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17 March 2022

Sir Michael Barber presents inaugural 'Blair Years' essay prize

Thomas Livesey’s in-depth study of liberal interventionism during the years 1997-2001 was chosen as Sir Michael Barber’s favourite from among students who took the Strand Group module the 'Blair Years'.

L-R: Professor Jon Davis, Visiting Professor John Rentoul, Thomas Livesey (prize winner), Sir Michael Barber, Dr Michelle Clement. Picture: STRAND GROUP

Thomas was invited to discuss his essay with Sir Michael Barber, who was head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (2001-05) during Tony Blair’s second term.

Sir Michael said: “I was delighted to meet Tom and discuss his prize-winning essay. While all the essays should be highly commended, Tom’s was beautifully written and made convincing judgements based on good source material.”

The MA module on Tony Blair’s years as prime minister is run by Dr Michelle Clement alongside Professor Jon Davis and Tony Blair’s biographer and the Independent’s chief political commentator, John Rentoul.

Dr Clement said: “This was an extremely readable and highly-engaging essay. Tom really demonstrated his knowledge of the period, the wider context and the concepts surrounding liberal interventionism to produce a clear, thoughtful and convincing paper.”

Thomas, commenting on the award, said: !I am thrilled to have been awarded the Blair Years Inaugural Essay Prize, and am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to discuss my essay with Sir Michael Barber. I highly recommend the Strand Group’s Blair Years module to students, as it offers a peerless insight into the premiership of Tony Blair and the events that unfolded during his tenure.

“It is delivered by a phenomenal team of lecturers alongside a highly impressive line-up of guest speakers that offer their first-hand accounts to provide a depth and detail that is often as entertaining as it is informative.”

You can read Thomas's essay here.

In this story

Jon Davis

Director of the Strand Group