Tony Blair on Brexit’s second referendum | The Economist Podcast

Tony Blair on Brexit’s second referendum | The Economist Podcast

Hello and welcome to The Economist Asks. I’m Anne McElvoy head
of The Economist Radio. As part of our open future season we’re asking, should Britain
vote again on Brexit? Our guest is the former Prime Minister who’s a proponent for the second vote on whether the United Kingdom should or shouldn’t leave the European Union. He was the special
representative of the quartet of international powers
seeking a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. And he runs the Institute
for Global Change advocating for the benefits of globalization. He still finds himself
drawn into heated debate on his support for the war
in Iraq and its consequences. Tony Blair welcome to The Economist Asks. Thank you. We’re meeting very exciting time in terms of British politics, some
people think too exciting. Calls for a second
referendum on leaving the EU are in the air, just lay out
your position on that for me. So I’ve said for quite some time now there should be another
vote which isn’t a rerun by the way of the 2016
referendum, it will be a judgment on what we’ve learnt in the last two years and how we resolve the essential dilemma at the heart of the Brexit negotiation which is that if you want
to stay close to Europe after Brexit you’re
gonna end up in some form of arrangement where you’re
abiding by Europe’s rules but you’ve just lost your say over them in which case the argument will be, well what’s the point of leaving? Or alternatively you’re going to be where a lot of the hard
line Brexiteers want us which is with a clean break Brexit where you get out of Europe, out of its single market
and customs union structures in which case you’re
going to do short term at least, possibly medium term, possibly long term damage to the economy in which case the question
is, what’s the price? So what’s the point versus
what’s the price leads you to a I think to a gridlock in Parliament which I think you can
see increasingly happen and I’ve been saying
this now for over a year, there is not in my view
a majority in Parliament for any one Brexit proposition. So at a certain point there
is going to be no recourse except to either have a general election, which would be a mistake
for the Conservative Party of course do or to say, no we’re
gonna go back to the people and give them the final judgment over whether they prefer the deal that’s being offered to
them or they prefer to stay. Right, let’s get to what
the desirability if you like of this in a moment but on practicality and you’re a good and
skilled process politician from where Theresa May is now and we have this gridlock in Parliament which doesn’t look like
getting cleaned up, she put forward a deal,
said called Checkers deal has left both leave and
remain in Parliament very dissatisfied so
what would be the route to another referendum, would it be to say, we simply can’t find solution
so we’re going to put through legislation for
that and in that case, how does it fit around the
fixed terms Parliament acted and the other, the furniture
if you like of our democracy? I mean I think once you
end up with a gridlock in Parliament so that you
can’t get an agreement on what the new relationship in Europe is and Parliament can’t agree
then the obvious thing is to send it back to the people and say, look you’re gonna have to
tell us whether in the light of what’s happened in the last two years and where we are in Parliament today you want to proceed with
Brexit or you want to stay. And this is a judgment not
the same as the judgment made back in June 2016 where we
no idea what the process would involve and what was the final deal that would come out of it, this
will be a very simple thing which is to say do you want to proceed in these circumstances or
not given that the Parliament can’t agree.
But I was interested in how you thought Theresa May, if she wanted to would make that argument in Parliament. First of all, she has to
get it through Parliament. I don’t, I think once
Parliament is paralyzed, I don’t see what alternatives there are. Well there are three
actually, you crash out without a deal which would
be, I think a disaster and I’m sure Parliament
would not allow that. Or alternatively you
have a general election and I cannot see the circumstances in which the Conservative Party would want to have a general election
around the Brexit issue. I mean they got into enough
trouble last year doing that. I don’t think they I want
to repeat that mistake and in any event the logical
thing is to say to the people look, you gave the original
mandate to do Brexit, it’s proved impossible to get a Brexit that even all the Brexiteers agree on in which case you’re gonna
have to decide for us which way you want to proceed now. I mean, it’s actually a
very rational thing to do and I know rationality
is not much in vogue in today’s politics but it’s
a completely rational way of dealing with this
issue because otherwise even the Brexit people can’t
agree as to what Brexit means. So how can you possibly say
they’ve mandated one form of Brexit over another. But let’s look at a couple of
challenges to that position even assuming that Theresa May or indeed whoever was that was
Prime Minister by the time this happened came into force, a referendum was promised, it was held, it was described by David Cameron as a once-in-a-generation vote. You yourself talked in the early 2000s about putting the European question, albeit it was old Constitutional change but you were thinking
of going to the country and saying can you
please make up your minds how close you want to be
to the EU or you don’t. Both of you flirted with
the idea of a referendum, David Cameron went ahead,
did he get it very wrong? Well it’s not, I mean look,
I think I was the only person who actually made a speech on Europe of any significance in
the 2015 election saying why I thought a referendum was a bad idea and that in itself tells you something in the 2015 election
which David Cameron won and won with the majority,
Europe wasn’t really much of an issue but anyway
for whatever reasons, I understand the reasons,
the referendum was was held but the referendum was held as to whether Britain should
leave the European Union, the referendum that I was
positioning us to have over the so-called Lisbon treaty, was a referendum about whether we changed the status quo in order
to get closer to Europe. So if the country had voted, if we’d had that referendum,
we didn’t need to, ’cause France and Holland
said that they didn’t want this Constitution anyway, but
if we voted and we voted no to that the status quo carries on. The problem with this referendum is you’re disentangling
45 years of membership of the European Union in which
particularly economically we have become intertwined
with the continent of Europe in commercial and trading terms and this is the first time
any modern developed country has literally tried to
