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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2007, 11:58 GMT
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On Sunday 18 February 2007, Andrew Marr interviewed The Prime Minister - facing his last few months in power.

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

Tony Blair MP
The Prime Minister - facing his last few months in power

ANDREW MARR: Now, is the Prime Minister tidying up, putting his affairs in order, ready to pass on the baton in a few weeks' time?

There's not an awful lot of evidence of that at the moment, initiative, speeches, announcements still coming thick and fast.

It's more like the tailor of Gloucester toiling feverously through the night and muttering "so little time, so little time".

Prime Minister, welcome.

TONY BLAIR: Thank you.

ANDREW MARR: Thank you for coming in this morning. Let's start off shall we with the story of the moment which is the gun crime, a series of incidents.

Now you've said this is not a metaphor for Britain generally. But clearly you're worried enough about it to have a summit coming up next week.

Can you talk us through what you think the real problem is, and what can be done about it.

TONY BLAIR: Yes, I think, first of all you've got to analyse what is going wrong here. Is it a general state of British society, British young people? And I think it isn't. It is about a specific problem with, in a specific criminal culture to do with guns and gangs which doesn't make it any less serious incidentally, but I think it's important therefore that we address that actual issue.

How do we make sure that these groups of young people within these specific criminal cultures, who are getting into gangs at an early age and using guns - how do we clamp down on them very hard and provide solutions for that.

And the reason for having the meeting is not just to have a general brainstorm but actually to assess the proposals that the Metropolitan Police and others are putting forward to us in order to let us deal with this matter.

ANDREW MARR: And what are the kinds of things that you think might help?

TONY BLAIR: I think that first of all there's a real problem. Because, let's put the good news on the table - gun crime is down overall in the past year, down specifically in London. Crime overall is down.

Violent crime is down, even, in London. But there is a particular problem which is that the minimum five-year sentence that we have introduced for illegal possession of a firearm does not apply to those under the age of 21. And we've got to lower that age, I think, as the police are suggesting, down to the age of 17.

We've also got to make sure, I think their proposal to make membership of a gang an aggravating factor in the sentence is a correct thing to do. I also think it's important that we, as we have actually already introduced, but we make sure this is used, if people give evidence against those who are in gangs, then they can be given proper protection under the law.

ANDREW MARR: There's talk in some of the papers about a New York-style law which allows the police to mount surveillance on the private homes of people suspected of having guns, or indeed trading in them.

TONY BLAIR: I think that's sensible as well. But, I mean, let's go through it with them and talk about it with them because sometimes what people say is, well you've had all this legislation and now you want to introduce even more legislation.

But I think it's important to realise that gun crime started to come down when we introduced the tougher measures, so they did have an impact, but they don't apply to these younger groups of people. And in addition to that I should say this April, May, the provision that we've already legislated for which is to make minding a gun or a weapon for somebody else a specific ...

ANDREW MARR: ...crime as well.

TONY BLAIR: Yeah, and getting someone to mind your weapon or gun, that being a specific offence, that's coming in to effect in May. And that will also have an impact.

ANDREW MARR: And you're satisfied that this isn't simply a series of appalling coincidental incidents which produce headlines which produce a knee-jerk response?

TONY BLAIR: No, I mean I think there's always the danger of that and you've got to guard against it. And as I say, that's why it's important to point out that overall there's some good news on crime and in particular gun crime. However, I think if you talk to the police they'd tell you that there's been a worrying rise in the number of young people involved in gangs.

These gangs are increasingly using firearms and as cities in the United States and elsewhere in Europe have had to cope with this same type of phenomenon within specific criminal cultures frankly, in specific parts of cities.

ANDREW MARR: But you are talking about introducing legislation very, very quickly in response to the, you can see why people say it's knee jerk.

TONY BLAIR: Yes, but I think that, you know, if you go back over these last few years there's a certain piece of legislation we've already introduced that we're building on. So we made it, for example, a specific offence to be.

ANDREW MARR: So this goes back a bit?

TONY BLAIR: Yes, and also, you know, I think that one of the things that sometimes bewilders people about this is they say well, look, you've had all this legislation and yet there's still crime.

And I think the most important thing is to emphasise that the nature of crime in our society today is constantly changing, and it's the same with all modern developed societies. So, for example...

ANDREW MARR: You're never on top of it?

