Tony Blair warns against allowing 'strong' leaders to become authoritarian after Donald Trump’s win

Former PM calls for vigilance to prevent fear over global instability allowing authoritarianism 

Heather Saul
Thursday 24 November 2016 16:52
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Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair speaks during a press conference at Admiralty House
Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair speaks during a press conference at Admiralty House

While a feeling of impending doom post-Brexit and US election was evident across America and Britain and expressed by some leaders, Tony Blair is more optimistic about the future and humanity's progress.

In an interview with The New Statesman, Mr Blair insisted real, palpable progression is being made globally despite Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the seismic result of the most polarising election in recent American memory.

Amid bleak forecasts on the economy and anxiety over instability, the former Prime Minister insisted "there’s a lot to celebrate".

"There is absolutely no reason to be pessimistic about the human condition," he said. "But there are people who will exploit the fears of people if we don’t root the hopes of people in realistic, sensible policies.”

Mr Blair is more concerned with the one responsibility he believes the world now has after Donald Trump's win. He warned fears prompted by an increasingly turbulent world should not allow leaders to give themselves more power.

“In a world of uncertainty, people want strength in their leaders,” Mr Blair warned. “It’s our job to make sure that that does not bleed across into authoritarianism.”

His optimism about the future was shared by his wife Cherie Blair, who urged women to use Mr Trump’s victory as impetus for pushing women’s rights higher up the agenda.

“Obviously, we were disappointed,” she told The Independent last week. “But we have to take this an opportunity and even though some people may think this is a set back because we didn’t get a woman president, it should make us even more determined to show what women can do to make sure that we not only battle to keep the rights we have, but we push the agenda forward.”

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