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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 18:04 GMT
Your comments
Tony Blair
What do you think Tony Blair will be remembered for? Is he right to think that choice and competition will improve our schools and hospitals? Send us your comments using the form on the right hand side.

Below is a selection of the comments received so far.


Mr Blair's New Labour has been the best Tory Government we have had or likely to have
Paul Gregory, Newcastle under Lyme

He will be remembered as a maniac. Overcrowding not helped by mass immigration, the loss of our culture and the further Americanisation of our media, towns and cities. I totally disagree with allowing big business into schools and hospitals, turning Children in to consumer junkies. Public services do not seem to have improved since privatisation and there is no camaraderie any more. Extortionate house prices, the widening gap between the haves and have nots and an unbelievable subservience to the big companies. This is not England anymore. You have shown us the third way Mr Blair where is the fourth? I would leave if I could.
Robin Middleton, Bridgwater ,Somerset, England

With the Conservatives prepared to support Blair's Educational Reforms goes to prove that Mr Blair's New Labour has been the best Tory Government we have had or likely to have. Tonight's programme could have included a little more detail on aspects of the Bill. The Reform Agenda will cost money to implement so where will this come from! Schools are already making redundancies (teachers & support staff) so too are the Primary Care Trusts and hospitals. To recap, the Blair legacy could be the most successful Conservative Prime Minister in history
Paul Gregory, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire

Tony Blair is right in his belief that the Education system fails too many of the poorest children particularly those from areas of high urban deprivation. However he is fundamentally wrong in his proposed solution, since much of the problem has been caused by the operation of market forces in education which have led to a socially selective hierarchy of schools in many urban areas, which will be further worsened if the Bill becomes law.

In this debate there seems to be a woeful lack of appreciation of the fundamental reality that by far the most significant predictor of a child's future performance is their past performance and most so called "good schools" at secondary level are those who are able to recruit the most promising children at age 11. This, of course leaves the most unpopular schools to deal with the most disadvantaged and often troublesome youngsters - and of course to be castigated as failing schools when a relatively small proportion of these youngsters achieve academic success at 16! Even more diversity and "freedom" for schools and the creation of yet another "brand" of Trust schools at best will at best make no impact on this socially selective hierarchy and may well worsen it.
Lindsay Robertshaw, Oswestry Shropshire

Tony's legacy will be the smoking ban in pubs. next year I'll be able to go in a pub without getting kippered. as for schools it will only improve choice for the wealthy which is deliberate as Tony is a Tory. the sooner labour mps find the courage to sack him the better.
Dave Brown, barton-on-humber ,n. lincs, england

He will be remembered for going to war on false grounds.
Laura J, Milton Keynes

So, at the end of an entire Panorama supposedly devoted to the proposals in the Education Bill I'm still no better informed as to what those proposals actually are. I already knew that some Labour MPs were opposed to the Bill because they feared it would re-introduce selection by ability in state schools. I'm no more the wiser now. While I expect that the advert-supported media will concentrate on personalities and sound-bites to the exclusion of all else, I'd like to believe that I'm paying the BBC to rise above that and tell me about the issues themselves. Planet Earth justifies the licence fee all by itself. Just as well, because on this showing, Panorama certainly doesn't.
Steve Evans, London, UK

No choice & competition will not improve our schools. Those successful schools have supportive parents, governors with local connections and skills that assist the governing body and thus the school. A local education authority that works with the school, links with local employers and sensible communication with all parties in particular , the young people themselves will win the way. We adults would not go anywhere we do not like but we expect our young people to go "where they are told".. Tony Blair will be remembered for his tenacity, common sense and determination to put through reforms, education is a life long activity, our young people will have to find their way in the world on the basis of having a highly skilled economy Tony Blair will be remembered for ensuring this happens. He is a great leader and should stay.
pattie hill, redditch uk

Found the programme very interesting. Forget all the debate on Education and the NHS, I find the fact that Labour Mp's can feel comfortable about stirring the debate on when, or if Tony Blair will stand down as PM. If you don't agree on policy, fine! But when it's obvious that Tony Blair won't get into this debate then I think MPs are doing the public a disservice by allowing themselves to be distracted by the if's and when's of him departing, instead they should be concentrating in assisting him in delivering on the promises the Labour party made at the last election.
Malcolm Montgomery, Glasgow, Scotland

