Monday, June 20, 2005
Will Labour implode after Blair?
So is it likely Labour will implode into factional introspection once Blair has gone? I don't think so. The chief reason is that Labour has a natural successor in waiting. Thatcher never groomed such a person though there were a number who were annointed by the press as her current 'favourite' from John Moore to Cecil Parkinson and much good it did them. This is not to say that Blair has done much or indeed any grooming of his own. It's just that Gordon was narrowly pipped at the post and has never felt the race was over. Thatcher maybe never felt sufficiently secure to select a successor but, then again, which PM has ever been? Churchill held Eden at arms length for years before letting him commit his signal crime of Suez and enter the old folk's home of retired premiers at perhaps an unseemly young age.
Thatcher's strengths were also her weaknesses. She grabbed the party and shook it up like never before; afterwards it was never the same and has been left floating, unable to find the ground beneath its feet. So Labour is in the enviable position of anticipating-perhaps with some pleasure- a smooth transition to a new leader to be followed by an extended further period in government. For the Tories the agony is likely to continue for a while yet.