Tony Blair/Catalogs

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An informational catalog, or several catalogs, about Tony Blair.


(the notes are biographical only in respect of their subjects' associations with Tony Blair)

Ahern, Bertie

Three times Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland 1997-2008 Joint patron of the Northern Ireland peace process.

Blair, Cherie

Born 1954, daughter of actor Tony Booth. A devout Roman Catholic. Joined the Labour Party in the sixth form of a convent school. Joined the London School of Economics with a scholarship in 1972, and obtained a first class honours degree in law as top of her year in 1975. Passed Bar finals in 1976 and became a pupil of Derry Irvine (along with Tony Blair). Married to Tony Blair in March 1980. A successful barrister, she was appointed "Queens Councellor" (the top rank of the English bar) in 1995.

Campbell, Alastair

Journalist and communications specialist. Political editor Daily Mirror, 1989-93. Spokesman for TB 1994-2003. Author The Blair Years, 2007. Described as - [among] "those whose craziness lends them creativity, strength, ingenuity and nerve" - and : (in the early years) "... he was indispensable, irreplaceable, almost an alter ego" - Tony Blair[1]. "Campbell's exuberant personality was the most powerful force in Number 10 from 1997 to 2003" Anthony Seldon [2].

Cook, Robin

Politician. Foreign Secretary 1971-2001, Leader of the House of Commons 2001-2003. Resigned over Iraq 2003[3]

Falconer, Charles

Barrister. TB's childhood friend and his flatmate. Lord Chancellor 2003-07.

Gould, Phillip

Political adviser to Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair. Used focus groups to provide them with advice about what the public was thinking [4]. "Phillip was a fantastic support, at times as crucial as a morale enthuser as he was as a political strategist" - Tony Blair[5].

Hunter, Anji

Childhood friend and Labour party supporter. TB's personal assistant, adviser and office manager 1992-2001. Developed TB's confidence, especially in the period before he became party leader[6]

Irvine, Derry

Lawyer. Tony Blair's law tutor 1976-77 "Derry taught me how to think"[7]. "He has a brain the size of a planet" (Tony Blair, quoted by Anthony Seldon)[8]. Lord Chancellor 1997-2003.

Jenkins, Roy

Former politician. Co-founder of the Social Democratic Party (that was later to merge with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democratic Party) who had retired from active politics in 1987. Acted as TB's mentor on economic policy during the period 1995-98[9].

Kinnock, Neil

Politician. Leader of the Labour Party 1983-92 whose reforms had been "seminal in bringing Labour to power"[10] but who TB considered to be unelectable. Patron to TB during his early parliamentary career [11].

Major, John

Conservative Member of Parliament. Former Prime Minister (1990- 1997} - originator of the Northern Ireland peace process as Prime Minister, and subsequently a supporter of Tony Blair's peace negotiations there[1].

Mandelson, Peter

Neil Kinnock's Director of Communications. Originator with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of "New Labour". Labour MP and Cabinet Minister. Author The Third Man[12]. "He was my close friend and ally... Peter could tell you not merely what people were thinking today, but what they will think tomorrow" - Tony Blair[13].

Milliband, David

Political advisor. TB's Head of Policy 1994-1997. Head of Policy Unit 1997-2001.

Mitchell, George

United States Senator. Northern Ireland negotiator for John Major and Tony Blair.

Morgan, Sally

Political advisor. TB's Political Secretary 1997-2001 and Director of Political and Government Relations, 2001-2005.

Powell, Jonathan

TB's Chief of Staff 1997-2007. The person with whom TB could talk about policy throughout the day[14].

Prescott, John

Trade union official turned politician. ""Old Labour". Deputy Prime Minister 1997-2007. Kept TB aware of the views of the party and the trade unions[15].

Smith, John

Tony Blair's predecessor as leader of the Labour Party from 1992 until his sudden and premature death in 1994. He continued the process of policy reform started by Neil Kinnock, although more cautiously than advocated by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Thomson, Peter

Australian Anglican priest. Born 1936. "He changed my life ... he was my friend, teacher and mentor ... I never met a greater man than Peter" (Tony Blair) [16] "A mixture of missionary and rock star ... he, more than anyone, explains Blair" (as quoted by Seldon)[17].