TONY BLAIR: Well, 15 years ago you wouldn't have had anti-social behaviour legislation. Today, people may criticise aspects of it but there are communities that have been transformed through its introduction.

ANDREW MARR: Right.

TONY BLAIR: So you've got to carry this on. Now, at the same time incidentally, of course there are deep-rooted social causes which is the reason for Sure Start, and inner city regeneration programmes, and extra investment in schools and so on.

ANDREW MARR: Well, let's let's widen this out a little bit. The UNICEF report on the condition of children in this country painted a very, very bleak view. Now I understand there's arguments about the methods and, you know, and the statistics and all the rest of it.

TONY BLAIR: Well there certainly are.

ANDREW MARR: Well, we can expand on that in a moment. But for an awful lot of people there was a fundamental sort of truth painted in it, in that we have become a richer society in the Tony Blair years, but we have in many ways become a more worried, anxious and unhappy society when it comes to family breakdown, when it comes to children drinking, using cigarettes, using drugs, using alcohol earlier and earlier. There's a dark side as well?

TONY BLAIR: Yes. I mean, look, the real problem with the UNICEF report is that much of its data was taken from reports written in the year 2000 which themselves were a reflection of what was happening in the 1990s.

So, the understandable concern of ourselves in government was that we of course have taken a vast number of measures, I mean huge increases in child benefit, in tax credits and working families' tax credits and the minimum wage, in massive investment in the public realm.

And of course as I think to be fair, the authors of the report pointed out over the past few years, there've been hundreds of thousands of children lifted out of poverty. Indeed a halving of the absolute poverty rate. I think the only reason I say you've got to be careful of this is that I think this situation is actually more complicated than people think it is. And the difficulty with the report...

ANDREW MARR: In what way?

TONY BLAIR: Well, you see, if you actually look at the report what they did was, for example when they judged the material wellbeing of children in Britain, they actually measured relative poverty for a specific minority of children in Britain.

And then to extrapolate that for the material wellbeing of children in Britain as a whole I think is rather dangerous. Now I'm not saying that inequality shouldn't be dealt with, it should. And that's the reason...

ANDREW MARR: It has risen, it has risen...

TONY BLAIR: Well...

ANDREW MARR: ...under your watch.

TONY BLAIR: Well it hasn't actually. I mean...

ANDREW MARR: The overall inequality in this country has risen.

TONY BLAIR: Well it depends how you measure it. But if you measure it by the numbers of children lifted out of relative poverty, not just absolute poverty, relative poverty,.

ANDREW MARR: No, but I'm talking about inequality across society, it has grown.

TONY BLAIR: Yeah, but that's...

ANDREW MARR: ...it has grown.

TONY BLAIR: Well... I'm disputing that actually.

ANDREW MARR: Large number of people now would agree with somebody like Peter Hain who said the people right at the top are getting too much, that these city bonuses are wrong and that the government should have done something about it.

TONY BLAIR: Well we can come to that in a moment. But if you look at what's happened to Britain over the past ten years I would strongly dispute the fact that we are a less fair society. I mean child poverty had been rising expediently in the years we came to power.

We have now put it in the opposite direction. And as I say, if you look at absolute poverty amongst children it's half. Now the point that I'm simply making is that - I don't say we don't have to carry on doing all of this, but you've got to be careful when you read these sort of, you know, so-called shock reports of the numbers...

There was an article in the papers today about, you know, 12-year-olds becoming alcoholics. Look, there are real problems, I think, to do with the specific minority of children that are getting left behind by the ordinary, you know, general policy. And that I think is a very specific problem. What I think is untrue is to say that the whole of British society has got young people...

ANDREW MARR: So, when David Cameron says that this is really a moment when we have to choose as a society when we have to end the situation where adults are behaving like children, and children are behaving like adults, it's a real wake-up call. You don't agree with that?

TONY BLAIR: Well...

ANDREW MARR: A lot of people out there do.

TONY BLAIR: Well, I wonder if they do, you know. I wonder if they look at their own children and, you know, I meet lots of young people going round in different parts of the country. I was just up at my own Young Labour Conference the other day, and leave aside the politics of it, I thought they were a good deal more committed, more respectful than probably my generation was. And I think sometimes we get into a situation where you've got a minority of youngsters who are causing a real problem. And I'm not saying it's any... you don't have to deal with that... you do, and I'll come to the very ways that we deal with it in a moment.

