Does Tony Blair support the Coalition (and would it matter to Lib Dems if he does)?

by Stephen Tall on August 7, 2010

This was a story which entirely passed me by, but throws up a couple of intriguing questions. I tip my hat to the Independent’s John Rentoul for highlighting Tony Blair’s address to the Institute for Government entitled, How to Be Prime Minister, held at the end of June. In it Mr Blair commented,

The British people have again elected a centrist government, and that’s what they decided to do in that extraordinary way they do, they decide they will put in the Conservatives and put the Lib Dems alongside them.

As Mr Rentoul notes,

… this rather goes against the attempt by many in the Labour Party to present the coalition as a right-wing Thatcherite government with soft Lib-Dem cover.

It prompts me, though, to ask two simple questions:

1) Does Tony Blair support the Coalition Government? After all, he was tempted himself to extend the Big Tent to include the Lib Dems in 1997, before ducking the decision on the curious grounds he found himself to be too powerful. And nor is he a left-wing tribalist – Mr Blair even dropped a strong hint in 2008 that he preferred Senator McCain as President to Senator Obama, because of the former’s (then) unabashed pro-immigration free-marketeering. So would supporting a centrist coalition be much of a problem for him?

2) How would Lib Dem members feel if Tony Blair did support the Coalition? Many will say (rightly) that Mr Blair is yeterday’s man, that what he thinks cannot possibly matter. And yet … though sme would undoubtedly feel queasy at the very idea that the man responsible for the single worst British policy decision in post-war history might be a coalition sympathiser, others will point to his undoubted sixth sense in finding Middle England’s g-spot and draw some comfort.

Feel free to speculate away your own hypothesis below …