It would appear to me that this government adopts the approach of let's try another idea without properly thinking through the first!
Peter Riches, Brackley, Northants, UK

He will be remembered for going to war on false grounds, and of course he will be judged by the one above, in due course I hope to see him in the Netherlands - for crimes against humanity.
Laura J, Milton Keynes

Tony Blair is the intellectual poodle of the wealthy that are above politics and motivated by profit. Blair and his cronies have been suckered in by them. Another Tony, Tony Benn was vilified by other poodles we call the press however many ordinary people respect the latter Tony for giving up his title and wealth. Education is all about knowledge however Tony's plans for local schools are more about dogma with the inherent danger of employing politically or religious biased teachers.
Frank Woodcock, Rhondda Wales

I find style of these reporting programs unsatisfying. Rather than giving the viewer an insight into the process of decision making or relating a sense of perspective, they focus on trying to "scalp" the subject of the program whilst painting a picture of a falling sky. Is being a "jerk" to interviewees the best way of getting answers and information?
Colin JN Breame, London

Good programme. But I wish that you had explored the urban bias in the proposals as well. Sparsely populated areas do not have the infrastructure to support choice. Also, much more responsibility is being placed upon school governors, who are volunteers recruited to be the critical friends of the school, not the strategic managers.
L W Cornfield, melton mowbray

Competition in our schools and hospitals will not I think improve them for the good of students in our schools or patients in our hospitals.
Steve Fuller, Hove, East Sussex

It would appear to me that the current raft of proposals for the education and NHS sectors arise due to a distinct lack any form of Key Performance Indicators - or KPI's as they are known in the private sector. How do they explain the overspend in the NHS? Why do senior management not have a grasp of what is going on in their particular areas? Why hasn't Gordon Brown ensured that KPI's are in place and monitored? There must be many similar questions in Ruth Kelly's field. Why are schools failing? Is this due to poor leadership at the top of failing schools? What support is provided to a failing school? I could go on , but to put it in a nutshell it would appear to me that this government adopts the approach of let's try another idea without properly thinking through the first! I despair. Peter M Riches
Peter Riches, Brackley, Northants, UK

Forget reforms. This man lied to take this country to war with Iraq alongside Bush for 'glorification' [his new favourite word]. IRAQ alone will be synonymous with Blair's name. He should one day when he can no longer 'fix' reports into the causes of that war have to answer for what he did hopefully at the Hague.
E caldwell, Leven

The education reforms suggested by the labour government, go against all that a labour government stand for. In a world where the gap between rich and poor is increasing, the last think we need is for the rich corporations to become even richer by sponsoring schools and developing a generation of future consumers for their companies? schools sponsored by companies such as Microsoft or even worse McDonalds (with the growing obesity problems in children) is clearly not a good idea!
Laura Devereux, Manchester, England

I think that Tony Blair will be remembered for the very unpopular war with Iraq which will disappoint him. Competition in our schools and hospitals will not I think improve them for the good of students in our schools or patients in our hospitals. He has invested vast amounts of money into both but sadly I do not think that it has gone into the right areas where it is most needed. Tony Blair has made improved public services his main aim and to be his legacy, I think that to achieve this he has a long way to go. Watching the programme tonight, many of his own MPs are far from convinced about what he wants to do and the reforms he plans to make. Yours Sincerely, Steve Fuller.
Steve Fuller, Hove, East Sussex / England

Money being pumped into schools should mean that no school or hospital has problems...but they do...where is the money going!?
Andreas, Birmingham

If we didn't go to war in Iraq Saddam would still be in power thousands of people died in his regime every year of starvation lack of medicinal supplies and disease. Saddam is the only person in modern history to use chemical weapons on a mass scale in order to perpetrate national genocide. If your against the Iraq war you are in effect a supporter of Saddam Husain because he would still be in power today killing thousands of people literally. What in Gods name does Blair's reforms have to do with the Iraq war? The general public couldn't careless about the education reforms it's the Labour party who's kicking up a stink not the public. Being remembered for removing the most notorious dictator of the 21st century is not a bad thing its actually something to be proud of and how he did it is irrelevant.
Robbie, BIF031