But I think to draw out of that and say, you know, as with this issue to do with gun crime, you've got young people in Britain today are out of control, they're, you know, all engaged in anti-social behaviour or, I actually find when you meet young people today they're, I would say, you know, rather more responsible, often more serious-minded than I remember youngsters in my day. And so, I just think because otherwise you end up, and after all we're a government that after years in which equality in society had grown significantly, have actually done something about child poverty.

So, you know, that is an extremely important part of what we've got to do in the future. But my own view of this is, and this is in a sense what I've learnt trying to deal with this in ten years of being Prime Minister, is that the real problem is there are groups of children, a small minority, who often come from highly dysfunctional families, living in a culture where often the worthless (workless??) families, you know, either pass from one generation to another generation. And I actually think you need specific policies targeted on those and so.

ANDREW MARR: OK.

TONY BLAIR: You know, when David Cameron's talking about sort of, you know, tax breaks for married couples.

ANDREW MARR: He just sounds very like you sounded back in the days of the, you know, the Bulger events and when you were a, you know, a young fresh-faced opposition spokesman. I mean, he sounds exactly like you.

TONY BLAIR: Well...

ANDREW MARR: And you've been in power for ten years!

TONY BLAIR: Yeah. But, there's a lot that's happened in those ten years, that's my point.

ANDREW MARR: All right.

TONY BLAIR: That's my point.

ANDREW MARR: Let me ask...

TONY BLAIR: But the question is now is it enough simply to say, well look if you have, you know, even, you know, greater amounts of for example money given through the tax credit system, are you actually going to get to those families? And my view increasingly is that if you analyse this problem it is a problem of families who need to be put in, with very early intervention, in a structured framework where you are making sure that the children in those situations get looked after from a very, very early age.

ANDREW MARR: Talking about your legacy, this word. You've used the phrase that you want to see bolted down before you go. Who are you trying to bolt it down from? It sounds like there's a sort of hurricane coming and you have to hammer the furniture down...it's not Hurricane Gordon, or Hurricane Cameron or what?

TONY BLAIR: Absolutely not. It's just that, you know, when you've been working on something as we have been, for example, the City Academy programme in schools or Health Service reform. I mean, you know we're introducing new measures now that will get us to this, I mean effectively to the end of waiting within the National Health Service.

ANDREW MARR: But who is, who is the threat to this?

TONY BLAIR: But... I'm not saying there's a threat to it, but this is something that I have personally been heavily engaged in over the past few years and I'd like to, you know, to have the framework set in place before I go.

ANDREW MARR: People say you're finding it quite emotionally difficult to kind of contemplate going. That you're still, you know, so involved in the job that it's a kind of...

TONY BLAIR: Like who says? The newspapers you mean?

ANDREW MARR: Well, I read it by apparently well-informed people that it's difficult for you, after all this time, to start to imagine that you're disengaging from the job.

TONY BLAIR: There's absolutely nobody who knows me well who would say that. Because it's just not true. I am...

ANDREW MARR: But you are planning for the post...

TONY BLAIR: The point of it is that, you know, I've said that I'm going. And I'm the first Prime Minister who's said that. You know, I'm happy to go. But until you go you do the job because otherwise you're not just doing what you were put there to do. And so when people say, and you did at the introduction of this, well, you know, we're going flat out working all the time, and that's what you should do until you go.

ANDREW MARR: Mmm.

TONY BLAIR: You shouldn't end up sort of, I mean if I was sitting there sort of twiddling my thumbs and thinking, well, you know, what am I going to be doing in a few months' time, that would be...

ANDREW MARR: I mean there are people that say that the result of this is a kind of displacement activity, that you know, you're firing out initiatives and speeches and all the rest of it, but the rest of Whitehall is thinking yeah, but he's not going to be there for very long so let's wait and see what Gordon Brown is going to do with this kind of stuff. And that therefore, although there's a great apparently activity on the surface, below Whitehall has kind of ground to a halt.

TONY BLAIR: Yes, but it's just not true. I mean, that is what people would love to write, and what they want to do is to say, oh well the government's paralysed...

ANDREW MARR: I hear it from Ministers who are worried that their own Civil Servants aren't properly engaging

TONY BLAIR: Well every time you look into that it just doesn't appear to be correct. And if you look at what we've done over the past few months. I mean you've got the biggest pensions reform going through now, probably since the war, in terms of the basic State pension and then the new savings accounts.

