Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Blair Offers Too Little Too Late

Seems like the message is seeping through but not enough and not fast enough to satisfy the critics. And who are the critics? The usual supects of embittered exministers and unreconstructed Old Labourites? Not at all. Yesterday's letter came from loyal Blairites Chris Bryant and Sion Simon plus six bottom rung junior ministers whose ambitious loyalty would normally be beyond question.

Blair seems to have responded indirectly but as Tony (Baldrick) Robinson said on Breakfast Television this morning, his colleagues in the party and supporters in the country, deserve more than a hint to a junior member of the Cabinet about no more than a year and a possibly leaked comment to the tabloids of 31st May. There is acute concern at the way Labour's national support is going pear-shaped. MPs in marginal constituencies have lost patience but even more concerned are the Labour members of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. They are due to face the voters next May and the end of that month is too distant to improve their already dire chances of being returned. And I'm not even mentioning local councillors who will face the election axe even before then. Blair in power for another year is too long a period to extend the suffering; if Labour support is an egg-timer, we are looking at an upper chamber where the sand seems to be draining away at an exponential rate.

What sticks in the craw of Labour supporters like me is the apparently dismissive attitude of the leadership. Tom Watson sent him a letter refusing to withdraw his name from the Bryant letter and resigning from his junior post; Blair's spiteful response that he was going to sack him anyway was nothing short of pathetic. We are not talking about a single proposal, let alone a policy, we are talking about the party's raison d'etre- its chances of beating the Conservatives in 2009. I'm no great fan of the Chancellor but accept the near inevitability of his accession and believe he has a chance, with a fair wind, of re-gaining some of the acres of ground lost by Blair's crazy determination to hitch his wagon to Bush's (on which see here). The current situation reminds me a bit of Black Wednesday back nearly 14 years ago. Major responded to the run on the pound by hoisting interest rates but it was too little too late and the tsunami of speculative money swept away the Bank of England's feeble defences. Blair has been sent the message and has issued merely a batsqueak of a reply... It's not good enough. As everyone knows, our constitution gives our Prime Ministers unfettered power only so long as they can command their troops in the Commons.

The Guardian's front page review today records the Bryant-Simon letter plus the one signed by 60 MPs welcoming Miliband's 'clarification'. Of more interest to me, however, was the (rumoured)imminent letter reflecting;

'much broader cross party support being drafted... expected to demand that Mr Blair either leave now, or before the the Welsh and Scotish elections.'

The Guardian's Patrick Wintour suggests:

'At least 80 MPs are prepared to go public over this letter, though some others will refuse to declare themselves.'

Now when that letter arrives Blair will have to come up with something better. As his enemies queue up with sharpened knives, the tipping point has proably now been reached.

Well wide of the mark here. The British people voted for Blair to lead a Government little more than a year ago. Many of the MP's who oppose him advocate policies for which they have NO mandate. If they unseat a democratically elected PM with four years of his term left then they will pay next time out.

Most people can see this manoevre for what it is...sheer greed and personal ambition from Brown and those around him. What do they want to change from Blair's era? None of them have anything to say about a single policy. If they disagree then why haven't they left Blair's Government and spoke out? If they agree with Blair, then why the need for a change of personnel? Onl the most naive of people believe that Brown(the only successor) will reinvigorate the party's electoral fortunes. If anything he will do worse, for the man has no charisma and he will act as a rallying point for people in England who feel robbed by the unfair constitutional settlement as regards Scotland.

The Labour Party are behaving as if Downing Street is their own personal fiefdom. All this talk of "the membership". Stuff the Labour party membership, it will be the British people who decide their PM. They did a year ago, and I doubt they will appreciate the contempt being shown by this arrogant lot.
Those self serving, media tart MPs who just a few months ago were singing Tony's praises are a disgrace to our party.
Gordon Brown and his brown nosers are behind this crap and it stinks.
'Its my turn with the toys now cries Gordon'
Well boring Gordon is about as likely to win middle england (and thus the election) as Norman Tebbit is to join Labour.
We won an election not long ago and none of these pathetic MPs would have a place in Parliament if it wasnt for Tony Blair.
Shame on the useless back stabbing lot of em.
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