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Blairs leave Downing Street after 10 years

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Blairs leave Downing Street after 10 years


This time the page is turned for good. After a decade, the Blairs left Downing Street on Wednesday morning.

Little Leo was born there, the three other children grew up there, and their father became a world leader who will leave his mark in History.

Back in 1997 when they moved into 10 Downing Street, Tony and Cherie Blair were just a young couple with three children – never had the prime ministerial apartments been so busy.

They were young, relaxed and a success. The British were seduced.

It was the dawn of Cool Britania – an era of modernisation for the UK under the leadership of a youthful prime minister.

After Margaret Thatcher and John Major, the contrast couldn’t be more striking.

And the people liked it.

Blair’s personality and attitude provided fertile ground for cartoonists, like David Brown:

“He’s been great to draw. There’s so much you can get hold of in just the visual characterisation. You know, obviously, there’s the teeth, that enormous smile with all those rows of tombstone teeth, and then there’s sort of the mad eyeball.”

At the age of 54, Tony Blair is still relatively young, politically speaking. The same age, in fact, as his former ally Bill Clinton when he left the White House seven years ago.

Many believe Blair will follow in Clinton’s steps, with a career of lucrative public speeches on a variety of topics.

Political analyst Nicholas Jones:

“Tony Blair is very young fo an ex-prime minister in Britain. He has a large family, the family has expensive tastes, I think Mr Blair has pretty expensive tastes too, so there’s no doubt he is going to have to earn money. He’s not going to be able to survive on his parliamentary pension if you like, so yes, I think he is going to be very tempted by offers to talk and to give lectures.”

On Tuesday, for his final press conference, alongside former actor-turned-governor-of-California Arnold Schwarzenegger, Blair turned on the charm one last time:

“My press officer said to me, whatever else you do this morning, don’t say: “I’ll be back”. It will be gravely misinterpreted. Nice to see you all. Bye bye.”

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