de-liberalize its trading system on this scale given that
virtually half our trade is with the European market
so it’s, a it’s a world away different because it’s– But it’s not a world way different from the referendum that
took place two years ago in which people were asked to vote and with about 1.1 million
votes in it, decided to leave. Now what I don’t hear, I hear
a strong case of advocacy for the position of a second vote but what I wonder what
your mind the status of that referendum is or whether one in the way that has been
known done before the EU, we just ask and ask again til
the electorate’s get it right. No I don’t think that’s
what we’re doing at all in this instance, back in June 2016. Okay, we knew we were voting
to leave the European Union. We didn’t know what the new
relationship looked like. What the the next two years have taught us and let’s be clear,
everybody now knows more about this issue than they
did back in June 2016. I know more about this issue
than I did in June 2016. I was Prime Minister for
10 years so we now know that disentangling ourselves
from the single market and the customs union
is short term painful. Brexit was sold on the basis
you get an immediate boost of money to the health service and that it would be, you know
a relatively painless idea to leave the European Union. It’s now, whatever else
is clear and you know, I understand the long-term
vision of Britain leaving Europe and going its own way but
whatever else is the case, short term we now know,
one there’s not more money for the health service, actually
is a 40 billion pound bill for leaving, secondly
we’ve gone from being the fastest growing economy
in G7 to the slowest, third our currency is down
substantially devalued, literally since the day
after the referendum and forth, short term if
you do a clean break Brexit, you’re going to do economic damage. There’s no, no one can
seriously dispute that. Now you may decide there’s– Currency devaluation is not necessarily the worst thing that has happened, is it? It is the worst thing. Because we did need need the correction to the past. Yes, but this was a correction not because the market decided that the market circumstances of the UK had changed in an objective sense. It was a devaluation because
of the markets belief that as a result of Brexit,
we’re going to be poorer as a country in the long term. So this was a completely
different, this is not like a normal market correction at all. This was a correction as a
result of a political act. So, the point is very simple, in the end what we have known over
these last two years and the divisions as to what Brexit, the type of Brexit that
we want mean that you, this is the reason you’ve
got paralysis in Parliament. We don’t know which way we want to go. So the only way of resolving it, when you started this
process with the referendum, is to go back to the
people and let them vote. What’s the question for this referendum? Well that is a good question in itself and it could be one or
two different things. I mean the most obvious thing frankly, is that it goes back to the people with, if there’s no agreement
as to what a soft Brexit really means and I don’t think there is, I think the obvious thing is to go back with a simple referendum choice which is staying possibly
within a reformed Europe by the way and we can
come to that in a moment or a clean break Brexit
which is what the main people advocating Brexit really want. But you could have you could
have a different question which is, you actually
have the soft Brexit option that Theresa May is trying to put forward. You could have that’s an alternative too or some form of it, I
mean these are questions that you can get to at a later stage but– But surely if you’re
advocating for this vote, you must know what you
want the vote to be no. Yeah, now you do know
what the vote will be on. It’ll be stay versus some form of of leave or possibly an option as to which form of leave you want but you
know these are things that– Are you suggesting a multiple choice, when you say an option? Well, you you might have three choices. You could have you could
have a simple choice between two alternatives
so you might have three but you can discuss that at
the later time and by the way– But I’m asking you what you think there. Would you favor a three,
a multi part answer? Because I think it depends really. If you, if you end up, I think you know, this is obviously you, you’ve
got to see the circumstances that you get to but I
just don’t believe myself there’s really any feeling in the country for what is called the soft Brexit. In other words you stay
linked to Europe like Norway or Switzerland in some relationship where you are still
abiding by Europe’s rules and you’ve lost your say over those rules. I think the country will just say, well that’s the worst of both worlds. Why is it the worst of both worlds? If we look at, we’ve
looked with various layers, The Economists will find
more acceptable than others and Norway is one that we’ve
given a pretty fair wind to because we think it
does satisfy the desire to be further away outer
core as we used to call it in sort of EU terms
but still firmly linked into the trading system and
on sort of peaceable terms with the EU, what’s so wrong with that? Because I think if you’re talking about, does that fulfill the mandate of 2016, I think it’s very hard to say that really because you know you’re,
you’re coming at this from a perfectly rational point of view which is say that our
preference is to stay but the second-best to
stay is stay at least in the economic structures,
I understand that. The problem is the case
of the Brexiteers is that the reason they want out of Europe is because of the rules that you have to and the regulations you have to apply that come from the single market and from the fact you’re
in a customs union with the rest of Europe
and therefore don’t strike your own trade deals so
it’s very hard to see how you, you square a soft Brexit with the the main case
that these people make and understand the reason they make it, is one of the myths that– But we don’t know when people voted their version for Brexit we don’t know how many were hard and how many were soft. I mean that’s another way that you could– I agree and that’s why I say to you, you know you could make an argument that you have three alternatives you know. Stay, soft or hard but–
Like eggs. Yeah, I don’t know what the stay version of that would be but I think it depends, I’ve got a feeling that
in the end this this this will clarify so that
if you reach paralysis so there’s no real agreement for any form of Brexit in Parliament
then I think people will I think the British people
in the end will want to make the final say and to make
it in a clear direction and the problem with this, the soft Brexit as I’ve said right from
the very beginning, is that in the end what’s the
point of Britain getting out of the political structures of Europe and staying in the economic structures with all the obligations