Disappointed in programming harping on about a single detail in the Education Bill - LA control. Would have liked more detail e.g. on faith schools. Similarly on health - the huge future cost of PFI projects. Desperately wish there was a strong opposition group to education proposals join
sue jenkins, Telford UK

The market system is fine for markets but the idea that it will provide better social services where co-operation is required, not competition, is silly. A large part of the cost of running a commercial enterprise is the costs involved in keeping accounts and marketing. The NHS and schools can do without these overheads.
Alex Shaw, Stoke on Trent, Staffs

Blair's legacy revolves around the Iraq war. It was this that has made him seem untrustworthy and unbelievable. Anything he does now it treated with caution and people do not believe his motivations behind reforms due to the Iraq war. Had he not gone to war, he may have had a reformist, positive legacy. Instead he will be remembered for the Iraq War and the fact that he could not be trusted afterwards. I don't think competition will improve schools or hospitals, nor do i believe that unlimited choice is the answer either. Money being pumped into schools should mean that no school or hospital has problems...but they do...where is the money going!? Labours policies are not giving us value for money.
Andreas, Birmingham

Blair's legacy? The history books will note his domestic agenda: his incomplete reform of the House of Lords and devolution being the beginning of the end for the "United" Kingdom. Internationally, his support for the US invasion of Iraq may fly back in his face, 15 years from now when he's being jeered on the lecture circuit. Let's wait and see.
Nick, King's Cross

Coming in as Labour PM with an enormous reservoir of goodwill and political capital, and then draining it on foreign policy in an unpopular war instead of the reforms he argued so passionately for.
Wilson, Singapore, Singapore

Nothing he does now can repair that damage
Terry Clark, Southampton
He will be remembered for making the Labour Party "electable" in the eyes of the tabloid press by turning it into a copy of the Tory Party. And for taking Britain into an unnecessary war against the wishes of most of the population. Nothing he does now can repair that damage.
Terry Clark, Southampton UK

Blair's many positive domestic achievements in office will sadly be overshadowed by his disastrous decision on Iraq. That decision, taken in the face of massive public opposition and considerable party and cabinet dissent, will unavoidably be his legacy. A very sad end to the "ethical foreign policy".
Shaun Lott, Auckland, New Zealand

His talk about "choice" and "competition" in schools and hospitals has been shown to be false even before he leaves office, and it will be stealth privatisation of public services. If it gets through Parliament, his legacy will be summed up in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill which will so limit the power of Parliament it may as well be called "Abolition of Parliament Bill". Finally, as with the Tories final years, Blair's time as PM will be remembered for sleaze and unprecedented greed.
Davide Simonetti, London, Uk

Of course choice will improve schools and hospitals, that is a clear no-brainer. However if that choice is limited by the individual's earnings then it is no choice at all. Delivering real choice for all is a huge task for the Government, and unlikely to be achieved in the time Blair has left to him. Competition in the NHS and education sector will probably lead to more closures and unhappier staff, but it may bring better public services in the long run, although most likely only to those who can afford to wait or to pay for it.
Peter Huggins, Wellington, New Zealand

Yes, I think competition and choice produces better economies in general. This goes with more democracy trying to work better. Hence schools and hospitals will get better based on this.
Robert D'Ambrosi, Sydney and Australia

I think it's a mistake to introduce more competition and choice into schools and hospitals
David James, London
I think it's a mistake to introduce more competition and choice into schools and hospitals. All that will happen is that private companies will generate huge profits for themselves, subsidised by the tax payer. Personally speaking, I will remember Tony Blair for having the courage of his convictions and doing what he believes to be right. I didn't vote for him but I do respect him for that. I just wish he'd done more to tackle extremism and immigration.
David James, Hammersmith, London

For introducing the New Deal and other members to combat the massive unemployment of the Tory Government. The knock on effect of getting these people back to work has strengthened our economy, and has freed up money to be spent on public services. The massive reduction in waiting lists on the NHS is another key area of improvement. The public have clearly forgotten how bad it was under the Tories!
Jonathan Roberts, Thirsk, North Yorkshire

