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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Blair in trouble confirmed

The Daily Mirror echoes the BBC's observations that Tony Blair is fast becoming a lame-duck and looking more and more unsound every day.

"A parliamentary Labour Party Blair ruled with a rod of iron for eight years is in open rebellion over health reforms, identity cards, withdrawing Incapacity Benefit from sick claimants and draconian anti-terrorism measures.

This week's plans to privatise schools threaten the mother of all rebellions, with one traditionally loyal minister admitting that he can't find a single Labour MP backing the proposals. He predicts a revolt bigger than the backlash against higher university fees. The splintering is an inevitable consequence of Blair's unprecedented decision before the last election to announce his retirement prior to the next election. With damaging details of a dicky heart and £3.6million retirement home about to emerge, it sounded a good idea at the time and got him through a tricky period

[...]Blair's harassed officials in the No.10 bunker played King Canute and tried to halt the tide of shocking headlines earlier this week - including those about Cherie Blair and an Aussie cancer charity"

Assuming this isn't just deliberate government spin sent to every news outlet for some other nefarious purpose, such as to warm up the seat now for Gordon Brown (which it may be) then this could be quite serious. On the one hand, you can interpret Blair's usage of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's rhetoric over Israel as a desperate attempt to bolster support, particularly from the remaining factions of the Murdoch-zombified public, but once bitten twice shy. Blair's threats of military action against Iran were way too much, too knee-jerk, and came too soon on the back of accusing Iran over interfering in Iraq without proof, and damaging revelations strongly pointing to British SAS soldiers staging terrror attacks in Iraq (which was spun by Blair's aids into the usual British Bulldog drivel to the Sun newspaper). You will also notice how quickly Blair lept into discussing military action with the neocons, reminding us like a dark omen, exactly where his priorities and agenda still remain.

No matter which way you look at it, it seems that the only reason Blair is around today and could have even an ounce of political strength left in him is because of the London bombings. Blair was struggling politically before that, Robin Cook and other Labour MPs were regularly coming on TV saying he should go. Prior to that even, the election had wiped away half of Blair's majority, Blair himself was deemed such a liability that Labour spin-meisters wouldn't even allow his image on election material.

Reg KeysAlthough they won the election it was only with around 20% of the population actually voting for Labour, and it was also a symbolic disaster. George Galloway disposed New Labour poster girl Oona King (who still thinks she is an MP apparently).

Blair was put through the wringer at his own constituency result by Reg Keys, father of a son lost in the Iraq war who's speech (and Blair's exhibition) will never be forgotten.

However while the London attacks provided a little bit of political oxygen to Blair, and an interlude from the constant quesitons about when he was leaving it was never going to last. That little bit of oxygen is now fast running out.

Blair will try to use Iran now, as he used the London bombings but it seems extremely doubtful that Iran alone will make it possible for Blair to claw back enough political power to hang on for another full term, that is, without another terror attack for him to glue himself to. And probably quite a big one. If Blair actually is in some political trouble then those rogue elements within his political machine, the kinds that said 9/11 was a "good day to bury bad news" may well be grotesquely praying for just such an attrocity so that Blair may respawn himself once again.

In the meantime, back in the mundane world, everything seems to be unraveling for Blair, just as it is unraveling for Bush in the US, and perhaps that should be no surprise seeing as Blair's political fortunes are inextricably tied to Bush's.


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