About me
About me

The end for Blair?


Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Many thanks for your understanding.

Tony Blair: Past his political primeSo Blair has come third in the local elections. That’s not good for him. In response to this, and the scandals surround the Labour party for last fortnight, he’s performed a reshuffle so huge that it begins to feel like he’s got a whole new deck. Charles Clarke has been unceremoniously sacked, saying that he disagrees with Blair, and Prescott is angry too at the prospect of losing the bigger part of his responsibility whilst retaining his title and his salary. If that happened to me, I certainly wouldn’t be angry, I’d probably be cheering, but that’s Prescott for you.

Patricia Hewitt has retained her post, despite the service that she is trying to reform revolting against her, and losing all faith in her abilities. And Jack Straw, who’s seemingly done nothing wrong, gets demoted. Sensible.

Earlier in the week, I couldn’t understand why Clarke hadn’t resigned. It would now appear that he genuinely beleived he could carry on. This was actually good news for Mr Blair, because it meant he had a big headline-grabber for election results day, so the fact that Labour have performed appallingly could be buried.

Yesterday, I was unsure whether he’d pulled off something incredible, and made a fantastic political play, or whether this really would be the beginning of the end. But the news today that in a week’s time, seventy-five backbench MPs are to deliver a letter telling him to resgin or he will be challenged changes everything. This simply isn’t how Blair wanted to go.

Gordon Brown: Tired of waiting

Blair and Brown are holding talks this weekend about the future of the party. Basically, it’s pretty clear that they’re talking about when Blair should go. On Monday, Blair has a press conference at which this topic surely can’t be ignored. But what can Blair do now? If he resigned next week, he’d look pressured into it, which isn’t what he wants to do – he wants to go according to his own timetable. If he leaves it much longer, he will be forced out by his own party. If he announces a future resignation date, perhaps there’s scope for a few headlines now about him being forced out, but at the time of the transition of power, perhaps that will be more forgotten.

Could he announce that he’ll stand down on his tenth anniversary as Prime Minister? That would give about a year for the transition to take place, satisfy most of the party, and make it look like he was going according to his own timetable. It would also allow him the honour of making an official ‘final’ conference speech without plotters murmuring in the background. If backbenchers are more insistent, he could always announce that he’ll leave at the end of the year, which would have similar advantages.

But, of course, announcing in advance makes him a true lame duck, something that he and the party would probably object to over such a long period. So what can he do? Probably very little. He’s been greedy, and left the transition too long for it to happen in any symbolic, pretty way.

The idea that he won’t get his last wish after nearly a decade of leadership almost makes me feel sorry for him. Almost.

This 869th post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th November 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 5th October 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd September 2017)

‘Lives were lost that did not need to be lost’ (published 8th September 2005)

More Labour Spam (published 11th April 2005)

Photo-a-day 317: Emirates 777 (published 13th November 2012)

Daily Mail claims Su Doku (published 19th May 2005)

Comments and responses

No comments or responses to this article have been published yet.

Compose a new comment


You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.