Tony Charles Lynton Blair
"Education is the best economic policy there is."
The son of a barrister and lecturer, Tony Blair was born
in Edinburgh, but spent most of his childhood in Durham. At
the age of 14 he returned to Edinburgh to finish his education
at Fettes College. He studied law at Oxford, and went on to
become a barrister himself.
After standing unsuccessfully for the Labour Party in a by-election,
Blair went on to win the seat of Sedgefield in the 1983 General
Election, aged 30.
Tony Blair made a speedy rise through the ranks, being promoted
first to the shadow Treasury front bench in 1984. He subsequently
served as a trade and industry spokesman, before being elected
to the Shadow Cabinet in 1988 where he was made Shadow Secretary
of State for Energy. In 1989 he moved to the employment brief.
After the 1992 election Labour's new leader, John Smith,
promoted Blair to Shadow Home Secretary. It was in this post
that Blair made famous his pledge that Labour would be tough
on crime, tough on the causes of crime.
John Smith died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1994, and in
the subsequent leadership contest Tony Blair won a large majority
of his party's support.
Blair immediately launched his campaign for the modernisation
of the Labour Party, determined to complete the shift further
towards the political centre which he saw as essential for
victory. The debate over Clause 4 of the party's constitution
was considered the crucial test of whether its members would
commit to Blair's project. He removed the commitment to public
ownership, and at this time coined the term New Labour.
The Labour Party won the 1997 General Election by a landslide,
after 18 years in Opposition. At the age of 43 , Tony Blair
became the youngest Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool in
The government began to implement a far-reaching programme
of constitutional change, putting the question of devolution
to referendums in Scotland and Wales.
An elected post of Mayor of London was established at the
head of a new capital-wide authority, and all but 92 hereditary
peers were removed from the House of Lords in the first stage
of its reform. The government has also implemented an investment
programme of £42 billion in its priority areas of health
Tony Blair was re-elected with another landslide majority
in the 2001 General Election.
The United Kingdom is an original member of the G8. In 1977, the United Kingdom first hosted the G8 Summit in London , England . They have hosted the G8 Summit a total of four times; London 1977, London 1984, London 1991, and Birmingham 1998. The United Kingdom will be the next host of the G8 Summit. The United Kingdom will assume the Presidency of the G8 on January 1, 2005.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland is The Right Honorable Tony Blair. Prime Minister Blair was first elected in 1997 and was reelected as Prime Minister in 2001.
Name: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Area: 243,000 sq. km. (93,000 sq. mi.); slightly smaller
than Oregon. Cities: Capital--London (metropolitan pop.
about 7.4 million).
Other cities--Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Sheffield,
Liverpool, Bradford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol,
Terrain: 30% arable, 50% meadow and pasture, 12% waste
or urban, 7% forested, 1% inland water.
Land use: 25% arable, 46% meadows and pastures, 10%
forests and woodland, 19% other.
Climate: Generally mild and temperate; weather is subject
to frequent changes but to few extremes of temperature.
Nationality: Noun--Briton(s). Adjective--British.
Population (2002 est.): 59.8 million.
Annual population growth rate (2002 est.): 0.21%.
Major ethnic groups: British, Irish, West Indian, South
Major religions: Church of England (Anglican), Roman
Catholic, Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), Muslim.
Major languages: English, Welsh, Irish Gaelic, Scottish
Education: Years compulsory--12. Attendance--nearly
Health (2002 est.): Infant mortality rate (2002 est.)--5.45/1,000.
Life expectancy (2002 est.)--males 75 yrs.; females
Work force (2000, 28 million): Services--77.1%; manufacturing--
14.1%; construction--6.5%; agriculture and fishing--1.7%;
energy and water--0.7%.
Type: Constitutional monarchy.
Constitution: Unwritten; partly statutes, partly common
law and practice.
Branches: Executive--Monarch (head of state), Prime
Minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative--bicameral
parliament: House of Commons, House of Lords; Scottish
Parliament, Welsh Assembly, and Northern Ireland Assembly.
Judicial--magistrates' courts, county courts, high courts,
appellate courts, House of Lords. Subdivisions: Scotland,
Wales, Northern Ireland [Municipalities, counties, and
Political parties: Great Britain--Conservative, Labour,
Liberal Democrats; also, in Scotland--Scottish National
Party. Wales--Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales). Northern
Ireland--Ulster Unionist Party, Social Democratic and
Labour Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Fein,
Alliance Party, and other smaller parties.
Suffrage: British subjects and citizens of other Commonwealth
countries and the Irish Republic resident in the UK,
GDP (GDP at current market prices, 2002): £1.0444
Annual growth rate (2002): 1.8%.
Per capita GDP (2002): £16,428 ($25,300).
Natural resources: Coal, oil, natural gas, tin, limestone,
iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica.
Agriculture (1.1% of GDP): Products--cereals, oilseed,
potatoes, vegetables, cattle, sheep, poultry, fish.
Industry: Types--steel, heavy engineering and metal
manufacturing, textiles, motor vehicles and aircraft,
construction (5.2% of GDP), electronics, chemicals.
Trade (2002): Exports of goods and services--£185.9
billion: manufactured goods, fuels, chemicals; food,
beverages, tobacco. Major markets--U.S., European Union.
Imports of goods and services--£214.4 billion:
manufactured goods, machinery, fuels, foodstuffs. Major
suppliers--U.S., European Union, Japan.