You've got obviously the Climate Change Bill just coming up, and the Energy White Paper and nuclear powers which for all the court decisions the other day will go forward. You've got major welfare report proposals being published in the next few weeks. You've got the National Health Service and the Academy programmes. So, these things are happening.

ANDREW MARR: But because the transition is also happening let's be clear. You are absolutely confident that whoever takes over as Prime Minister in a few weeks', or months' time, is going to carry on in the same way that you have been doing?

TONY BLAIR: I'm absolutely confident that the programmes we've put in place will be continued. But then of course it's for the new Prime Minister to strike up in the directions that he thinks fit. So, you know, it's not a question of saying, you know, I want to sort of put in place something that...

ANDREW MARR: Bold Labour, not old Labour - good slogan!

TONY BLAIR: Yeah, absolutely!

ANDREW MARR: David Milliband slogan, I mean, would you like to see him standing?

TONY BLAIR: I've got absolutely nothing to say on the leadership issue. I'll say it when there's a vacancy.

ANDREW MARR: When there's a vacancy - all right. And you're not going to tell us when that vacancy is quite yet?

TONY BLAIR: Correct.

ANDREW MARR: All right. A lot of people when looking at your legacy would say there is only one part that sort of overwhelms everything else, which is Iraq.

Now, the papers, the stories in the papers this morning again saying that within the next few weeks or so you plan to announce a major scaling down of our operations in Basra, that one of the mechanised brigades won't be going out there and that the net effect will be more or less halving the number of troops out there, and Britain will withdraw to the single base outside Basra. Is that true?

TONY BLAIR: Well just be very careful on that. I mean it is absolutely true, as we've said for months, that as the Iraqis are more capable down in Basra of taking control of their own security, we will scale down. But you've got to make sure that you have sufficient forces in support and in reserve to be able to help the Iraqis if a particular problem arises. So, you know...

ANDREW MARR: That sounds like yes, if I may say so?

TONY BLAIR: Well, it sounds like exactly what we've been saying all the way through, which is that you are able to scale down as the Iraqi capability, and remember we've been doing this...

ANDREW MARR: But we can look forward to an announcement about this shortly?

TONY BLAIR: Well, this is wait and see. But the point that I'm making is that, that the issue is the operation that we've been conducting in Basra is now complete. And that operation has specifically been to put the Iraqi forces in the main frontline control of security within the city.

And it's actually been successful as an operation. And as a result of that there's reconstruction that's come in behind it, and we've been able to make real progress. Now, we've always said that as that happens...

ANDREW MARR: You'll pull troops, and there's no worry...

TONY BLAIR: As they scale up we can scale back.

ANDREW MARR: Because the Americans are doing the opposite of course in Baghdad. They're pouring troops in in this surge. It seems like a mixed message - are the Americans from what you know entirely happy about what we're announcing of taking them out?

TONY BLAIR: Yes, because they're completely different situations.

ANDREW MARR: OK.

TONY BLAIR: In Baghdad you have three...

ANDREW MARR: And you're not coming under pressure from Washington to keep more troops there than you'd like to?

TONY BLAIR: No, we're not, because the Americans want the same as we want, which is, as the Iraqi capability is able to take on more of the security then we scale back, that's always been the situation. But in Baghdad you've got the Sunni insurgency, the Al Qaeda suicide bombing and this sectarian violence which in Basra has come down enormously now. And we don't have the Sunni insurgency or the Al Qaeda problem.

So, it's a different situation in Basra and interestingly, the latest reports coming out of Basra are that we've actually managed now to reduce, for example, the murder rate down to, I think, 30 in December which is a very, very significant reduction. And as we go through the city and we're able to put in reconstruction money and development the money there's a lot of changes going on there. Now it'll still be a tough thing to do.

ANDREW MARR: Mmm.

TONY BLAIR: And the Iraqi forces will be taking on these extremists for a long time to come. But on the other hand there is real progress there and we don't want to get in the way of that progress.

ANDREW MARR: Move a bit north and it's still an absolute nightmare. Huge numbers of people fleeing, huge number of people being horrifically killed.

The charge against you in the run-up to the Iraq war is that, there were two things that you had to get from George Bush, agreement to go through the United Nations, which worked. But also an absolutely clear, well thought through plan for after the war. And you've got the first and you've failed to get the second.