He will be remembered for increasing the number of public sector workers but not improving hospitals or schools. He will be remembered for higher taxes without any benefits for the increased tax. He will be remembered for introducing benefits to every area of society, and creating a benefit junkie country. But best of all, a few years after he has gone he will be forgotten - he has not achieved anything that has improved the lives of those with this country and therefore he has no legacy.
Ian, milton keynes

There is not actually much choice in choosing the school your children attends because all the best ones will be over subscribed and it will either be first come first served or it will be about ability.
pat , oxford

Britain is now an immensely nicer and fairer country to live in than when he took office
Sanjay Sen, Twickenham
Nobody can take away from Tony Blair what his government has achieved since 1997. Iraq was a slip, yes, but when the reasons behind why he went to war come to be analysed in later years, he will be forgiven. Britain is now an immensely nicer and fairer country to live in than when he took office. Social fairness has been buttressed by economic success over the same period. No mean achievement for any Prime Minister! Ten more years please!
Sanjay Sen, Twickenham, UK

Tony Blair will be remembered for leading a Government that lies as a matter of policy, that tries to take the credit for everything but responsibility for nothing and that has wasted billions of pounds of tax-payer's money on bureaucracy and an obsession with targets. A Government that, when unpopular, does not re-think it's policies but only how to present them differently.
Chris Harper, London, England

Corruption, destruction of English way of life, Iraq, lying spin, destruction of parliament. Twenty-four hours to save the NHS, what a joke. Nine years and counting. Choice will improve schools and the NHS. What about competition and the lowering of standards in schools. The three R's are yet another joke.
keith wain, leeds

Amid the unforeseen chaos of Iraq it is right to remember the good Blair's government has done, and dispel the stupid idea this is just a Tory Government. The minimum wage, Sure Start, and massive investment in (and reform of) public services are all leftish ideas of social justice, not Tory ones.
Andrew, Liverpool

Despite extra monies being allocated to the national health and education the results have been disappointing and I doubt if market reforms will improve matters. TB will, sadly, be remembered for sucking up to Bush and taking us into a war without thinking through the consequences.
David Rhys, Budleigh Salterton, Devon

We will come to realise that he turned a golden legacy into a black hole into which we will be pouring money for many years to come
Jonathan, Slough
As PM he has overseen the cash strapped pensions industry pillaged by the man he expects to succeed him. He has overseen a staggering decline in efficiency in what was already a poor public service. In '97 the NHS was, at last, beginning to catch up with the late 20th century. The first thing Blair did was destroy this progress and then pour money into the pockets of GPs and Consultants whilst the organisation fell apart with ill thought-out policies being thrown at the administrators every other week. We will look back on Blair as the most destructive PM of all time. We will come to realise that he turned a golden legacy into a black hole into which we will be pouring money for many years to come - and still have nothing to show for it.
Jonathan, Slough, UK

On Education, his reforms are pitifully timid. The proposal to get rid of Grammar schools and prevent selection, condemns bright students to a dim future in a failing system. This superficial, glib and worthless set of reforms paraded as the triumph of strongly held convictions are perhaps the perfect legacy for this Prime Minister.
PM, Washington, DC

His dabbling in health and education are not particularly radical (to anybody outside of the Westminster village, that is) and desperately uninteresting. If he stopped yammering and spinning and actually made something happen then perhaps he can change his legacy...but it'll be a tough call, even for one with such well developed skills in fact-manipulation and woolly-thinking.
Adam Crute, Trowbridge, UK

Tony Blair will be remembered as the Prime Minister who destroyed public services with privatisation. That is a legacy that will affect my children and their children and for which they will both be paying for years to come. If Margaret Thatcher is remembered for the Falklands War, for popularising greed and for destroying British industry, Tony Blair will be remembered for Iraq, selling the soul of the Labour party and destroying public services. Not much to choose between them!
K Kilcoyne, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

I agree with the anti-Blair comments. Those people who are pro-Blair must be seeing a different country to the one I see. Blair and his Ministers are having a laugh at our expense. All this rushed through stuff at the end won't make up for the years of neglect of domestic policies. A lot of it is cosmetic and not thought through, like a lot of New Labour's actions.
June Gibson, London, U.K.



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