Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tick Tock

It seems that the cabinet has finally agreed on the details for the smoking ban in England. This doesn't affect me directly because it's a devolved matter and the Scottish Parliament has already decided to implement a smoking ban in Scotland. The ban up here is going to be more stringent than the one in England with far fewer exclusions.

Personally, as a liberal minded smoker (hopefully soon to be ex-smoker), I find myself unable to decide how I feel about these bans. On the one hand, it seems like they're another step towards a puritanical nanny state and I'm certainly opposed to that. On the other though, I don't see why bar staff who don't smoke should have to endure the smoke of others. What about their rights? I'm well and truly on the fence on this and I'm not expecting to be climbing down anytime soon.

That's not really what I wanted to write about though. What interests me is that there were difficulties in finding an agreement acceptable to the Cabinet concerning the English ban. When did you last hear of policy announcements being delayed for this reason? As far as I remember, you'd probably have to go back to the Major years to find the last time it happened. We all know why this is the case: Blair rules like a King. If there is no agreement in Cabinet, he makes the decision and the cabinet are required only to add a sheepish "yes boss".

Not anymore though. For a wee while now, I've started to see hints which might indicate that Blair's bloody hands are slipping from the reins of power. Up till now it wasn't really anything I could point a finger at and say "I believe this is the beginning of the end of Blair's time as Prime Minister". Up till now. Well, I'm going to say that this very public cabinet disagreement is the beginning of the end of Blair's time as Prime Minister. I don't think he'll last more than a year now. I'm sure he would like to, but I don't think his party will allow him any longer than that. His cabinet colleagues are starting to plot and plan for what's going to happen after he's gone and the self-interest gene, which is so prominent in our politicians, is about to rear its ugly head. The clock is most definitely ticking.

Of course that doesn't mean anyone should take it for granted that he'll go within a year. It's just my opinion. And I, for one, will be continuing to call for his resignation until the very moment he leaves Number 10 for the last time. Once that has happened, the campaign to have Blair brought before the ICC will have a far greater chance of success.

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