“When I joined the Labour Party as a wide-eyed 16-year old I’m pretty sure it was not with the aim of just being pragmatic. It was because governments of Thatcher and Major had made a mess of the town where I had grown up and there was a pressing urgency to do something. Blair – whatever his subsequent faults – was able to articulate a vision of a better, fairer and more optimistic future for the UK. It’s thanks in part to that vision that Labour swept to power in 1997.”

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