Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Going, going, going???

Been away from the interwebs (away from the news actually) for most of the day. Quite surprised this evening to discover that it had all kicked off. I picked a bad week to be out of sync with the rest of blogland but real life does occassionally intrude unfortunately.

So, you'll probably be reading this tomorrow (Thursday) when I'll also be mostly away from the webs. Almost anything could have happened by then.

At the moment, it looks like Blair is planning to make his intentions clear(ish) by saying that this'll be his last party conference as leader. It also looks like that isn't going to be enough for a sizable section of the party.

As well as the planned declaration of a timetable, the current strategy from Downing Street also appears to include an assault on Gordon Brown; Blair's current difficulties are all Brown's fault it seems. (Remember, nothing is ever Blair's fault. That's official.) Martin Kettle, who takes turns with "Sir" Michael to be Blair's megaphone in the Guardian, lays this out in all its brutal glory. It's really an article written almost exclusively for Brown and the rest of the Labour Party but it's interesting to the layperson all the same. This is the key section:
Let's assume that Gordon Brown's coup works and that he now drives Tony Blair from office much earlier than even the reduced timetable to which Blair is now reconciled - in other words that he forces Blair to quit any time between now and early 2007.

The legacy of that will be threefold. First, it will leave a certain amount of individual bitterness at the top, which will mean that some Blairites - perhaps even Blair himself - will finally feel emboldened to tell the world (even if the world isn't interested) what they think about Brown and the way he has operated over the past 12 years.
I'd call that a thinly veiled threat. Minus the veil.

That sort of thing from one of Number 10's favourite tame journalists tells you everything you need to know about the state of the relationship between Blair and Brown.

But it's actually formerly loyal Blairites who're really rocking the boat this time as I and a large number of others have pointed over at Kettle's post. The fact that Blair thinks this can be sorted out by sending out his goons to castigate Brown is just another sign of his increasingly delusional worldview.

Fortunately, there are growing signs that the Labour Party has had enough. And about bloody time. Now get on with it and finish him off. No-one wants eight more months of this.

Who should be the new leader? At the moment, the stifling influence of the Blair makes judging the potential candidates impossible (although I am absolutely sure it shouldn't be Reid. Look at his eyes; he's proper scary.) When Blair goes, a proper contest is what's needed.

It should be a bit like the Tory one... no, scrap that. Rather than a beauty contest, how about the candidates actually discuss like policies and stuff. Call me hideously old fashioned but I've always thought that policies are what politics is supposed to be about.

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