He's a master of the art. Non-stop fulsome praise of the party just wouldn't do the job. It's the combination of the slapping around and "I only do it because I love you so much" that never fails.
The only false note was early on, when at Sedgefield he "sat in the company of the most normal people I had met in the Labour Party", which brought a few murmurs of disapproval. But you have to admire a man who can get a rousing cheer for dissing Cameron's "hug a hoodie" idea - from an audience most of whom think hoodies are poor victims of insufficient Social Services funding.
Great poke at Clare Short, too.
Watching from his sick bed.
Get well soon.
Never agreed with a policy I've had.
Never once stopped him knowing the difference between a Labour Government and a Tory one.
People like Janet Anderson, George Howarth, Mike Hall.
Good Ministers, but I asked them to make way.
Without a word of bitterness.
They never forgot their principles when in office; and they never discovered them when they left office.
The ending - "wherever I am, whatever I do" made it pretty plain that we won't see back-bencher Blair conducting Sedgefield surgeries once a month next year. He's out of there. Those listening to him : "you are the future". God help us all.
It was a fantastic speech, even if I didn't believe a word of it (apart from those bits which agreed with my prejudices, of course) and consider Blair to have been the most disastrously successful election-winner since Stanley Baldwin. Listening to the R5 coverage, the presenters were struck by the supportive texts and calls coming in (the general message being 'they must be crazy to drop him') - unless they were set up by the people who arranged for the idiotic "safer streets" placards to be waved outside the G-Mex centre.
Ah yes, "safer streets". Following the reports on the Blair speech, Radio 5 went just a few miles along the East Lancs road, to Norris Green, where the streets are so safe that R5 was able to report upon what might be a first since the Krays packed up - the enforced closure of shops and businesses along the route of murdered gangster Luke Smith's funeral procession. Apparently they'd been warned in the best tradition of Northern Ireland or the West Bank, that not closing could be hazardous to their health. The same applied to the removal of the fifty-foot floral tribute to the late lamented "Smigger".
A massive shrine to murdered gang boss Liam Smith will remain until his funeral after a deal was struck.
Friends of the 19-year-old, known as Smigger, erected the 50-yard memorial along Scargreen Avenue in Norris Green after he was blasted in the head outside Altcourse prison last month.
It is believed the council was set to remove it, but was advised it could spark community tension.
Shopkeepers today told the ECHO the shrine's removal could have "sparked World War III".
Police were happy for the shrine to remain and said it could be positive for the grieving process.
The shrine could now remain in place for up to three weeks. The ECHO understands it will be taken down after the funeral.
Bouquets are tied to every lamp-post and graffiti daubed on shop shutters to the teenager who led the Strand Crew.
Inscriptions are also scrawled across the length of the pavement including: "See you on the other side, brother."
Huge yellow letters spelling out Smigger have been daubed between the windows of flats.
I like "Police were happy for the shrine to remain and said it could be positive for the grieving process." Is this the same police force that found the manpower to arrest a 78-year old for writing "Free Speech For England" on the wall of a derelict building ?
You can read all about the Norris Green vs Croxteth gang rivalry at the Copper's Blog. And you can see the Strand Gang pursuing their immemorial customs (like Top Gear but with added pump-action shotguns) at Youtube.
Blair's Britain, 2006.