Tony Blair former Prime Minister of Great Brittan’s Q&A session at the World Business Forum
On the topic of Crisis Management
One can describe Crisis Management as everything that comes across ones desk – if you remember in my first term of office my objectives were clearly to focus on my top 3 priorities: education, education, education but in reality I was faced with 4 wars and the worst outbreak of foot and mouth disease! Then you quickly realize that not every problem is a crisis.
How do you identify the crisis?
Well studying the facts helps (laugh) – the best way to identify a crisis is to get the best analysis – sometimes you can skate across the surface of issues but sometimes you need to drop into the entrails.
What about the role of communication today?
Today that is incredibly important – if you can’t communicate properly then game over – and it happens faster than ever before – if you can’t sum it up in 20 seconds then you may not get your point across – you don’t always have the luxury in this media environment of being able to explain yourself in a long winded debate – that’s a real issue for politicians these days!
What are the Top things you would do if you were coming into office in the US?
Well clearly I would focus on the current economic crisis, terrorism, environment/energy, fixing healthcare and need for a strong strategic relationship with China.
What would be your policies on World Terror?
Since 9/11 the biggest thing that I have learned is the complexity of this issue and the depth of the roots that this issue has. Military means are not the only means – we have to win the battle of ideas as well as the battle of arms.
How about energy and the environment?
I think there will be a renewed emphasis on nuclear power – I think there will be big investments in renewable energy – but what really needs to happen is the creation of a global framework on climate change this is very difficult and very complex. There has to be a deal that has America and China in it – otherwise it won’t work. My advice is to actually do the basic brokering with the G8 + China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa – those countries form 75 % of all emissions – you will never get a deal with 192 countries around the table.
What’s your advice to our leaders in the audience?
The single most difficult thing about leadership is doing what you think is right even though it may not be the popular thing. Someone has to take responsibility on their shoulders. You can’t please all the people all of the time – in the end if you are in a position of leadership – what you owe the people you are leading is – the truth as you see it and the decisions that you think are right based on the data that you have.