Simon Jenkins - An 'ism' needs a coherent set of ideas
We are to be overwhelmed. A tidal wave of epitaphs, eulogies and obsequies of Tony Blair is upon us. His era will crave definition. The flesh must be made word, and the word is Blairism. Already it is creeping into the columns of this paper. It hangs on the lips of friend and foe alike.
Let us get one thing straight. Blairism does not exist and never has. It is all froth and miasma. It consists of throwing a packet of words such as change, community, renewal, partnership, social and reform into the air and watching them twinkle to the ground like blossom until the body politic is carpeted with sweet-smelling bloom. An -ism implies a coherent set of ideas, an ideology capable of driving a programme in a particular direction. In plumbing the shallows of Blair's ideas, even his guru, Raymond Plant, was reduced to taking refuge in Daniel Bell's End of Ideology.
Like most British prime ministers - whatever they proclaim - Blair in office has taken things as he found them, tootling along until the dying fall of his departure.