Blair needs to change to influence Brexit | Letters

Tony Blair (Report, 18 March) is right to warn about the direction in which the May government and its ultra-right ideologues are heading. They want a complete break from Europe so they can pursue their free-wheeling, low-tax, post-imperial experiments. However, if Blair is to contribute to an effective opposition he urgently needs to do two things.

First, he has to recognise that “the baggage” he brings in this instance is not Iraq, but the free-market version of globalisation that he, Peter Mandelson and Gordon Brown so recklessly championed during his time as prime minister. This created the social conditions and inequalities which nationalist and racist demagogues and tabloid newspapers have been able to exploit. An acknowledgement that there are other, more social, models of globalisation that we should now follow would be most welcome.

Second, he should drop his divisive call to rerun the referendum. That issue is dead. The key question now is what relationship will the UK establish with Europe. That is where he should focus his energies. There is a broad alliance – ranging from the Road Haulage Association and large exporting companies to the Greens and SNP – to be built around a soft Brexit, with access to either the single market or the customs union. Calls for a second referendum merely serve to distract from that task. Only if Blair shifts on these two issues does his project have any chance of success.
Jon Bloomfield

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