The former Prime Minister, who served as leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007, reflected on his time as leader of the UK Government. He reflected on the criticism levelled at New Labour and said: “Our 1997 campaign song was ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ and for millions of people they did. Unfortunately, in the time which followed, it became in the interests of the right and part of the left to trash our record.
“For the left, they disliked New Labour because they thought a more left-wing Labour Party could win power and do better.”
He added: “So this is what we had. And this is what we threw away. And there are lessons for today.”
In 1997, the Labour Party won one of the biggest election victories in British political history.
In that year, Labour came to power after four election defeats and 18 unbroken years of Conservative Government in the UK.
The years of Sir Tony’s leadership saw the nation prosper economically, only to tilt and collapse with the sub-prime mortgage bond crash of 2008.
He presided over many controversial events, such as the invasion of Iraq and the introduction of University tuition fees.
Writing in the Daily Mirror he said that, “as we approach the 13th year of another Tory Government and four election defeats for Labour, it is worth reflecting just for a moment what is on the other side of the ledger of the Government I led”.
He listed the triumphs of his time in office.
The former Prime Minister said: “Before May 1997, there was no minimum wage.
“We had tried in vain for 100 years to get one.
“I recall a job advert which became part of our campaign, ‘Security Guard. £2.50 an hour. Bring your own dog’.
“There was no legal right to be a member of a trade union.
“Unions were banned at the Government’s own centre at GCHQ.
“Child poverty was at record post-war levels.
“Many pensioners were forced each winter to choose between heating and eating.
READ MORE: Boris Johnson will offer ‘full-throated apology’ to MPs [INSIGHT]
“People would wait months to see cancer specialists.
“Fewer than half of all students got 5 good grades at GCSE.”
Then the former Labour leader began to list the things the Government did to change the nation’s problems.
Sir Tony described the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, which saw peace in Northern Ireland, as a high point of his years of leadership.
By the time we left office in 2010, NHS satisfaction ratings were the highest since the health service was created.
Crime had been cut by a third, with measures, particularly around Anti-Social Behaviour, making a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable communities.
He then added that by the end of Labour’s decade in power, “70 percent of school students were getting good grades”.
Sir Tony said: “Many of them going on to university, often the first in their family to do so.
“Millions of families and pensioners were given relief from poverty through things like Sure Start and Tax Credits.
“The minimum wage was in place and now accepted as part of the political consensus. Homelessness was dealt with. All those items of discrimination had seen remarkable progress.
“There was a fully functioning peace in Northern Ireland.”