For someone renowned for having decent political antennae, Tony Blair really seems to have lost it with regard to his future. His response today to ongoing speculation about how long he will stay as Prime Minister has been to say, well, it’s not me speculating – The Guardian here. I’m sorry, but this just is not good enough. The rumbles of discontent are clear for all to see; while Blair might not want to speculate, it’s clear that everyone else is waiting, wondering, gossiping, and importantly, dividing and demoralising the Labour Party and the government while we wait for his decision. Whether Blair likes it or not, those calls are just going to get ever stronger.
I hate to see all of this happening. I admire Blair, I’m fearful of Brown, especially on EU issues, but Blair simply has to set a timetable for his departure very soon. Until he does the government cannnot succeed in getting any policy message out, and the Labour Party cannot start to work on preparing ideas and election campaigns for the future. For me, this is not a matter of the person. It’s a matter of strategy. And the keep-them-waiting strategy from Blair is currently a disaster.
I think that he hopes he can get people to settle on a departure date around May 2007. Then with the little wiggle room he has, carve out a positive initiative (maybe completion of N. Ireland peace process) to go out on a high. Terrible what some members have done to Blair. The state our Party use to be in. It’s now seen as model for Progressives abroad.
OK…..I suspect you agree with me that it will take the Labour party about 10 seconds after Blair finally goes before it starts kicking itself for not realising what it had while it had him…
Sorry, but I think the government looks quite like a dead duck at the moment! Or at least one seriously suffering… And yes, he’s right that nothing will be possible once he names the time. But better that – and soon – than this horrid ongoing limbo.
Don’t you think he’s right, that the minute he names a day, he (and the whole Government) is instantly far more of a dead duck than he and it is now? Surely despite the problems it’s obviously causing in the Labour party, doesn’t he have to hang on, if he wants to have any sort of Government to continue to lead?