Warning: This post was published more than 10 years ago.
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There’s always been something of Greek tragedy about the Tony Blair story. He unites the party and the country, presenting himself as a down-to-Earth everyman with the power to put right the wrongs of the Tories, but is ultimately corrupted by addictive power, and now drives apart the very party he united through his desperate bid to stay on at the top.
There are now several letters circulating the Parliamentary Labour Party, some calling for Tony to resign, others calling for him to stay on. Could there be any more fundamental a division in the party?
His allies say he’ll be gone within a year, but really, it no longer matters. The party’s in turmoil, and there’s no way they will all unite happily around Gordon Brown – party unrest can’t be settled merely with a change of leader. Ian Westbrook reckons the party will be destroyed if Tony goes on for another year – I think it’s verging on that point already.
Whenever Tony goes, and whether it’s with his preposterous ‘Farewell tour‘ or not, it will be undignified, with him appearing to have been pushed rather than jumping. Iain Dale, who knows far more about such things than I, thinks the memo about the tour was leaked on purpose. If it was, it shows how poor the Number 10 Press Office has become at judging the news cycle – a ridiculous story about a big-in-his-boots Prime Minister planning to resign merely makes people call for him to do it right now.
Perhaps a quote from here sums it all up best:
What was a ‘lame duck’ Premiership has just become a ‘dead duck’ Premiership