but without the seat at the table, I mean it’s a crazy thing for the country to do and so I understand from the business point of view you know, in The Economist newspaper and so on, I completely get it that they say, well look, it’s better
than the alternative. But I think as a political decision, the British people will
feel, well this is just. Well I think, first we haven’t
ruled out a second vote at all but it’s really
a question of how you go through the process, do you
look at soft Brexit first before you move to it. And to put you a bit on the spot, I mean what would your date be for this? Can people who want, advocates
of a second referendum like yourself really go
around for much longer saying, well we’d like it sometime,
we will sort out the question a bit later, shouldn’t
you put your date forward and your idea forward? Well, by the way it’s not
us driving this agenda, I mean this agenda is
being driven by government in more chronic disarray than
any government I’ve literally ever seen in my lifetime
in the Western world, I would say in a major developed country. And but, no you can get to, you may look, you may end up having
to postpone Article 50. You may end up being in that
position but the point is, you know, when people say to me, why don’t you just get on with it, which is a very common thing
you’ll hear amongst people what I say to them, I’m afraid, I’m sorry, this thing’s too complicated
just to get on with it because it won’t be
gone on with in that way because until you’ve resolved
where you’re going to go in the fundamental questions and frankly the government’s not, you know the Checkers statement
was an attempt to come down on the side of staying close to Europe. I mean we all know that– Do you have some sympathy with that? Yeah, no of course, look by the way, let me make one thing
clear, I think Theresa May is a well-intentioned
person, I think she’s got the least enviable job
in Western politics today trying to steer her way
through this morass. I have complete sympathy
for her at a personal level. I know how difficult it
is to be Prime Minister, but the trouble is what
she wants won’t work and it won’t work because
there is no way of squaring this circle, there is no way
of staying close to Europe and being part of a
frictionless border with Europe and going your own way
with your own trade rules. It just, it’s literally and
every time the government keeps saying, well this is what we want, they describe it as a policy. It’s not a policy it’s just a statement of incompatible objectives
and at some point and this Checker statement
was an attempt really to pull her side into it, okay
let’s stay close to Europe to minimize economic damage. If it was down to you, would you advocate for delaying Article
50, not leaving the EU, not yet moving that leaving date in order to open up the
space for second referendum. If I was if I was Prime Minister at the moment what I would
do is say the following, we’ve had two years trying
to reach an agreement, it’s now absolutely clear
that the choice we face if we’re going to do Brexit
is between a soft Brexit that keeps us close to
Europe but unfortunately it means that we have to
abide by Europe’s rules and therefore lose our
say or alternatively we can do a clean break but
you’ve got to be very clear. Here are the economic
consequences of doing that. And I would say in these circumstances because both of those
things aren’t unpalatable for different reasons,
I think it’s sensible we negotiate with Europe
a different option which is Britain staying in a Europe that also has to reform, has to reform around issues to do with immigration and freedom of movement– Precisely what was not happening and precisely what the drift
of the European Union was not in the last few years. Well, this is I think what
the European Union is going to have to do it knows
itself now it’s got to, look the European Union has
got exactly the same problem that Britain had in relation to Brexit which is around immigration. So the freedom of movement commitment which Angela Merkel and
others but particularly I think Angela Merkel sticks on, she says it’s fundamental
she says it’s one reason she couldn’t give more
leeway to David Cameron to, to come up with a more
bespoke deal on that in the run-up to the referendum. You think that itself is
in danger as a European? No I don’t have a principle
of freedom movement’s in danger because the
principle’s perfectly sensible and by the way most British
people would support the principle it’s a question
of how it’s implemented and for example president Macron of France is already suggesting that
there should be provisions in Europe that prevent, you
know the import of cheap labor in order to undercut wages
in the more wealthy countries of the European Union. You know, by the way
countries like Belgium insists that once you come to
Belgium if you’re another from another European
country you come to Belgium, you haven’t found a job within two months they put you back again, I mean there are whole sorts of ways
we could deal with this and the principle immigration problem by the way in Britain and elsewhere is not really from Europe
it’s from outside Europe so I think there are two big questions that I think will dominate Europe at the moment, one is immigration which is exactly referral
to the type of feeling that gave rise to Brexit and the second is the other
unresolved question in Europe, which is how do you
make sense of the Europe in which the Eurozone and the countries in the single currency
are bound to integrate at a different rate in a different way from the countries
outside, so there’s lots of different issues that in a sense should according to any sensible view of Europe, given what’s been happening for example in the Italian election should
result in Europe reforming at the same time as Britain reconsidering and that would be frankly
the perfect way out of this. Last point on referendum, do you not worry that given the division in the countries, it’s not going to be
possible to satisfy everyone or even perhaps a clear
majority on this issue that referendum two, and you
are calling it a referendum now not people’s vote or any of that. Well, people’s vote’s
the same thing I mean– Well a referendum sort of
says go or stay doesn’t it? A vote can simply say
we don’t like the deal, there is a difference. I don’t think, that’s just a
difference in the question. Look there’s no point
treating people like idiots. It isn’t a rerun of the
June 2016 referendum but whether you call it a
people’s vote or a referendum or a plebiscite or, it’s just language. The fact is, it’s, it’s an acceptance that the confusion is such
you need to have a final say, given to the British people. What would you do in the event the final say went against your position? Then is, then it’s the end of it, if the British people vote for leave in circumstance–
again. Yeah, again where they
know, they now know exactly what they’re going to be
