Friday, September 08, 2006

British politics after Blair

From new blogger Sammy Morse:
Personally, I doubt Blair will last 12 months or anything like it. Until he goes, civil war will reign in the Labour Party. Unlike Blair, too many people in the Labour Party have an interest in not losing the next election for that to happen. Unless they're really, really stupid. And I don't think they are. ... Brown will be a disaster as Labour leader. If Brown really had the capacity to be leader, he would have become so after the Granita restaurant, after Blair was clearly out of step with the country on the war, after Labour lost 50 seats at the General Election, etc., etc. He didn’t because he has no killer instinct and no real leadership skills. Brown likes to skulk in the corner and avoid difficult issues
He goes on to analyse the state of the parties, the poll rankings, the likely effect on the next election, etc. It's one of those "I wish I'd written that" posts, well worth a read.

In addition, Caramel Betty asks "what's Charles Clarke up to?" and has re read his resignation speech:
However, I do not think it would be appropriate to remain in government in these circumstances and return to the backbenches, where I will be a strong and active supporter of this government and the leadership of Tony Blair for his full parliamentary term.
Do we detect a note of "well Gordon'll never give me a job" in the Safety Elephant's behaviour? In the meantime?

Keep an eye on Jack Straw over the weekend. Have fun in the Middle East Tony...

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Anonymous said...

OK. 12 months: well Blair agreed to that on camera.
Civil war: indeed. Because politicians are careerists, duh! If a lowly career MP, let's make up a name, like Tom ... Something ... Tom Watson say, wants to climb the ladder, he has to catch the eye of his boss. Blair is going soon, almost too soon to write any reports or recommend anyone for promotion. And have you noticed how the 2001/2005 intake have deserted him? He's no use to them, now they know he's going. I say this everywhere, but if TB knew King Lear, this wouldn't have happened. He did it to himself. That's his legacy. A footnote in the 2250 edition of 'The Prince': Blair: a vain idiot.
I used to be a Brownite. But I agree he lacks the killer instinct. He doesn't speak up. His (alleged) staying away from votes on gay issues (that he didn't vote is a matter of record; that he didn't due to principled avoidance is conjecture) shows the same tendency. He thinks one thing. And it stays under his hat. I'd trust him to keep a secret. I wouldn't trust him to speak up for me.
Not long ago I linked to a 'Hardball' interview with Katherine Harris  which was notable because every question was sourced. Now you could to the same to Brown if he becomes leader. "Gordon Brown, your ex-employer Tony Blair once said ... about you. How do you respond? Charles Clarke, once a very senior minister, called you "Stupid"... Guardian political expert Martin Kettle said you're a ..." That would be justifiable journalism in my view. Politicians should be answerable to their records and that includes colleagues' opinions.
Of course that would sink Labour. But Martin Kettle et al would look innocent. They threw the mud. They made the party unelectable. 

Posted by Backword Dave

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall that he was pretty much cleared on the gay votes thing, the turnout for them was pretty similar to his record overall, whcih is pretty piss poor as he's busy running the economy.

I think he'd be a crap Labour leader, but I also don't see another candidate, I suspect Reid would be a godsend to the DVL campaign, regardless.

I'd like to see Brown in just because he's a known quantity in terms of presentation and background, but essentially I think they're doomed, although Jack Straw may be the one to watch for that as well.

Interesting times... 

Posted by MatGB

Anonymous said...

Trouble is, they are all tarred with the brush of too close alliance with GWB and failure to speak out over Iraq and Lebanon;backdoor privatisation of the NHS;failure to tax the rich;failure to think of alternatives to nuclear power;failure to rethink the nuclear deterrent;failure to oppose fascist style legislation such as ASBOs and ID cards; failure to invest in transport in a meaningful way.
I cannot think where british politics is to go from here, as the Tories will be as bad.
*dons fatigues and prepares for a long war against fascism 

Posted by lordhutton

Anonymous said...

I see three reasons why Tony is hanging on like this.

The good. During the last election we saw Tony adopting the masochism strategy, drawing all the poison of Labour into himself. The longer he stays the more poison that he will absorb, and the more relieved everybody will be. When he goes there will be a considerable bounce which could nullify Cameron's current opinion poll lead setting up a fourth victory. Gordon knows this and is so waiting for the point where Tony can absorb no more poison and it starts leaking over into Labour as a whole before giving him the push. Tony's final gift to the party.

The Bad. Inflation is currently above the target rate so interest rates are going to have to rise, meaning that anybody with any debt (which is pretty well everybody) is going to find things tougher. So if Tony can stay on long enough Gordon's greatest political asset, the way he has run the economy, suddenly shifts into a liability with nobody else to blame it on. This will knobble Gordon's PM-ship right at the beginning in a final act of spite.

The Ugly. Tony simply enjoys power. The Labour left have been after him since the beginning, as has Gordon (for getting power after John Smith died). But he is the best political operator of his generation, and knows it, and so is going to outfox them for as long as possible to prove it.

I'm going with option 3. 

Posted by chris

Alec Hodgson said...

Brown - the best thing that can happen in my opinion. Will lead to the end of labour once his image as our sensible economic custodian comes crashing to the ground. And of course anyone who has studied the bloke in any detail knows he simply isn't attractive in personalality, intelligence or moral viewpoint. Bring him on!