The machinery of government

(describes the machinery of government as it was between 1997 and 2007 and does not reflect subsequent changes)

Attorney General

The Government's principal legal advisor.


Assembly of the Secretaries of States (heads) of the major government departments, chaired by the Prime Minister, and formerly (pre 1979) the Government's senior decision-making body. Membership of the Cabinet is determined by the Prime Minister. There is a tradition of collective responsibility for a cabinet's decisions, and members who find themselves unable to defend its decisions are expected to resign.

Cabinet Office

Committee consisting of the Permanent Secretaries (top civil servants) of the major government departments, the functions of which are to brief the cabinet and coordinate the execution of its decisions[2].

Cabinet Secretary

The head of the civil service and constitutionally the link between the Prime Minister and the civil service machine. .

Civil Service

Long-term government employees, each of whom is assigned to a government department and is responsible only to the Secretary of State (political head) of that department.

Delivery Unit

A small team up by TB in 2001 and reporting directly to him, which set measurable targets and deadlines for selected issues in health, education, policing, criminal justice, asylum and transport. [18] [19].

Focus group

Typically, a 2-hour informal discussion among a group of about 20 selected voters. Used to obtain an indication of more considered perceptions than can be obtained from opinion polls.

Government Information Service

Otherwise known as the Central Office of Information[3]. An interdepartmental organisation staffed by civil servants whose function is to provide objective information about all aspects of government.

Joint Intelligence Committee

The Cabinet Office committee that oversees the work of the security services and advises the Government on security matters. Its membership includes the heads of the British intelligence agencies, the Chief and Deputy Chief of the Defence Intelligence Staff, the Chief of the Assessments Staff, representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and may include representatives of the United States security sevices[4].

Leader of the House

The cabinet minister who is responsible for the arrangement of government business in the House of Commons.

Lord Chancellor

Member of the Cabinet. Speaker of the House of Lords. Head of the Judiciary (until 2007)

Performance and Innovation Unit

A unit set up by Tony Blair in July 1998 to "improve the capacity of government to address strategic, cross-cutting issues and promote innovation in the development of policy and in the delivery of the government’s objectives" [20] using mixed teams of civil servants and private sector management experts (the Unit's website was deleted in 2010).

Policy Unit

Combined with the Prime Minister's Private Office and renamed "Policy Directorate" in 2001, it had a staff of 30 civil servants and special advisors, working together on short- and medium-term policy questions[21].

Press Office

Public Service Agreements

The Treasury's performance management system for the public services.

Royal Prerogative

Decision-making powers, formally reserved to the Monarch, that are in practice exercised by the Prime Minister without the need for parliamentary assent. The powers include the appointment of Ministers, the calling of elections and the declaration of war.

Special advisers

Political advisers appointed on a temporary basis by the government in power. In 2003, the Government had 74 advisers, of which 37 were in the offices of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Chancellor.

Strategy Unit

A team of about 60 civil servants and outside recruits, set up in 2001, that published a range of analyses of long-term policy issues.

Reports of Inquiries

Butler inquiry

Review of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction [22] A committee of fine senior parliamentarians with access to all intelligence reports and assessments, and the power to call witnesses to give oral evidence in private. The committee worked closely with the corresponding US inquiry. It received 68 written submissions and took oral evidence from 47 witnesses, and reported that it had found no evidence of "deliberate distortion or of culpable negligence" (BBC summary [23])

Chilcott inquiry

An ongoing inquiry to identify lessons that can be learned from the Iraq conflict, held mainly in public by a 5-person committee [24]

Inquiry of House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee into the decision to go to war in Iraq

- "We conclude that the February dossier was badly handled and was misrepresented as to its provenance and was thus counter-productive... [but] that Ministers did not mislead Parliament" [25].

