Monday, May 08, 2006

The Hunch is Back

I have to admit to having recently developed an embarrassing fascination with Michael White at the Guardian. At times, his writing astonishes me in ways I've yet to come to terms with.

I'm afraid I don't know enough about such things to know exactly how cosy Mr White's relationship with Downing Street is but it's probably fair to say that he's not on the Number 10 shitlist.

Last Wednesday, Michael wrote an article about Charles Clarke which ended with this pearl of wisdom.
[M]y hunch remains what it has been throughout, that Clarke is not an easy target for the pack and will survive both this week's drama and next week's reshuffle.
Oh dear.

To be fair, it was only a "hunch". There are, I think, two ways to consider this "hunch". The first is that Mr White genuinely believed this to be the case and that his relationship with Number 10 is not quite as cosy as his writing sometimes suggests. Perhaps he didn't actually know what Blair was thinking about Clarke.

The second perhaps more likely option is that Blair changed his mind about sacking Clarke and this has made Michael look silly and exposed. The reason I say that this might be the more likely option is that this is what appears to have happened to the Prime Minister himself; he, remember, assured us that Clarke was the right man for the job just two days before he sacked him. Coincidentally that assurance was also on delivered on the same Wednesday.

It's the consistency and integrity of Blair's political judgements which make him such an asset to the party and the country... er, wait a minute...

Yes, anyway, the reason why Blair said what he said is fairly obvious; he didn't want to sack Clarke and thought he could ride out the controversy, perhaps with the help of a few sympathetic journalists who could be persuaded to tell us that Safety, despite knowingly presiding over a continuing shambles for some considerable time, wasn't going anywhere.

When this sort of approach goes wrong of course, politicians, and sympathetic journalists, can end up looking rather foolish. I'm not saying that's how events unfolded in this case (although I imagine Mr White feels slightly foolish for being wrong on such a matter, whatever the reason). I really haven't the faintest idea.

There's not really a point to this. As I said, I seem to have developed something of a fascination with Mr White.

Today, I noticed that Michael has repeated another of his long standing hunches.
My hunch remains, as it has always been, that Blair will battle on until next year, make a point of passing the 10 year mark and then quit.
This, I also find fascinating. I very much hope he's wrong (by about a year and a bit - what a surprise) but it's an interesting prediction all the same.

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1 comment:

. said...

White is a curious hack - well known for punching Alistair Campbell, one of those who boycotted Thatcher's press conferences, yet he's become a lackey of Blair over the years. Maybe he's just thinking of his retirement, but it's a shame that he's gone this way, much like some of others on the Guardian.