getting as a result of that, we let all the experience
of last couple of years, that’s an end of it, I mean
I’ve made this absolutely clear in my view once you put alongside, leave it, leaving the European
Union the actual alternative the new relationship
once that is a clear vote and the British people then decide, look we’ve heard all the
arguments we still want to leave that’s the end of it,
then we’ll have to forge– a new future for ourselves.
But there’s some people that think the division is
for that second argument and vote would create
would actually lead you to more of even more
of a populist backlash a more proto-Trumpian
backlash than we have already. I don’t, it’s a it’s a,
first of all by the way, the country there’s no
way getting around this the country’s bitterly and deeply divided and it is, but I’m, I’m a skeptic that if you go back and
say look, in the light of what we now know here’s the choice and you the people made the choice that people are going
to consider it an insult to be asked I don’t think they will. Let’s talk more broadly
about center politics in the guise of our open future season which is looking at it
broadly at the future of liberalism and and the the center. You have stood for a certain
kind of center politics very electorally successful yourself in, in power for a long time
in Britain and others in Europe, Bill Clinton in the U.S. This feels like something
that has been not just under attack but has
been sort of crumbling from within for quite some time. Is central politics dying or reviving? I don’t think it’s
either dying or reviving. I think it’s never gone
away, I still think there’s a majority for it,
I think the Macron election in the sense is one indicator of that but I think the way modern politics works, political parties can be taken over by those from without outside the center and then the choice for the people, I mean the choice for the
British people is pretty grim if it’s a Brexit dominated Tory Party versus a Corbyn led Labor Party, it’s a, I mean that is a choice
of two extreme positions where I think the reserve and
majority of British people that would not really want
either of those two things if they have an alternative. Which would then be a
case for electoral reform, I’m sorry, voting system reform. Whether it’s voting system reform but it’s, it’s a question
of, I mean my preference is the Labor Party sorts itself out but I have to say that looks unlikely. Sorts itself out as in
returns to the center ground, gets rid of Jeremy Corby as leader? Well look, it’s, it’s not
a question of getting rid of them as leaders much
more fundamental than that, it’s a question of whether
the Labor Party understands that it, it won power,
I mean remember we were in power as a Labor
government for more than twice as long as the next Labor government ever. We were the only political
party, Labor Party to win two consecutive terms, never mind three consecutive terms. This is 1997 to 2000? Yeah and we did it from the center but by the way David Cameron
won from the center in 2015 so it’s not as if this
is you know politics that has had its day and and you know one of the fascinating things when you look at the recent OECD report, the country that did best in terms of social mobility from the late 1990s to 2010 the country that did best of all the
Western developed countries was Britain and that was
because you had a progressive center-left party that was
keeping the economy strong but nonetheless making real social changes and this politics is still the politics that I think, it’s a combination of people who believe in a strong enterprise sector, believed deeply in social
justice are socially liberal that is a constituency today
that probably is a new, you know electoral
constituency and frankly at the moment it’s pretty
much underrepresented. Do you think Jeremy Corbyn
could win the next election? Has your view changed on
the probability of that? I think it’s, look first of
all you can’t say anything is not possible in politics
today and certainly I didn’t, I thought Labor would get badly beaten at the last general election, now I think there were many very special factors in that election, not least Brexit. The Conservative manifesto which
was a sort of disaster area and the way they fought the campaign. So I you know personally I think with this government in
this disarray we should be 15, 20 points ahead,
we’re not but who knows. It’s possible yeah, it’s possible
he becomes Prime Minister. And if we look to the context
we’re speaking in now, is just after Helsinki and that summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, do you think actual harm has
been done of that summit? Opinion’s divided on whether this was just another Trump show
as usual or whether, you know whether you feel a real harm is done to the security
architecture of the West? Well I think, you know
President Trump has his own way of doing things for sure and I think it’s it’s hard
right now to see exactly what the implications of
it are but my reflection is more to this point that it shows why it’s so important today
that Europe stays united. It’s why Brexit is not
just an economic disaster, it’s it’s a geopolitical
disaster for Britain and for Europe and it shows I’m afraid that in today’s world
the interests of America may lie elsewhere and I’m not sure this is completely
connected to Donald Trump by the way I think for the moment for whatever reasons America
wants to look after itself and its own interests, its big focus is its relationship with China,
this is, the America China relationship will be the pivotal
geopolitical relationship of the 21st century and I
think my reflection is is, less to do with critiquing his position because there are plenty of people who can do that as well as I can. It’s really to do with how Europe reacts and you know right at this moment if Europe wants to stay powerful, it’s gonna have to stay
united and strong economically and politically and this is the tragedy of what is happening in
Europe at the moment. You’re known for your
international network, how connected are you to the Trump team? I think you met some of his advisers. Yeah, no, I, you know particularly on the Middle East where
I remain very active on the Israeli Palestinian
question I remain in contact with them
and you know I’m also, because of the work– With Jared Kushner specifically? Yeah.
His son in law. And with other people on the team there and you know I, because I’m,
my institute is very active in Africa we’ve got teams in
14 different countries today and you know I’m active
with different parts of the American system and I keep closely in contact with it and
you know, I haven’t met President Trump himself but yeah of course, I stay connected. But you would meet president
Trump if the occasion arose? Well if I had the right thing to discuss and he wanted to it would
depend on what the issue was. But Jared Kushner his designate to deal with the Middle East is
himself in the firing line over the Mueller investigation, isn’t he into the backwash
