Tag Archive for 'tony_blair'

Tony Blair has a “department for happiness”

Just catching up on the newswires. This made my laugh: Happiness is a chat over the fence, The Sunday Times (7 January).

“People who take the time to chat over the fence to their neighbours, have plenty of sex in a stable relationship and care about endangered species tend to be happier, according to a report by Tony Blair’s ‘department for happiness’. Gardening, praying and going for walks are also all linked to broader smiles, says the study, written by a professor of economics at Imperial College London’s Tanaka Business School and circulated to ministers and senior civil servants… Paul Dolan, lead author of the report, said that while the evidence on happiness could be assessed, the practical implications for policy were likely to prove far more contentious.”

Credit: Imperial College Communications bulletin.

The Benign Iron Lady

Tony Blair is often compared to Lady Thatcher for similarities on various policy matters, including (topically) Atlanticism. However, John Kampferner, writing in the New Statesman ['Blood on his hands'], makes an interesting contrast of the death tolls resulting from their wars.

Here’s a rather blunt extract:

A record of conflict: the death toll from wars Britain has fought under three prime ministers:

Tony Blair
71,617 deaths
9 years in power

John Major
22,316 deaths
7 years in power

Margaret Thatcher
1,013 deaths
11 years in power

There’s a breakdown of the various wars to which these figures have been attributed in the article itself.

I’m not sure how accurate or representative these figures are. For instance, I don’t know if the figures for Iraqi causalities in the Gulf War are all of the Iraqi casualties or just those who are the direct result of British participation (though just you would determine such a proportion would make for an interesting essay).

The figures also do not include ‘proxy wars’ where we may have been funding/supporting one side or another, either openly or in a clandestine manner. I suspect more of that will have gone on during the Cold War era (even the Thatcher period) than today.

Nevertheless, it is still telling that whilst Lady Thatcher led Britain to wars that resulted barely 90 deaths per year, Tony Blair has managed almost 8000 per year. Blair’s lethality is a staggering 90 times greater than that of the Iron Lady – and unlike Blair she did, at least, make us feel safer!