Ever so 'umble Blair wants to thank you all very, very much

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Indy Politics

He was 'umble. He was very, very 'umble. Tony Blair transformed himself into the Uriah Heep of British politics yesterday to launch a national poster campaign aimed at saying thank you to public sector workers and everyone who voted Labour in 1997.

He was 'umble. He was very, very 'umble. Tony Blair transformed himself into the Uriah Heep of British politics yesterday to launch a national poster campaign aimed at saying thank you to public sector workers and everyone who voted Labour in 1997.

After the brief but sobering scare of September's fuel protests, a chastened Prime Minister indulged in an orgy of gratitude with the nation in an attempt to boost voter turn-out and rebut claims that little had changed since his landslide general election victory.

There were more thank yous than in a Roses chocolate advert. He said thank you very much to the teachers, thank you very much to the doctors and nurses, thank you very much to the police. The list seemed endless.

In what Millbank claims is its biggest campaign since 1997, four different Labour posters - one each on the economy, jobs, health and education - will feature in the publicity blitz. Each portrays a voter and points out that they were personally responsible for the Government's main achievements. "If you voted for change in 1997 - thank you", the slogan reads.

To ram home the message, Mr Blair also appeared on Channel 4's The Political Slot programme last night to give thanks once again to teachers in particular. He will also send out hundreds of thousands of letters to Labour voters, pointing out progress made to date and the threat of letting the Tories back in.

In keeping with his new humility, Mr Blair even took public transport as he left Westminster behind to see at first hand the problems endured by passengers because of the Hatfield rail crash and Railtrack's repair programme.

Within minutes of climbing aboard the 16.10 from King's Cross to St Albans, the Labour leader spotted the wrong kind of commuter on the line, that is, someone who had suffered from recent rail chaos.

Kim Rigg was regaling the press corps with her nightmare travel experiences when she saw Mr Blair. "He probably doesn't have to take a train every day. If he did like the rest of us he would have to put up with squalor, drunks, unreliability and general inefficiency," she said.

Ever the slick politician, Mr Blair invited the disgruntled Mrs Rigg into his first-class compartment to discuss her concerns. After 15 minutes of him sharing her pain, she reappeared, remarkably gruntled.

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