British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Tony Blair is the Prime Minister of Britain.

Tony Blair traces his political genesis to the paralysis of his father. In 1963, when Blair was 11, his father suffered a stroke while campaigning for a Conservative seat in Parliament. "After his illness, my father transferred his ambitions onto his kids," Blair said in an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine in 1994.

Unlike John Major's, Blair's upbringing was privileged. His father was a law lecturer, and Blair was educated at the elite Fettes College in Edinburgh before going to Oxford for law school in 1972. Blair was known as a gregarious student and as the gyrating bass guitar and lead singer for a rock band called Ugly Rumors.

While working as a lawyer, Blair met his wife in 1975. He joined the Labor Party that same year and won a seat in Parliament in 1983, where he immediately trumpeted his views as a reformer of a party struggling against irrelevancy. After being trounced by Margaret Thatcher in 1987, Neil Kinnock, Labor’s leader at the time, worked to change the party and promoted Blair. The young politician got his big break when Kinnock’s successor, John Smith, died, and Blair vaulted to the top party post.

He used his new position to strike a blow in 1995 to the sacred leftist Clause IV of the Labor constitution advocating “common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.” In 1997 elections Blair campaigned hard to convince the British public that the Labor Party was centrist and fiscally responsible, saying at one point that he would continue the economic policies of his conservative opponent.