of the allegations of Russian interference in the election and sort of stringing pulling
through the Trump businesses? Yeah but you know for me
the important thing is if I’m working on the
Israeli Palestinian issue in this and these are the people who are designated as dealing with it, it’s important you keep in contact. And what difference you
think that the Donald Trump being in the White House
and a shift on the way to handle the Middle East
has made to the chances good or otherwise of achieving anything in the Middle East in terms of a deal? So I think that that, I
mean you know it’s it’s, as I always say to people
it’s hard sometimes to have a rational conversation
about Trump’s policies because there’s so much
focus on on the personality and the character, I think the
one thing the administration has correctly understood
is the future of resolution for the Palestinian issue lies in the Israeli Arab
relationship and not simply in the Israeli Palestinian relationship. I think that they’ve understood correctly and they’ve got immensely strong ties with both the Israeli leadership
and the Arab leadership. However I don’t think
you will get a resolution of the Palestinian question
unless you build it from the bottom up as much
as trying to negotiate it from the top down I think the problems are deep politically and economically between Israel and the
Palestinian territories and I could bore you endlessly on it but I don’t think we will get a resolution unless we do it through the
Israeli Arab relationship and by the way I think this has to start and start urgently with
what is happening in Gaza which is a catastrophe
and extremely dangerous and needs to be handled with urgency. You think we’re looking towards a Netanyahu era now and do you see anyone on the Israelis side that you think might be able to take on that process? I think it’s far too early to say that and you know Israeli politics
is a study all in itself but no, he’s, you know Bibi Netanyahu is there and that’s
the Prime Minister that that you know he’s been there
now for a considerable period of time, has huge experience obviously and I don’t think there’s an
election in the offing, so. We’re sitting here in a different office. I think the one I
visited you in last time, we spoke to you for The Economist Asks you’ve consolidated a
lot of what you do now into this Institute for the Global Change. You have closed pretty much all of your sort of consultancy work, is that a sign that there had been a bit of Blair sprawl and you were doing too much? You know I tried to do something since leaving office because you know, you’re gonna find this
with Prime Ministers and the presidents who leave office when they’re relatively
young and the circumstances where friendly people can remain healthy and active much longer, you
know I was never going to end up retiring as Prime
Minister then just going on the speaking circuit so I
have I built a whole series of different organizations
and then I had a business side who I think I explained
to you in an interview we did a few years back,
its purpose was always in order to better fund
the the charitable work, the, so I made two mistakes really, first of all I think having
these different organizations in retrospect and this would
be my advice to anyone else doing this, put it all in one institute and we have this one
not-for-profit institute now which is a much much better
way of doing the work we do in the Middle East and
Africa around governance, counter extremism and
coexistence in this new part we’re doing which is about
renewing the center ground of politics in the West
so it’s much better done as one institution and secondly,
frankly people you know with the business side you’re
always going to get people who misunderstand your
motives or misdescribe them and you’re just get into
a run of trouble over it. So I think what we did was, we transferred what all the substantial
reserves we’ve built up in the business side into the Institute that allowed us to get these offices going and get moving and now you know, we’ve got round about 250 people working for us in about 30 different countries. I was first teasing you,
I could see you kind of come around to the view
that we discussed then. There was a bit of a problem
between the balance of Mammon and good works in your life. Well it was it was more
to do with the way it was, could be presented or
misrepresented but yeah, no I, if I was doing it
again I’d set it up as it is, as it is now but you know
no one’s ever tried to build an organization as a former Prime Minister and the thing that people
have never understand is that you stop being Prime Minister right, your infrastructure goes, everything goes and you may have a name
but you are nothing else, so you’ve got to go and fundraise for it, you’ve got to either make
the money or raise the money as a large organization operates
in many different countries and it takes a lot to build
but the work we’re doing here is is really fantastic and
I think in time we will, I hope we can lead to a
shift of global politics or help in a shift of global politics back to support for what I
call the open-minded view of the world, the
international liberal order and the politics that
says globalization is actually basically a good
thing but you need to deal with its risks in order to
access its opportunities. You’re 65 now, only 65 I should say really because there’s a bit quite
a long time since you were Prime Minister and
you’ve done a lot since. But it is a good time to to look back and did, what do you regret? Um well I was think, one
of the interesting thing is is you go, you stop being a Prime Minster, you go out into the world and
you learn an immense amount so I have learned a huge
amount in the last 10 years about how the world works which you just, you know if you’re in politics
especially I came in 1997 I never been a minister before, you’re Prime Minister
okay, 10 years you learn a huge amount so there are
things that I can regret in domestic policy around reform
I think the biggest regret post 9/11 was misunderstanding
the depth of the problem of sort of radical Islamist influences and therefore when we, we
thought when we changed regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq,
gave the people the chance to improve their lives
then surely this would work but there were many forces that
were trying to disrupt at us they still are today but you know, I also look back on the things that we did that are on the more positive side, the big changes in society
that we introduced in the UK, you know the radical
reductions of poverty, the improvements in schools and hospitals, the minimum wage, the Northern
Ireland peace process, bringing the Olympics to
the UK, I mean there’s a lot that we can be proud
of as well as obviously I don’t think anyone’s
in power for 10 years without there being things
that people disagree with. Tony Blair, thank you
very much for joining The Economist Asks this week. Thank you.

