photo of No 10 thread, in the hope it may have an effect...

    Please, Eddie, Peter, Rupert, team, don't fill up lots of the first half of the programme tonight with stuff about TB's announcement. Really, all that it deserves is about 6 or 7 minutes absolute maximum. He's NOT actually stepped down as PM. Yes, he's resigned as Labour party leader, so it is news, but we don't need lots of assessments/analyses(sp?)/retrospectives of his time. We've already had enough of that over the last year, after he announced that he would be stepping down before the 2007 party conference. It's not as if it's "breaking news" (or even broken news!) as it seems to have been on most news bulletins for the last five days or so. Please leave the story as it deserves to be left: "He's resigned as Leader of the PLP, contest will begin tomorrow, here are the runners & riders".


  15. At 04:22 PM on 10 May 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I enthusiastically second Ffred's motion!

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