Saturday, February 03, 2007

 

Odds are Blair will Survive yet Another Crisis yet Again

When that exceedingly wise commentator, Peter Riddell of The Times writes about you as follows...

The next five months look like being humiliating for Tony Blair. His political authority is disappearing day by day and it is now hard to see how he can depart with dignity and without a cloud over his reputation.

... then things do not look so good for you. This prophesy was written a week ago before the second questioning and the current renewal of calls for him to go at once.

It almost seems like September 2006 all over again but this time there does not yet seem to be a group of determined Labour backbenchers leading the pack; instead the hue and cry seems to have been set off by David Cameron's injunction to the prime minister at PMQs. At the time I thought it just standard rhetoric but it proved a well judged ploy which resonated with the way many others were thinking.

I'm sure Simon Hoggart is right when he suggests Blair would hang on until 2009 if he could. By the masterly way he dealt with John Humphreys' deadly questions on Today, he demonstrated his ability to survive even in these Arctic political conditions. Will he survive? It all depends, of course, on what Labour MPs think; the two interviewed on The Week in Westminster, David Chaytor and Andrew McKinlay, seemed relatively sanguine about his situation and accounts of the row I've read did not suggest another 'coup' is in the offing just yet. I predict Blair will hang on grimly and get through it once again.

On a slightly different tack I was much taken by Martin Kettle's article today in which he wonders why the cash for honours case has dragged on for 10 months while the fiendishly complex Litvinenko one was with the CPS within two. He points out that the case employs eight detectives and that last July, Asst Commander Yates promised a preliminary report by September; six months on and we're still waiting. Kettle draws a parallel with Kenneth's Starr's somewhat ruthless and arguably partisan pursuit of Bill Clinton. I suspect that if delays in concluding the investigation continue, such suspicious questionings will intensify.

Comments:
Does seem odd that Yates of the Yard is taking so long. Morse has cleared up far more complex cases in under two hours and still left room for the adverts! Still I guess the chance to quiz some interesting and well know faces rather than the usual run-of-the-mill villans must make the temptation to spin it out for as long as possible hard to resist.

It's odd how right on people who would normally write off the police as fascist pigs suddenly think they're wonderful because they're after TB and his chums! My enemy's enemies are my friends and all that dangerous stuff...

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