100 thoughts on “Tony Blair on Brexit’s second referendum | The Economist Podcast

  1. Tory war criminal – raking in the filthy lucre off the back of millions of innocent and unwarranted deaths and global unrest. Thinking people's faith in democracy will not be restored until this odious piece of shit is hanging from a rope.

  2. Typical… keep voting until you get the answer that the EU globalists require. Second referendum, third referendum, fourth referendum… what will you do if they all are to leave!

  3. So says the fucking cunt who repeatedly lied about letting us have a referendum but now we’ve had one and it didn’t go the way his bilderberg paymasters ordered the cunt is all of a sudden the flag bearer of democracy 😂😂 please someone put a bullet this this sack of dog shits head.

  4. ok, and then a third referendum to decide if we want to remain in under less favourable conditions than before (see that one coming.)

  5. And how much is the eu paying you ? A bought man, paid for by the highest bidder, go away , you are and always have been a liar and a greedy snake. If we had had a vote on being in a political union , before the Lisbon and Maastrich treaties were signed, we would have voted no. We weren't asked, therefore we are now righting an enormous wrong and getting our country back. There will be NO second referendum , just because you don't like the result. This is democracy, something you have no idea about !!

  6. Tony Blair is biggest war criminal after WWII as creator of last Yugoslav Civil war in 90' where around 200,000 people were killed. He was most responsible for bombarding Serbia and Monte Negro where every year 20,000 victims have been dying as consequences of depleted uranium.He is Jesuit's Satan of today as the biggest investment of Vatican.

  7. we can say what we want about this guy but he was an excellent political mind and a diplomat (doesn't really exist right now)

  8. If only we could vote again on Blair’s Labour election wins having known what damage he would do to our country.

  9. Crawl back under your stone Blair you have hurt this Country enough, with your Lies over Iraq,and still you try to interfere, in things that you should have nothing to do with. you had your years of Cockups, Just Go. !!!!!!!

  10. Blair is the ultimate traitor, both to his country his generation, upon which he has wrought never-ending shame. This is the traitor who started an illegal war but was never charged for war crimes and was heavily implicated in the murder of Dr. Davis Kelly. Blair was so worried about the murder that he made all the documents secret for 50 years, which is unprecedented. He failed in everything he tried apart from making millions from oil sales while he was supposed to be sorting out the middle east.

