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Tony Blair today cast serious doubt on Labour’s chances of winning the next election with Jeremy Corbyn at the helm.
At a rare public appearance in London, the former PM said it was “not yet a proven concept that Corbynism can win an election.”
Mr Blair also repeated his call for a “proper ground war” against ISIS and issued a stark warning to Labour voters about the perils of leaving the EU.
And he refused to answer any questions about the forthcoming Chilcot report – but admitted he “profoundly underestimated” the rise of jihadism in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion.
The former PM, who won a record three general elections between 1997 and 2005, was highly critical of Mr Corbyn during last year’s Labour leadership campaign, saying if members’ heart was with him they should ‘get a transplant’ .
Today Mr Blair said of the Corbynistas: “It’s clear they can take over a political party.
What’s not clear to me is whether they can take over a country.”
Mr Blair criticised his successor’s anti-austerity approach for being too “black and white” and said Labour is “not in the right conversation” about the future of the UK economy in a high-tech world.
And he made clear his bemusement at the rise of non centre-ground politicians like Mr Corbyn and US Presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
“I used to think I was good at politics. I look at politics today and I’m not sure I understand it,” Mr Blair said.
“I spend a lot of time looking at politics today and trying to work out what’s going on. The centre seems to have lost its attraction.”
He admitted slick, centre-ground politicians of the type pioneered by new Labour now look like “managers of the status quo rather than changers of it”.
But he said the rise of so-called ‘straight talking’ politicians has not provided solution to the problems faced by most .
“It’s not providing answers. These guys say they’re telling it like it is – in many cases they’re telling it how it isn’t.”
On Europe Mr Blair warned Labour voters of an ‘unholy alliance’ of right-wingers who are trying to pull Britain out of Europe so they can strip away workers’ rights.
The former PM said ‘Vote Leave’ backers want to turn the UK into an ‘offshore trading outpost’ with no ‘social protection’.
“These are things many Labour voters think are important,” Mr Blair said.
“Those people advocating leaving – the powerful elements in there, their vision is of a completely different kind of Britain, with different social structures.”