TONY BLAIR: Yes. But let me just put one major caveat on this, there's, I think there will be all sorts of arguments in the future about, you know, the planning for the war and so on.

ANDREW MARR: Rightly so.

TONY BLAIR: Of course. But the reason we have a problem in Iraq is not because of some planning error. The reason we have a problem in Iraq is that you have elements, extreme elements who aren't representative, actually either of the Sunni community or the Shia community, let alone the Kurdish community...

ANDREW MARR: Though ranging across a terrain you created and put in place.

TONY BLAIR: The fact that you remove an horrific dictator, you put in place the United Nations-backed political process, and these extremist groups try to disrupt it, does not mean that you should give in to them by saying, OK, if you're prepared to use terrorism and suicide bombs, and sectarian killing to try and destroy progress in Iraq, we're going to let you get on with it.

ANDREW MARR: But the terrain on which these terrible events are being played out was one that was created in part by yourself.

TONY BLAIR: Well when you say created...

ANDREW MARR: We went in, we you know, we changed the order in Iraq and we have some responsibility in the country for the terrible things that have happened since.

TONY BLAIR: We've got absolute responsibility to put these things right. What I completely dispute is that the reason that Iraq has got the difficulties it has, and 80-90% of the violence is actually round Baghdad, is simply because of issues to do with planning before the war.

ANDREW MARR: Well...

TONY BLAIR: Well hang on, there is another point of view in this. The reason why we have a problem is that you have internal extremists backed by external extremists giving us the problem. Now, the question is, in those circumstances where these people are committing horrific acts of violence, what should our response be? To walk away and let them get on with it?

ANDREW MARR: No. But what I'm putting to you is why are they there in the first place, how did they get in there, and how did this situation create, before the war the Foreign Office, State Department, lots of outside bodies were saying it's a very, very complicated dangerous situation.

You know we mustn't de-Ba'athify the country too much, be very, very about the security, we must be very, very careful about the political structure. We should have a government. Now none of these things happened. And what I'm asking you is why?

TONY BLAIR: But hang on. You say none of things happened. There is a big argument about de-Ba'athification. It's absolutely true and I'll just point out at the time there would have been a huge backlash from the Shia population if you left all the senior Ba'ath figures in place.

But there is a debate about de-Ba'athification and the disbandment of the army, could you have done it differently, and so on. It's not the principal reason you have the problem. The principal reason you have the problem - you take down in Basra, it's nothing to do with de-Ba'athification, or the disbandment of the military.

It's to do with Shia extremists who aren't representative of the general population, backed by certain Iranian elements who are trying to give a problem to the city and prevent it making progress. And my point is very simple - in those circumstances surely our task is to stand with the majority who want a democracy, leave aside whether you agree with the invasion or conflict, or not. Is to stand with the majority against the minority of extremists.

ANDREW MARR: I think what a lot of people don't understand, and what makes them upset, is that given the number of people who have died since the conflict, you never seem to be sorry about it, you never seem to apologise for anything. You say it's this new group, it's that new group, this is the situation now, this is what.... There's no sense that something awful went wrong.

TONY BLAIR: Hang on a minute. Of course I'm, I am devastated by the numbers of people who have died in Iraq but it's not British and American soldiers, Andrew, that's killing them. They're being killed by people who are deliberately using terrorism to try to stop the country getting on its feet. So, our response should not be to walk away and let them do it.

ANDREW MARR: You yourself feel at some level culpable for some of it?

TONY BLAIR: It's not a question of being culpable, of course I feel a deep sense of responsibility for putting the situation right. But you're putting it to me as if the reason why there is this problem in Iraq is because of British and American soldiers - it's not. The reason there is a problem is because of those people who are using terrorism in order to prevent a proper UN-backed, democratic process working there.

I understand what you're saying and I understand why you feel so strongly in the way that you do. But there is another argument. And the other argument is that when these people, as in Afghanistan where exactly the same thing is happening, when the Taliban tried to come back in Afghanistan, yes you can say, you created the circumstances ...

ANDREW MARR: I must take you on to one other issue before we wrap up, which is, arguably bigger than this even, which is climate change. Now, there have been reports that you see a moment of opportunity on climate change, that the mood is changing in America, that the Indians and the Chinese need to be brought on board. You've worked with a body that was set up in the wake of Gleneagles and the G8, and this is one of the great tasks that you think that you can achieve post number ten, bringing people together, is that true?