    He is the biggest shit in history and should be hung, drawn and quartered in public. I had hoped with the amount of time he’s been spending in the Middle East filling his pockets, that he might fall into enemy hands. Something fitting like being abducted and chained to a radiator (Terry Waite style) in some derelict building and left to become rat fodder.

    Self-righteous hypocritical, deluded, oxygen-thieving, f**king, scum bag.

    Blair died the moment he was born. When his heart finally stops beating, it will be a mere formality.

  11. Ridiculous questions from a supposedly intelligent lady! She just couldn't grasp what Tony was saying! Surprised he kept so calm.

  12. Tony 'vomit inducer' Blair……He reminds me of that dog shit you don't realise is on your shoe, until you've walked it allover the house and your lovely beige carpets, searching for the fucking stink!

  13. Well i cant see any comments that agree with him .. no thanks to globalism , why dont these fuckers listen to the people .

  14. Surely this man should be more hated than Soros and the Clintons. Dispicable phoney ,War criminal and money grabbing bastard and those are his good points.

  15. I must have had a different ballot paper mind you said stay or leave the leave was to leave all E.U. bureaucracy

  16. “Brexit: If You Want To Go Fast Go Alone, If You Want To Go Far Go Together”

  17. The status of the referendum was treated by the politicians as higher than of parlement. For me that was a fundamental mistake. Any referendum should never be regarded more as an advice to parlement that than decides.
    If there will be no deal the parlement should then decide over the question to stay in the EU or go for a hard brexit.

  18. If the media didn't continuously seek the ravings of a political has-been, He might just realise nobody cares what He thinks!!!

  19. This POS is the reason Blighty looks like Pakistan in many areas and all the bar maids are Polish, the latter is not a problem. GWB bitch and Euro shill. Scum of the Earth.

  20. Is this excrement Blair is still live ??? Didn't they hang this scumbag traitor for war crimes ???? Britain you are not nation any more !! You can call your self BRISHIT !!! A slaves to jew bank of england from 1694 !!!

  21. Tony Blair is brilliant. HE is pragmatic.
    He knows that UK outside the European Union will be a banana republic, sorry …banana monarchy.
    The brexiters are still looking for the golden unicorn
    They do not want to know that the EU will not give them what they ask for. Why insist?
    Their blackmail has not worked. This discussion about a good DEAL is absurd. Its an oxymoron
    THIS DEAL is humiliating . If approved UK will become Marshall Islands
    Parliament must reject it. Then there will only be TWO OPTIONS on the table
    Tell the people … ladies and gentlemen choose carefully : Armaggedon or status quo .
    TORIES know that IF the economy collapses ( it will ) they will be blamed for the disaster . Labor will win and UK will become a North Korea . OUT OF EUROPE with a marxist government

  22. The only position this thug does is on all fours with his butt cheeks spread wide. I wonder what the going rate is for being a puppetmaster's sperm receptacle.

  23. The British people gave the mandate to have brext, because they were fed lies: the conservatives blamed the EU for domestic issues failing in our country, such as the austerity gap widening, claiming immigration from Europe was to blame for taking British jobs. This is simply not true, immigration will still exist even if the UK does exit the EU. The British people were told 350 million per we could go towards the NHS rather than the EU, which was also a lie, the NHS has not seen any such moneys. Now Blair in a way is blaming the British people, passing the buck back to us, when in reality, the referendum on such a key issue with know clear facts or understanding of the outcome, even from the politicans, would be apparent.

  24. As much as Blair was responsible for joining the War effort in the middle east to which we are still involved and has lead to the death of many foreign peoples and humanitarian crisis issues, he was not alone. The U.S.A mostly and other countries in NATO were involved as well as some of the other middle eastern countries. I think it is fair to say he was mislead and misguided and we as a country were too, much to our countries regret. Now i ask you has the leave party mislead us in any way, have they misguided us in anyway have they lied to us. Then i can only logically think that again will we regret it. This time it will be our lives that will be effected. Maybe Blair does regret the war in the gulf, but he didn't have all the facts in front of him. However this time it's different. Either follow blindly a bad decision and hope for the best or REVOKE ARTICLE 50 and stop this madness.

  25. you should be hung as a traitor blair tory boy ,you took our boys to war on a falsehood you have made millions on the road of bullshit,give your blood money to help the troops who were wounded……your a fucking waste of a human skin……was a labour supporter!!!! no more

  26. This war criminal has no shame? He has the audacity to appear in public, wanting to seem as though he is concerned about the welfare of others, while having the blood of ~1,000,000 innocent Iraqi, men women, and children on his hands? His part in their mass murder is well documented, while he supported a terrorist, rogue state, the government of which concocted a preconceived lie, to begin an illegal war, so that his associates could loot and steal another sovereign nations resources, while displacing ~4,000,000 in the process? He is very dangerous psychopath, and probably should be in 'Broadmoor', not on TV? When will we be having our own 'Nuremberg Trial' for this despicable character? We don't need the 'advice', on absolutely anything, from such a monster, surely?

