Blair Shares Political Views: Onsite at GAC
WASHINGTON – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Monday that political pressures drive politicians to take short-term decisions when long-term reforms are needed.
“Often more state power is the answer to problems and a resistance to change, and that resistance to change is difficult in circumstances where the answers are about reform,” Blair said at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference at the Washington Convention Center.
Blair said examples of this in the U.S. are changes to entitlement programs and the minimum wage.
During the Q&A portion of the event, Blair was asked if he was offended by what he has learned of the National Surveillance Agency.
“If any one truly tells you that they were shocked by the fact that intelligence services listen to phone calls, I think that would be a little skeptical, let’s say,” he said.
Blair refrained from going into great detail, joking that he might have to seek “asylum in Russia” if he said anything else.
Blair’s administration reportedly gave the NSA access to email and phone records of British citizens in 2005.
It was also recently reported that Blair offered to help Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, the former head of Murdoch's British newspapers in the phone hacking scandal.
Blair refrained from giving his opinion of President Obama’s job performance, saying he respects every U.S. president he has dealt with in the past.