Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bye Bye Tony

So it's official - Tony Blair has said he will leave office within a year, and that the party conference in 2 weeks will be his last.

What does this mean for England? What does it mean for the world?

I predict Blair will not last a year. Trying to arrange a graceful future exit from politics is like trying to take a graceful crap: once you've made it clear you're going to go, it becomes in everyone's interest for it to be as quick, clean, and quiet as possible.

I predict the Labo(u)r party will divide horribly over Iraq, with the possibility of a coalition government, if conservative votes can be used to put a pro-Iraq Labourite in Downing Street. I predict, in a word, chaos - not the orderly transition of the sort that brought John Major to power 16 years ago.


Anonymous said...

Blair is LBJ of the UK. He did enormous good for Britain by restoring order to an out of touch and poorly lead Labour party.

His devotion to the Bush Middle East Agenda was a huge mistake. Blair claims he was trying to be a moderating influence on Bush. If that's the case then Blair misunderstood two things. 1) He mistook Bush for someone who gave a damn. 2) He badly over estimated the strategic influence the UK has on the US.

Iraq will dominate Blair's legacy and it's unfortunate.

As for what's next, I doubt Labour will actually split over Iraq. The electoral system is a major impediment to that. Besides, if you were anti-war Labour voter, would you split your party knowing the result would be a Tory PM who is pro-war or a Tory/Pro-war Labour coalition? What would be the point? You'd still have the war and you'd have Tories running around undoing all the domestic policy stuff that Blair set up that you actually liked.

Most importantly, there won't need to be an election until 2008 (I think) so Gordon Brown will have time figure a way out before then. This will go easier for Brown if the Democrats win here in 2006 and a Democratic majority in the House and/or Senate is able to pressure Bush to begin a phased withdrawal.  

// posted by RBR

Anonymous said...

Here y'go - a timeline of what's due to go on in politics over the next few years here. We have local elections May next year, and as you can see at the very bottom of the page, they don't have  to have an election until 2010. Although it'll almost certainly happen sooner than that - never a good idea to leave it until the last moment.

There's been absolute chaos here - I don't know how much you hear of exactly what's going on, but there've been multiple resignations within the government, a letter written to Blair from about 17 normally-loyal Labourites requesting his resignation, and it's getting messy, with Clarke having a go at Brown etc. Granted, most of the resignations were Parliamentary Private Secretaries, an unpaid post at the lowest rung of government, but they are generally known as 'arse-clenchingly loyal' (to quote a colleague), and of course Tom Watson went too - the junior defence minister, bit of a surprise... 

// posted by Pombat

Anonymous said...

A 2009 or 2010 election is even better for Labour. Assuming Brown is leader, he'll have a long time to wait for the US to begin its own pull out of Iraq.

I'll be Labour politicians will stop providing so much cover for American Republicans. They'll have to be hoping above all else that the Democrats win in 2006 and 2008.  

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

If the Labour party can't figure out a successor, there is the specter that an anti-Iraq Labourite could be supported by the LibDems in a strange coalition, or new elections could be called for with no confidence. I know it soudns remote today, but from a distance it seems that Blair is wrong when he says there are no ideological divides in the Labour party. Of course, the LibDems need to find somebody without serious problems...

I just can't believe Blair is handling this so badly. 1. Find a successor. 2. Groom him (or her). 3. Agree on a date. 4. Find some reason for the change other than "I suck and am hated." 5. Go w/ dignity into the Lords.



// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

There are absolutely ideological divides in the Labour Party. There are still left overs of the old "Looney Left" who "lead" Labour to defeat after defeat against Thatcher. Of course they're resurgent now because they smell weakness from the moderate, New Labour faction. So Tony is "protesting too much."

But here is the dilemma of the Loonies. The LDP is anti-war but it's not like they're to the LEFT of Tony Blair/Gordon Brown on most issues. Can they afford to split the party and possibly lose and almost certainly not gain a better deal on just about every policy other than Iraq on the slight chance they could cobble together an anti-war coalition with the LDP?

And all this when it is far from clear that there will be a serious challenge to Brown at all. And if Brown is the leader, he'll be able to wait for a couple of years for the Americans to pull out on their own before he has to chose between staying in power and keeping the Americans happy. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

I might've been away from England for too long, but I'd be very surprised if after all the brouhaha Brown didn't succeed Blair.

There are ideological issues, but at the same time British voters aren't just voting over Iraq (at least they didn't last election). The big pro-Labour argument I heard then was that they managed the country better than those pinko LibDems or retrograde Tories would. (It didn't hurt that Michael Howard has that evil Cheneyesque look.) 

// posted by Bob