  27. No we don’t want it . Blair don’t want to leave cause he will lose his job . What a fucking wanker tosser Blair is we have voted and won out . Now these twats won’t go it won’t happen . Wing nut Blair should retire and get a greenhouse and a rocking chair . Britain won’t be happy I’ll tell you that

  28. fuck you tony blair fuck you and get yourself in prison you reprehensible sordid repellant neauseating repugnant wankbat.

  29. The most hated man in Britain. He must be so thick skinned to have to balls to keep trying to interfere. Please somebody shut him up.

  30. "Stay, soft or hard" ..?
    Really, is this what the whole Brexit situation has become? A political driven and hijacked mess indeed smh

  31. This snake should be in jail, and I used to be a fan of the Economist, until I saw Fuckwit McElvoy interview Jordan Peterson, and now I cant take the dopey twat seriously anymore.

  32. Never mind the arguments in parliament. Parliament asked for instruction, it got it. leave.
    Now how about just doing your job and getting on with it?

    But of course that's not how politicians like Blair think, everything has to pass through a what's in it for me filter.

    His argument that people didn't know what they were voting for is FALSE and offensively patronising. They were not voting for a destination, they were voting for a departure.

    He also asserts that leavers are trying to de-liberalise their trade. The EU is a protectionist racket, so leaving it is not de-liberalising, if anything it is liberalising.

    As to arguments about what Brexit means, remainers can continue to argue all they like.

    Leavers know that NOT one single person voted for Brexit, the word did not appear on the ballot paper.
    The word on the ballot paper was LEAVE.

    So Blair builds a straw man out of the word brexit and knocks him down… carry on Blair, you are fooling no one, but yourself.

  33. Why does this Egotistical Idiot not crawl back under his stone and take All his Self Centered Friends if he has any left, with him. they are All a load of Traiters !!!!!

  34. This guy and his family should be parachuted right into the middle of Iraq fighting isis. Let the cunt know what it feels like


  36. The fact he speaks for the remain side makes me question this murderer! If Brexit is cancelled or watered down or is fucked up in any way, the leftists and liberals, the very thing your trying to prevent will happen ten fold, the far right will gain even more power, hard Brexit will be nothing compared to a far right government!

  37. 1:16 he says "if you want to stay close to Europe, after Brexit, your going to end up in some form of arrangement where your abiding by Europes rules, but you've lost your say over them,"? Is he an idiot ? What relationship does someone sign upto and not have a say? You would have to be TOTALLY STUPID, just like this man on here.

  38. British people have no idea who their best leaders have been.They want Farage haha.Blair is clearly one of the better leaders Britain has had.He describes the Brexit dilemna very clearly and proposes an honest and practical solution for Cameron's great error.If the people just want to focus on his mistake in Iraq,then they are playing the man not the ball.It is interesting to watch a country vote to destroy itself.I have never seen this happen before.They could stay and change EU if they had a leader to do it.No matter what happens now,EU will grow stronger economically(China is going to sign a huge EU deal) and they will probably decentralize after the scare of Brexit anyway.So where will that leave Britain?Looking a bit stupid really….

  39. Blair is an idiot because the EU and the Remainders in Parliament have made it difficult to get a fair deal in leaving the EU it should no go back to the voters to vote again on Brexit. No the voters have spoken and the Brexiteers won, so just make a clean break with the EU and negotiate after. The U.K. will be fine in the long run, and will actually much better off negotiating with the EU without the all the UK Bureaucrats, that were on the EU payroll who were not working with the best interests of Britain but were favoring their benefactor the EU.

  40. His words . If the British people decide to leave hahahahahaha is he fucking thick or just a manipulative prick .

  41. ….WHY, after people voted “Leave,” would one of the second referendum’s choices be, “Stay?”….

  42. I feel sorry for his children ( Euan , Nicholas , Kathryn )
    Imagine divulging to people that this thing was your father

  43. Does Blair see Dr David Kelly in his dreams
    Or does he see the young British soldiers, dead
    Or does he see the hell-fire in Iraq and Libya
    No money is worth eternal damnation , for this Plastic Catholic

  44. I want to see the day Tony Blair is dragged out and have a bullet put in the back of his lying skull!

  45. We've had a referendum you don't keep having them dickhead your one person not 17.4 million you shouldn't even be opening your pie hole you murderer JAIL THIS WEASEL HOW MUCH IS THE EU PAYING HIM ….WE VOTED LEAVE YOU KNOB SO JUST FUCKING LEAVE IT WAS NEVER ABOUT A DEAL

  46. The match has been won. Just because you do not like the result the match should not be played again Mr Blair. You have left democracy and now you think you know best above the will of the people.

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