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“Launching the single currency marks a turning point for Europe and is crucial to stability, high growth and employment,” declared Tony Blair, then UK Prime Minister, in March 1998. “The euro’s opponents are disheartened as their predictions of chaos and disaster haven’t materialized,” observed former Conservative Chancellor Kenneth Clarke in October 2002, as British euro cheerleaders, many disgracefully opposing a referendum, were still pushing us to join.

“The euro is a protection shield against the crisis,” claimed then EU President Jose Manuel Barosso in February 2010, the Portuguese Maoist-turned-Communist-turned-Brussels-careerist seemingly unaware that sovereign bond yields were already flashing red across the eurozone “periphery”. The likes of Spain, Portugal and Greece were struggling to remain solvent, their national balance sheets already weak from years of over-spending, then crushed by the gargantuan losses of hubristic, politically-powerful banks in the aftermath of the 2008 sub-prime collapse.

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What was Tony Blair’s economic legacy? It seems odd to pose this question, even though last week marked 20 years since the former Prime Minister became Labour leader. After all, the man who pulled the UK’s economic policy levers during the ten years of Blair’s premiership from 1997 was most definitely Gordon Brown.

Blair’s Chancellor did everything in his power to control economic and financial issues. The turf war between them and the related political fall-out – the TBGBs – was the stuff of Westminster legend. But Blair’s impact on UK economic policy was still considerable, not only in terms of what he did but also what he didn’t do.

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