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Is Blair now in real trouble?

I am no expert on the general state of current events, national politics, etc., so I will (try to) keep this short. Basically, I was watching This Week on BBC1 last night, and they (Michael Portillo, Diane Abbott, Andrew Neil) were saying that Tony Blair is in real trouble. We have become so used to Blair being badmouthed by his lefties that this time we might be missing that it may actually matter.

I believe that the underlying story is that the Conservatives are now in such unprecedented disarray, or are thought to be, that the lefties now reckon they will have a five-to-maybe-even-ten-year run of doing their worst before the voters come to their senses and switch to someone else – someone else dull, sexually bizarre, bald, embarrassing, in a word Conservative, but someone else. Whether the lefties are correct about this isn’t the point, it’s what they now think. The same underlying fact explains why Labour now feels that its stealth taxes don’t any longer need to be so stealthy. Blair’s problem is that he has done such awful things to the Conservatives that the Conservatives no longer function as a threat to wave in front of his lefties, the way they have since the mid-eighties until about three months ago. In other words this could be another of those “sea changes” you read about, the last one being when Labour got its act together in the late eighties. Now the Conservatives are regarded as more hopeless than ever before, and the lefties are getting bored with merely humiliating them. That’s no fun any more. They want some lefty action.

Glenda Jackson (Oscar and bar but now also MP) did a very dramatic soundbite type speech in the Commons yesterday, along the lines of: “I’m not ashamed of my Party. It’s my government I’m ashamed of.” The times they may be achanging.

There’s to be a big demo tomorrow in London against the “war”, and it may actually be quite big.

Portillo (who does very well on Newsweek by the way – he is now the one true Conservative heavyweight performer, in my opinion) reckoned that if the UN doesn’t oblige with another anti-Saddam resolution Blair might be f*%*ed. Only Chirac can save him, quoth Portillo. Which, it occurs to me, is not only an extremely bad position for Blair, but also for Britain (i.e. for all of us anti-EUers).

Chirac: we support your Guerre, you support EUrope on everything else. Blair: okay.

Parenthetically, it was also much discussed that the New Labour reputation for spin, culminating in that embarrassing “report” that was cut and pasted from something on the internet and then doctored embarrassingly, has resulted in our government simply not being believed about all this Heathrow security flapping. Just when they really need to be able to face the cameras and say this is for real, and be believed, they are being accused of using the Army as theatrical stage props.

Are you allowed to say at the end of a posting that you don’t know if any of the above is true, but that in the meantime it sounds like it might be interesting and important? I hope so, because I just did.

7 comments to Is Blair now in real trouble?

  • Tom

    I think he is in trouble, and the Tories are benefitting from it – if only in the near term – but as much as it pains me to say it, I admire Blair for the stand he has taken. I believe that the long-term benefits to Blair’s steadfastness on this issue, in the form of closer links to the Anglosphere nations, and greater scepticism here about France & Germany, are considerable.

    I mean, the chances of Britain now joining EMU are closer to zero than for some time past.

    I watched Ian Duncan Smith and Oliver Letwin on the telly the other night criticising the government’s handling of its PR about Heathrow etc. They both came across as very serious, thoughtful and constructive. Whether this translates into eventual higher poll ratings, god only knows

  • Martin Adamson

    It really depends on how the war goes, I think. Even if the second resolution is blocked by All Weaseldom, if the invasion is quick, relatively clean, and the troops are greeted with Liberation of Paris style enthusiasm (without the shagging, obviously) by massive crowds, then Blair will be hugely vindicated. Not that he will get any credit from the sullen and resentful left.

  • Malcolm

    About Heathrow: suppose, for the sake of argument, we accept that there was a genuine threat, a clear and present danger. Suppose that all those police and troops were busily searching for a known bad guy, like the climax to the Fourth Protocol or something.

    Can someone explain to me what earthly use it is having *tanks* there? It’s not like Al-Qaida is going to invade with a light armoured division.

  • Brian Micklethwait


    Alex Singleton has just pointed out to me that the TV show in question was This Week on BBC1 rather than Newsweek on BBC2. I have corrected the original.

  • John SF

    Malcolm – Re: Usefulness of tanks.

    Movie Scenario 1:
    Bad guys with home-made ‘armoured’ van type thing, roll-back roof and short range SAM’s career onto perimeter area of Heathrow.
    (Ignore for the moment how they get there.)
    Rifles at long range fire at van, fail to neutralise bad guys before they get a couple of missiles away.
    Cue: multiple exploding Jumbo jets.

    Movie Scenario 2:
    As above but with baby tanks.
    Baby tank puts a few 30mm rounds into van.
    Problem goes away.

    Think up other scenarios at your leisure.

  • Ruester

    For my part, as an American, I would much rather see Tony Blair go down the tubes politically than see Britain subsumed by EUrope, and that is saying a lot given my extremely positive view of Tony (in international affairs, of course. I am shockingly ignorant of domestic UK affairs). I really think that the Anglosphere has pulled together in high style, and that has frightened Weaseldom into incoherence.

  • I want to go on record with my hope that Tony Blair can survive this crisis because I’m afraid that he is the only thing that is standing between us and a takeover by the hard-left.