Eyewear is glad to see him go. Blair was a mostly negative influence on British politics, and society, more generally. He ushered in an age of spin - glib media-manipulation and poll-driven decision-making - and then, paradoxically - made an isolated, almost Lear-like stand, in pushing through UK support for the Bush-led illegal war on Iraq - never admitting the failed vision of that action. Both of these impulses - to manufacture events, and often deny the reality of others - has led to a widespread cynicism in British life, where often the worst are filled with intensity, and the majority lack conviction.
The latest example of this is Tory leader Mr. Cameron, a lightweight Blairesque figure, who may not be a match for the lead balloon gravitas of dour Mr. Brown, now Prime Minister. Cool Britannia seems a long way back, now. It'd be nice to think a new age of seriousness may arrive - one able to cope, with honesty and integrity - with real-world issues, such as climate change.
If Mr. Brown wants to start well, he will distance himself from Iraq - and America; become more open to Europe - especially France or Germany; tax the super-rich; monitor the military-industrial complex; curb the cigarette and pharmaceutical interests; and attend to the problems that face schools across the nation. He will also try to provide more affordable housing for families who work hard, and deserve a step onto the property ladder.
Time will tell whether his clunking fist will wear a velvet or an iron glove.
As for Mr. Blair, history may yet swerve his way. Should he be a truly balanced interlocutor in the Middle East, he might - against the odds - work a miracle, and win his Nobel Peace prize. Meanwhile, he will rake in millions, speaking in America. He is, as his farewell speech in the House of Commons reminded, a witty, clever man. Imagine what he might have achieved, if he had been a true Labour leader.