Stepping down with a smile, Tony Blair cracked jokes on his last full day as Britain’s Prime Minister. Meeting California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, he evoked the catchphrase from the “Terminator” films. “My press office said to me, ‘Whatever else you do this morning, don’t say ‘I will be back.’ It could be greatly misinterpreted,” Blair laughed.
Blair leaves office after 10 years as Britain’s Prime Minister but all the indications are that he is in for a pretty active retirement. No stranger to Middle East diplomacy, it is widely expected he will be named as a special envoy to the region for the Quartet of international peace brokers – the US, the EU, the United Nations and Russia.
It is a decade since a 43-year-old Tony Blair came to power as Britain’s youngest prime minister in nearly 200 years. Always a firm ally of the Americans, Blair’s relationship with Washington deepened in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001. His decision to send British troops into Iraq two years later however severely dented his domestic popularity and the new man in 10 Downing Street, ex-Finance Minister Gordon Brown, inherits a Labour government trailing in many polls.