lunes, mayo 14, 2007

El juicio de la historia anticipado: La era Blair, según The Economist

El retiro, es lo que tiene. Giddens repasaba a su pupilo el otro día. Hoy le toca The Economist. A saber:
Under Mr Blair, fusty old Britain has become an international exemplar of openness. Large-scale immigration, especially from the former communist countries of eastern Europe, has boosted the economy without triggering a serious backlash of resentment. Embracing globalisation, London has become one of the most dynamic cities in the world. Mr Blair has changed the debate in Europe (Nicolas Sarkozy is another right-winger in his debt—see article) and he has also done more than any other Western leader to force people to pay attention to climate change and poverty in Africa.

You can go through this list, adding asterisks and footnotes: on the economy, not enough credit goes to the Tories who came before Mr Blair; on immigration, for every happy Czech waitress in Covent Garden there are several angry Muslims in Leeds; on civil liberties, he helped gays but not prisoners or young louts. Still, Mr Blair has improved Britain, on balance, and he has usually stood on the side of liberal progress. This newspaper, for one, has no regrets in having supported him.

Why then does Mr Blair leave a sour taste in Britain—and not only in the mouths of the old socialist left and the xenophobic right? For millions of people, only one word is necessary: Iraq. But the disappointments go further back than that.
Merece la pena añadir alguna apostilla más que viene a limitar las loas de Giddens:
Under the visionary rhetoric, the new government had little notion of how to improve public services, other than by dismantling its predecessor's successful attempts to raise their quality by injecting more competition. With one or two exceptions (among them primary schools), more harm than good was done to health and education. Unable to show solid progress, Mr Blair fell back on the techniques of opposition, spinning the news to convey an impression of activity and progress. His popularity continued to defy gravity, but authority was squandered, and public cynicism grew.

In his second term Mr Blair did eventually work out a model for public sector reform—one that involved refining the internal-market policies pioneered by the Tories, but with far more money from the state. But by then September 11th and soon Iraq were upon him.
Pero, la síntesis del diario es favorable. "El político mejor dotado de su generación", y no se refiere a su miembro viril, parece responsable de esto:
On most measures, Mr Blair has left Britain a better place than it was in 1997 (see article). Uninterrupted economic growth has made the average Briton substantially better off, even if the tax burden has risen. There are fewer tatty schools and run-down hospitals. Although many exams lack rigour, more children are getting respectable grades and going on to universities. Thanks to the minimum wage and tax credits for poor working families, the forces relentlessly pushing up income inequality under Margaret Thatcher have been blunted.