TONY BLAIR: Well I'd certainly like to carry on working on it even after leaving office. But I think actually it's now that the real opportunity is there because I think there is a real change of mood in America. For reasons of energy security as well as climate change, people know we've got to act. And I think there is a real chance of getting outline agreement this year at the G8, to a proper stabilisation goal.

ANDREW MARR: This is the June meeting?

TONY BLAIR: Yeah. But a proper stabilisation goal for the climate, a framework within which we set a carbon price because that's the essential thing to insensitise business and industry in countries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel.

And then also, which is vital for China and India, technology transfer, because as you develop the new technologies these countries like China and India that are going to grow, you know, enormously over the next few years, and are going to dwarf anything that we produce in this country, they've got to be part of a deal.

So the whole idea is to create circumstances which American, China and India are part of a new deal so that once the Kyoto Treaty expires you've then got something that can unite the international community,.

ANDREW MARR: And you have unparallel contacts in American politics and around the world. Is this the kind of thing that you can do after No. 10? Presumably you'll go out and make lots and lots of speeches, you'll make lots of money and so on. But presumably you also want something that's going to be, have a slightly higher cause than...

TONY BLAIR: Of course I want to do, you know, fortunately or unfortunately I will leave office early enough to do something more with my life. So, yes of course, I want to have something that's got a real purpose to it, and climate change is certainly something that I'm interested in, there are many other things too.

But I think that now is the chance when we, I just think because of the problems to do with energy security coming at the same time as the worry over climate change you've got a real chance of making a big difference in the situation. And now is the moment.

ANDREW MARR: Crucial moment. And, as we said, that culminates in June. Let me ask just about a couple of smaller domestic stories at the moment. Did you know about Lord Goldsmith's affair, and did that in any way affect your relationship with him when he was giving you advice about the Iraq war?

TONY BLAIR: No I didn't. And no it wouldn't have.

ANDREW MARR: And therefore it wouldn't have?

TONY BLAIR: No.

ANDREW MARR: OK.

TONY BLAIR: But incidentally he does a fantastic job as the Attorney General, and someone you know we're very lucky to have in government.

ANDREW MARR: And finally, what are the big jobs you think that are going to be left for your successor, domestically, we've talked about Iraq and climate change?

TONY BLAIR: It's, the big jobs are there the whole time. I mean, each almost year, never mind each generation of politicians, finds a great new lot of causes that are there. I mean there are whole issues to do with international terrorism, there's the public service questions I think in education, there's still a long way to go though we've made enormous progress.

But particularly in vocational education and skills, I think how Britain having been, you know, very strong economy in the last ten years, becomes still competitive for the next ten is a major, major question. So, there's never any shortage of things to do in the job, that's for sure.

ANDREW MARR: And are you worried about some of the economic trends at the moment, I mean inflation is up, mortgage rates are up, unemployment is getting quite high again. Do you think it's time for sort of a retrenchment, maybe tax-cutting?

TONY BLAIR: No, I think the interesting thing is that when people talk about the economic issues, actually inflation has not gone about the 3%. Unemployment in fact has started to fall again and, OK, it's slightly up in the last year on the claimant count, but not much.

And we talk about interest rate rises, these are a quarter of a per cent, and we've had a couple of interest rate rises. Now I'm not saying this isn't a problem for people, and it is a problem. But just think now to those issues as it were, and measure it back 10-15 years when interest rates were at 10% for four years. I think our record for the last few years has been amazing.

ANDREW MARR: And in this new world where sort of we read two million people are going to be protesting about road pricing and so on, this E-petition, you are still convinced that this kind of mass petition which is causing a great deal of irritation to some of your Ministers, is one of the ways forward?

TONY BLAIR: Well I would say to them, look, the fact that people haven't got the means of articulating their view doesn't mean to say they don't have a view. So you might as well find out and then have a debate about it.

I mean I was just able on Friday, on identity cards, to send an email back which can reach the thousands of people who've petitioned against identity cards, just saying, hang on, some of the facts you've got wrong and here are the actual facts, here's the other side of the argument.

ANDREW MARR: So you can have a debate.

TONY BLAIR: It's the way the world is today, and it's a perfectly good thing, if the technology's there use it.

ANDREW MARR: OK, well the technology has been here to thank you for using it Prime Minister.

INTERVIEW ENDS


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy


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