A Prime minister is the head of government of a state/country. Authority that a Prime minister has made him the strongest person who can accept, reject, or rectify different policies made by other government representatives. Responsibilities of a prime minister make him/her take important decisions, which directly affect the lives of people . Different prime ministers of United Kingdom are evaluated based on their work that had benefited common people. The most successful Prime minister of United Kingdom after 1945 was Tony Blair. In this paper, different policies and movements are discussed which made Blair win the hearts of his people.
The first section of this paper discusses history of Blair’s political life and his achievements, followed by general achievements that made Blair successful in political history of United Kingdom. Third section of this paper describes the specific movements namely New Labour Movement (Employment Relations Act 1999), social and economic reforms, domestic policies in constitution and initiatives of Tony Blair Faith Foundation. . These movements helped Blair make his place in politics of UK and leave his mark in history.
Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh Scotland in 1953; he completed his degree of Law from the University of Oxford 1975. Blair’s father, Leo Blair, was prominent political personality of his times but, unfortunately, after a devastating stroke Leo left his three kids and wife in poor financial crises. Tony Blair after completing his degree followed his passion of politics and joined the Labour Party in late 1970’s. He won the seat of Sedgefield in 1983; in 1992, he fought for a seat in the cabinet and won the role in Shadow Home Secretary. Labour Party won the election in1997 and Tony Blair became the Prime Minister of United Kingdom on second of May 1997.
Tony Blair worked for people at a lower level and tried hard to solve their basic problems. He introduced new policies and made reforms in existing policies. He introduced National Minimum Wage movement, which sets a minimum payment rate for people working in United Kingdom. He increased the daily rate by five pounds. This helped common people. It was proved after research that the time of Blair’s government was the longest period of minimum inflation.
Different reforms are made in police and law enforcement department to maintain security of people. Police officers were hired, and new strategies were designed to cut off crime rate in United Kingdom. The government members involved Muslims and gave them representation in the government to establish friendly relations with local Muslims. They worked on a project named Contest whose purpose was to target Muslims in the British society and involve them in government activities so that political dissatisfaction among 1.6 million Muslims of United Kingdom can be decreased.
Coming towards educational reforms brought by the government of Blair, the number of schools was increased enormously after 1997. In 2004, a bill was passed known as Higher Education Bill; according to this bill, universities were restricted towards charging a specific amount per year. Blair’s government also helped poor students; proper investigations about poorer children were made, and the government supported them completely. Loans were introduced for needy students with easy return policies.
Blair’s government worked hard for community services; NHS foundation was built, it was a trust for building hospitals that would enjoy financial and managerial independence. Return of Blair from G8 Summit when terrorist attacks hit London, won heart of his people. He put great effort towards stopping terrorist activities and paid special tribute to the effected people. He made new policies for pension distribution; he supported old age people and convinced them to invest their pensions and save their earnings.
Now coming towards specific movements that were planned in Blair’s reign, the first successful pact that was signed between Irish and British Governments is known as Good Friday Agreement. European history had witnessed many conflicts between British and Irish Governments. A conflict between two parties of North Ireland has worsened the situation in the region and created many problems including domestic violence, and fight for power between Nationalist and Unionist. The agreement was signed between Ireland and North Ireland with the help of Blair’s government; conflict was resolved, and a number of issues were solved. Reforms were designed to decide the role of two parties in institutions and political activities in North Ireland.
After the agreement was made, assembly for North Ireland, executives and other legal forums had been established to exercise the powers given to Irish Government from British Government. Good Friday Agreement included different principles to ensure basic human rights, stopping violations based on association with any party in the region, and a redesign of justice system in North Ireland. Implementation of Good Friday Agreement still faces issues, but government of Tony Blair acted as back channel negotiators to solve the problem and was succeeded in his mission to some extent.
The next big achievement of Blair’s government is also considered as one of the boldest decisions of his Government. He allowed Bank of England to decide their policies without intervention of government in any matter. He allowed Bank of England to decide yearly interest rate without consulting department of Government. Bank enjoyed its independence in Blair’s era and brought economic stability in the country. The interest rates remain stable and allowed investors to invest and earn for the good of the country and its people. This decision made the failure of Blair in the next election nearly impossible.
Tony Blair success story majorly depends on his policies designed for economic stability of United Kingdom. He set out principles and spoke to people in welfare reform speech to define following principles:
- Providing youngsters skills to find jobs, jobs created for them must strengthen their skills.
- Built care centres for children and babies, so that their mothers can go out and work.
- People gone through accidents or any other mishaps must be provided with motivational speeches and convince them to join their jobs again and provide them disability benefits.
- Economic stability is not about giving jobs to unemployed; instead, we have to reform and redesign the way of thinking of our people specially youth. They must be passionate, and hopeful for achieving their dreams.
- Build public services in the labour market to empower employees and employers, and to build better responsive behaviours between two parties.
- Care centres for children
- Save from government funds for low earners and their coming generations.
- Help people working at lower rank to achieve better skill set and be paid higher.
Tony Blair introduced Employment Relations Act in 1999, this act guarded the rights of employees and promoted trend of friendly relations between the employer and employees in all organizations. This act directly affected people working in organizations. The Employment Relations Act ensured the legal action against discrimination in hiring and promotions. After the implementation of Relations Act, trends of sudden firing form jobs were reduced. Third and last principle of this act was family provisions i.e. workers can take a certain number of leaves for their family and personal reasons. Married women were given extension in maternity leaves. They can take leaves with pay period.
Social reforms brought by Tony Blair also made his period of governance a golden era of United Kingdom. He designed new policies for new secondary education format; many students paid University level fees for the first time. Different educational plans were announced in 2000. Cities of England and North Ireland where peace situation was not clear, he announced plans for developing well-organized schools. 36,000 more teachers were hired, and 274,000 helpers for teachers were hired to support the success of schools and higher education institutes.
Facility of lunch and brunch was introduced at schools for small children. Fruits were distributed among children in schools at lunchtime. These all facilities increased the rate of literacy in UK. Charities were made to organizations working for providing community services. Hospitals were established, and reforms were brought after announcing establishment of NHS. Under NHS, free advice programme was launched for the first time. This programme provides basic health advices to people in hospitals and to public.
Tony Blair formed effective foreign policy; he took some decisions that were partially right. He supported poor countries and supported Africa in G8 summit in 2007. He reformed the aid program. According to him, financial aid is not enough to solve problems of poor countries. He developed effective plans to make the Africans more powerful in their own country and enabled them to work without asking others for help.
He is still working with the trust that was developed in his period. He founded the Tony Blair Faith Foundation; he is currently donating them funds for carrying out charity activities. He always supported the idea of involving minorities in the development of the United Kingdom. His foundation is working in more than twenty countries, and they hire people from different religions and help them to develop friendly relations with other races and religions. Tony Blair believed that the cause of terrorist activities is extremism, so the idea of faith foundation is promoting political activity to analyse the reasons of terrorist activities based on religion.
These all strategies and policies made Tony Blair the most successful Prime minister of United Kingdom after 1945. People liked him because he worked for them, provided them their rights, and took the nation towards the successful destination.
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