Blair's speech wasn't helpful. Throughout the campaign, UKIP and their little helpers in the local and national press have tried to make a thing about Gareth Snell's Remain voting/campaigning record. He has said on more occasions than I care to remember that had he been a MP during last week's Article 50 vote, he would have obeyed the whip and followed the steer of Stoke Central's constituents and voted for it. He's even gone out of his way to criticise Paul Farrelly's stupid decision to defy the referendum result - Paul represents the tight marginal in neighbouring Newcastle-under-Lyme for Labour. The Tories have tried to make something out of it too. They put out a leaflet, signed by the Prime Minister no less, saying that Stoke's two other MPs - Ruth Smeeth and Rob Flello - voted against triggering Article 50 when, quite rightly, they supported it. Goes to show that Nuttall isn't the only liar in town. And so while Labour is working very hard to say that the Brexit result must be respected, along comes Blair to much fanfare to try and undo it all and muddy the position. At best, unhelpful. At worst, scabbing. I'll leave you to decide which.
That said, if the by-election goes down to a Labour loss, Blair will not be to blame. Like most places, he's not particularly well-liked in Stoke. Then again, not a great many people care about what he has to say either. The local paper have covered it, slots were duly put aside on the evening news, a talking point on local radio maybe, but it's not likely to have much of an affect on the by-election. Stokies aren't thick and know he's yesterday's man. If everything goes belly up, which is looking decreasingly likely, there will be other issues and legacies at play. His fool speech won't even register.