You may have missed the fact, but today (Wednesday 27th June) is my 39th Birthday! Oh yes, and it’s Tony Blair’s final day as PM. Ten years ago, Tony and his New Labour colleagues won a landslide victory in the 1997 General Election – and they’ve been around ever since. Naturally, as we reached the final few days of Blair’s historic Premiership, it has been necessary to consider what he’s done over the last decade. Hundreds of thousands of children lifted out of poverty. But a greater gap between the rich and the poor. A Peace deal in Northern Ireland, but a couple of wars started elsewhere just to balance things out. Could do better on education, education, education. Indeed, some would suggest Jamie Oliver achieved more for our school children than Tony.
Don’t get me wrong, Iraq aside, it’s been a pretty decent few years – and I do believe him when he says, ‘Hand on heart, I did what I thought was best.’ In fact, though it’s easy to kick a man when he is down, the reality is, life is always a mixture of highs and lows, achievements and regrets, perfect decisions and fundamental errors – as the Blair years amply demonstrate.
For myself, the last decade has been incredibly rewarding. I left my job and family in Grimsby and headed to London to study theology – and did very well, if I do say so myself. I met my wife, Kay, and now have a beautiful daughter (as you can see from my header). I also got to work with Steve Chalke and become a writer – something that wasn’t even on the horizon ten years ago.
But in that same decade I’ve had heartaches with my family; lost friends who shouldn’t have passed on so soon; made some not so clever career moves; I regret that things I’ve written have caused anger and division; I wished I’d been more pro-active in helping the poor and marginalized in the world; as well as being there for those closer to home who needed me but I couldn’t see it for the fog of my own desires.
Like Blair, I guess my last ten years have been mixed. But equally, I’m now more concerned about the coming decade, not the one that has gone. What will I do with it? Will the balance of life be positive? Will I achieve what I want to achieve? And more importantly, will the world be a better place because I walk in it?
Here’s to the future!