Thursday, September 07, 2006



The beginning of the end for Blair?

For the past week, British newspapers have been dominated by the growing battle over Blair's resignation. With the Labour party conference approaching, Blair has been expected to give some hint about his plans for retirement and an orderly succession - but has been steadfastly refusing to do so. Add to that suggestions that he will hang on until next May, or even for another year, and leaked plans for a triumphal procession so he can go out in a "blaze of glory", and there is a lot of nervousness about his intentions. Now, that nervousness seems to have reached a tipping point. First, a group of normally loyal backbench MPs concerned about facing electoral oblivion because of the unpopularity of their leader signed letters calling on Blair to come clean about his departure date. Now, he's been hit by a wave of resignations from junior members of his government, who no longer wish to tie their futures to his. As a result, he's now expected to outline his departure plans later today.

The question is whether it will be soon enough. Local body and Scottish Parliamentary elections are scheduled for early next year, and with Blair now more hated than Thatcher was, Labour is facing a wipeout. Unless he makes it clear that he will be resigning sooner rather than later, Blair may find himself with no choice in the matter.

10 comments:

It will never be soon enough I/S. That would require time travel.

Posted by Anthony : 9/07/2006 11:21:00 AM

According to the Independent Brown wants Blair gone by March. I'd rather see him gone by Christmas...

Unfortunately, Blair hanging on after the Iraq debacle may see the Tories back in power. Thanks, Tony!

(And while I'm on it: someone needs to tell his memo-writers that "TB" is a noxious disease...)

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/07/2006 12:47:00 PM

It not just thanks to Blair I/S. The rank and file and even most of Labour's supporters deserve the blame for the fact that he is still in power. They made a deal with the devil and now they're going to pay the consequences.

Posted by Anthony : 9/07/2006 07:15:00 PM

Gone by lunchtime would have been better. I wonder why Brown just didn't try and roll him in caucus (I assume he has the numbers).

Posted by dc_red : 9/08/2006 09:11:00 AM

I'd be surprised if Brown did have the numbers to roll Blair, if he did it would have happened by now. I guess when your caucus numbers in the hundreds it maks it more difficult to engineer the sort of leadership moves we see here in NZ. I always felt that Brown was just not able to attract voters on a national basis the way Blair was in his prime (say prior to 2001) and he could do no wrong.

On another matter, what sort of comment is this for an alegedly Labour Prime Minister?:
"the next TUC conference next week will be my last TUC - probably to the relief of both of us."

Posted by PabloR : 9/08/2006 09:19:00 AM

It's a myth that Blair is a vote getter. One of his legacies, in fact, will be that the popular vote descreased every election under him.

Posted by Anthony : 9/08/2006 10:22:00 AM

Yes but considering the overwhelming landslide of 1997 it would have been nothing short of miraculous for Labour to increase its vote in subsequent elections.

Consider this from today's economist:

"Mr Blair’s authority over his party is fast ebbing away and the government is lagging in the polls, but not disastrously so. According to a recent poll, the Labour Party would be even less popular if Mr Brown were in charge. Yet it is Mr Brown whom the agitating MPs expect to restore the government’s fortunes."

Posted by PabloR : 9/08/2006 10:53:00 AM

Well they could both be done for war crimes so what difference does it make I guess.

Posted by Anthony : 9/08/2006 06:53:00 PM

Is there any country in the world where popular vote is going up? (except where the base was 0 of course)

Posted by Genius : 9/11/2006 08:18:00 PM

I believe George W Bush got the most votes ever of anyone running for president. That count?

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 9/11/2006 10:14:00 PM