Thursday, August 31, 2006

 

Time for the 'Men in Flat Caps' to Knock on Tony's Door

I wasn't surprised to read that MPs are plotting to force Blair to announce an exit date at the forthcoming conference. In fact, I've been predicting such background moves for some time. My small contact with the grass roots (and as a constituent part of them) has made me realise how much Blair has outstayed his welcome. On Tuesday came a well argued piece by Polly Toynbee on the 'mutinous mood growing' in the party at all levels.

She made the point that in the face of the recent barrage of criticism, the 'Blairite' defence of the man in charge amounted merely to flat-mate Falconer and arch loyalist Tessa Jowell; the rest, even John Reid, ever keen to apply his soothing tongue to Tony's offended areas, kept heads well below the parapet. She concludes that it's time, even before the conference, for 'delegations of ministers and MPs' to 'quietly but forcefully tell him to go.' The Guardianleader on the same day bleakly concluded that: 'He appears prepared to pay almost any price to retain his vestigial authority so that he can leave at a moment of his own choosing next year' In other words it's time for the 'men in flat caps' to knock on Tony's door and tell him it how it is in the party. Neil Lawson today reinforces the necessity of such a move if Labour wants to have any chance of winning the next election.

And then again today we see Patrick Wintour reporting an attack by the brooding Charles Clarke on the 'imposition' of flawed policies on the party. He is especially worried by the apparent fait accompli without consultation on renewing Trident and investing in more nuclear power. Wintour also sees the article in the New Statesman as part of the bulky politician's upcoming bid for the leadership. With all this brewing Labour's Manchester conference threatens/promises to be the most combustible party conference since 1963 when it was dear old Macmillan's crown being contested. And what an unexpected result that produced.

Comments:
It will be very interesting indeed to see what happens in Manchester.
 
Could be an interesting Conference (not had many of those recently) for sure.
I'm increasingly thinking, the sooner he goes, the better.
 
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