University: St John’s College, Oxford, BA Jurisprudence
Position: Labour Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007
Student politics: Blair says in his autobiography, My Journey, that he “took virtually no part” in student politics. He was not a member of the famous debating society Oxford Union, let alone leader of it, unlike super-motivated rival William Hague. Blair also had very little to do with the Labour Club. He believes that his lack of involvement in party when he was young meant that he was not tied by loyalty to some of the traditional ideals of Labour, which he brushed aside when rebranding the party as “New Labour”.
Instead he was influenced by fellow students, including mature student Peter Thomson, an Anglican priest. He honed his performance skills by singing and playing in the rock band Ugly Rumours and rather intriguingly, dating the future American Psycho film director Mary Harron.
Lesson learned: Learn how to perform on stage. It could prove useful.