There were smiles and congratulations for the British Prime Minister, as Northern Ireland’s power- sharing government was sworn in. The province is entering a new era after decades of bloodshed and political stalemate.
But will it be the Tony Blair’s swansong?
“Well, certainly, for ten years, it has been one of those things I’ve spent most time on, I guess. I would say it is for other people to judge these things, but I think if I look at the ratio of time spent, I mean, this must have taken as much intensive amounts of my time as anything I have dealt with,” he said during an interview.
Finance Minister Gordon Brown is waiting unchallenged in the wings. But the Prime Minister remains coy about when he will go. Despite the setbacks, Blair has shown vision, patience and perseverance over Northern Ireland, despite little evidence of political capital. With Iraq threatening to cast a long shadow over his legacy, he may be justifiably proud of his place in the history of the province.