In first 100 days, Blair lives up to commitments
August 8, 1997
Web posted at: 12:17 p.m. EDT (1617 GMT)
LONDON (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair has earned
high marks in his first 100 days of office, fulfilling
numerous election commitments that swept his Labour Party to
power on May 1.
Most Britons approve of their new prime minister and the
programs he has pushed early on. Political analysts
acknowledge Blair has made gains, but contend Labour has yet
to face a legitimate challenge.
Among the highlights of the administration so far:
- Reducing tension over Northern Ireland, where the Irish Republican Army has agreed to a fresh cease-fire.
- Banning handguns in response to the 1996 massacre in Dunblane, Scotland.
- Making the Bank of England independent.
- Starting far-reaching constitutional changes, offering unprecedented liberties to Scotland and Wales.
Ian Hargreaves, editor of The New Statesmen, says Labour was
careful not to promise more than it could deliver ahead of
"The specific promises before the election were really quite
modest, and very few people were prepared for the blizzard of
action that there has been," he said.
But Bill Emmot of The Economist argues that Blair and Labour
are operating without clear direction.
"Tony Blair wants to be a radical. He wants to go down in
history as the man who changed Britain and changed the way
Britain was governed, but he has entered office not knowing
how," Emmot said.
Blair's Labour Party devastated the Conservative Party in May
parliamentary elections that ended Conservative's 18
consecutive years of power. The defeat was on a scale unseen
for 165 years, with six Cabinet ministers losing. Defeated
Prime Minister John Major, who had served six and a half
years, resigned a day after the elections.
Labour rose to power on a platform that promised to "restore
trust in politics" and reinvigorate Britain as the "people's
Many Britons like what they see so far.
"I'm a Conservative, but -- yes -- (Blair) seems to be doing
okay," one Briton told CNN.
Added another, "The vast majority of the changes have been
While Labour has enjoyed political gains, it has failed to
live up to its promise to clean up politics after a string of
tawdry sex and money scandals that Labour says sullied the
Since the election, Labour has been beset with a
controversial suicide of a Labour member of parliament and a
separate sex scandal, among others.
"We've had the foreign secretary revealing that he's been
living with his secretary, rather than with his wife in
Scotland," Hargreaves said, adding that "these are the
routine trade of politics the world over."
CNN Correspondent Margaret Lowrie contributed to this report.
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