International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty

An international commission set up by the Government of Canada in response to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's challenge to the international community to endeavour to build a new international consensus on how to respond in the face of massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The commission concluded that "where a population is suffering serious harm ... the principle of non intervention gives way to the responsibility to protect"[26].

Gershon inquiry

An independent review of public sector efficiency that recommended efficiency savings of 2.5% a year [27].

Hutton inquiry

Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly (website[5]) [28][29] conducted mostly in public by Lord Hutton, an eminent judge. Lord Hutton concluded:   that the Prime Minister's desire to have as compelling a dossier as possible may have subconsciously influenced the JIC to make the language of the dossier stronger than they would otherwise have done;    that the JIC and its chairman, John Scarlett, were concerned to ensure that the contents of the dossier were consistent with the intelligence available to the JIC;   that the dossier could be said to be "sexed up" if this term is taken to mean it was drafted to make the case against Saddam as strong as intelligence permitted;    but that, in the context of Gilligan's report, "sexed up" would be understood to mean the dossier was embellished with items of intelligence known or believed to be false or unreliable   -   an allegation that was unfounded.
See also The death of David Kelly on the Addendum subpage

Iraq Survey Group

An inquiry by over 1700 US and UK experts into Saddam Hussein's weapons policy that concluded that he had destroyed his WMD capacity before the Iraq war, and that he intended to resume their development after sanctions had been removed[30].

Phillis inquiry

An independent review of government communications [31] that sought to rectify what it termed a "three-way breakdown in trust between government and politicians, the media and the general public.

Varney review

An review of ways in which the channels through which services are delivered can be made more responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses. [32]

Wanless review

A review of UK healthcare that concluded that UK must expect to devote a significantly larger share of its national income to health care over the next 20 years to reverse the significant cumulative underinvestment over past decades, to catch up with the standards of care seen in other countries [33].


(References, with page numbers, to Tony Blair's memoirs (Tony Blair: A Journey, Hutchinson, 2010) are shown as "Journey (xxx)", and references to Anthony Seldon's biography (Anthony Seldon: Blair, Free Press, 2004) are shown as "Blair (xxx)".)

  1. Journey (7)
  2. Blair (311)
  3. Robin Cook's Resignation Speech BBC News, 16 March 2003
  4. Blair 130-137
  5. Journey page 298
  6. Blair (471-481)
  7. Journey (12)
  8. Blair (200)
  9. Blair (266-277)
  10. Journey (49)
  11. Blair (110-116)
  12. Blair (155-178)
  13. Journey page 22
  14. Blair (335-346)
  15. Blair (409-439)
  16. Journey (78-9)
  17. Blair (40-59)
  18. Sir Michael Barber Instruction to Deliver, Methuen, 2008
  19. Sir Michael Barber: Task Force on Performance Management, Testimony to the Senate Budget Committee, 29 October 2009
  20. Strengthening leadership in the public sector., Annex A, Performance and information Unit, Cabinet Office
  21. Denis Kavanagh: "The Blair Premiership" in Anthony Seldon and Denis Kavanagh (eds) The Blair Effect 2001-5, Cambridge University Press, 2005
  22. Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction, Chairman:The Rt Hon The Lord Butler of Brockwell, July 2004
  23. At-a-glance: Butler report BBC News July 2004
  24. The Iraq Inquiry
  25. The Decision to go to War in Iraq, House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2002–03, House of Commons, July 2003
  26. Responsibility to Protect, Report of an International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, December 2001
  27. Releasing Resources to the Front Line, an Independent Review of Public Sector Efficiency, HM Treasury, 2004
  28. Lord Hutton: Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly, House of Commons, 28th January 2004
  29. Key points: The Hutton report, BBC News, 28 January, 2004
  30. Weapons of Mass Destruction: Iraq Survey Group Final Report, September 2004
  31. An Independent Review of Government Communications, (Chairman, Bob Phillis), Cabinet Office, 1974
  32. Service Transformation: A better service for citizens and businesses, a better deal for the taxpayer, Sir David Varney, 2006
  33. Derek Wanless: Securing Our Future Health: Taking a Long-Term View, Final Report, April 2002 (National Archives, 2010)