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Looking back at Tony's Prime Time
Interview with British General-Consul Martin Uden
By Kai Sandvig, Business Editor
Posted June 30, 2007

Tony Blair (left) and Gordon Brown


  “Very soon, the real battle in British politics will begin,” Conservative Party Leader, David Cameron, told a crowd in Tooting, a London neighborhood, on June 18.

  “Us against Gordon Brown,” he said.

  Cameron's “soon” portends to former Great Britain Prime Minister Tony Blair relinquishing his power to new Labour Party Leader and good bloke, Gordon Brown, on June 27. After a decade in the Prime Minister slot, Blair turned over leadership to Brown who thumped all his competitors in Labour Party referendums. Brown became the official leader of the Labour party on June 24.

  Blair's tenure as Prime Minister witnessed monumental shifts in domestic policy and international diplomacy. Elected as Prime Minister in 1997, Blair ended 18 years of Conservative Party rule, as the Labour Party garnered 43 percent of the national vote that year. Blair worked his way up the parliamentary ladder system, holding a plethora of positions.

  His political incipience began after his graduation from Oxford in 1975. He represented Sedgefield as a Member of Parliament since he joined the Labour Party in 1983, after noticing a Labour Party vacancy within the district. He also held positions as “First Lord of the Treasury” and “Minister for Foreign Service.” As Prime Minister, Blair was a member for the Privy Council of the United Kingdom alongside his Labour Party leadership. He held the longest tenure for a Labour Party Prime Minister.

  “I think it will go down as he will be regarded as a great Prime Minister,” British Consul-General from San Francisco, Martin Uden, told The European Weekly Online. “Anyone who can stay in power for ten years fully deserves that accolade.”

  Uden's primary task as a Consul-General to Britain concerns facilitating foreign investment into the United Kingdom, but one of his auxiliary roles includes maintaining knowledge pertaining to British politics. Uden mentioned that Blair gave more independence to legislatures in Wales and Scotland to advance their own local agendas. He also said Blair was known for helping the diplomatic process in Northern Ireland achieve peace and stable negotiations. Blair also helped increase EU membership and advance the ideals of the Kyoto Protocols.

  However, as Blair's popularity waned in the later years of his leadership, he indelibly tarnish fragments of his legacy, particularly going against the popular will of the British public, and abetting in the invasion of Iraq with the United States. The Daily Telegraph conducted a poll in 2006 where only 26 percent of the British public approved of him personally.

  “Tony's going, and the phony war will be over,” Cameron said during his speech.

  Blair officially gave his resignation from the pulpit in Sedgefield on May 10 at the Trimdor Labour Club. There was “revolt in Labour Party itself,” according to Uden. The Labour Party gave a substantial amount of time to go through the process of eventually choosing Brown. Although Blair's opposition never mustered enough negative sentiment to lodge a no confidence vote, he regularly took heat in the House of Commons and from members inside the Labour Party.

  “He [Blair] can look back on some very solid achievements,” Uden said.

  “The British people will have a clear choice. A choice between two different visions of society. A choice between two different approaches to running the country. And a choice between the old and new politics,” Cameron said.

  Blair bequeathed to Brown the highly dynamic, macroeconomic London –– the world's best city for commerce according to Master Card Worldwide. Uden attributes English commerce success to a colonial history of “openness.” This open attitude correlates to extensive foreign investment in the U.K., but Uden did mention one danger from foreign investment, which is that in the end, “foreign investors will be repatriating their profits.”

  As political winds swept officials in new directions, Blair will bluster into a special envoy position to the Middle East, focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He will work with officials from EU and the U.S.

  As for Uden, he is set to become an ambassador later this year in October. He could not divulge any specific details about his new post.

  It's a “fulfillment of a dream,” according to Uden.

  However Gordon Brown’s future remains a mystery.

   “Our foundations are strong, while Gordon Brown's are shaky,” said Cameron. “Social responsibility, not state control. That's what we believe, and that's why we'll win.”

Kai Sandvig can be reached at


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