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I’ve never considered Blair to be one of the greatest orators to have occupied Number 10, but maybe I’ve underestimated him. It’s quite impressive to see him give a full statement about leaving office without using the word ‘resign’. Or even ‘quit’ or ‘leave’. The nearest thing he’s given to a soundbite is
The next party conference in a couple of weeks will be my last party conference as party leader.
He’s even managed to rush the sentence so much that it can’t realistically be used as a soundbite. That’s pretty impressive, and very well done. Is this this the first speech Tony’s done where he’s consciously avoided the soundbite?
Quite honestly, though, I don’t think it matters. I think even the smallest of the Labour minnows will not be put off from making their views on his Premiership clear just because he says it’s bad, and even the super-loyal MPs trotted out across every network immediately after the speech to scare them a little more won’t make them feel threatened.
Mr Blair’s statement has put a sticking plaster over his gaping wounds, the question is merely how long it will last. It won’t last seven or eight months. It only needs one comment from one MP, one letter, or one more resignations to painfully tear the sticking plaster away, and it’s just too tempting.
It was a valiant effort, though, and I’m rather impressed. Just not impressed enough to want him to stay.