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  1. #1
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    Blair in Trouble?

    Blair's Labor Party took a pounding in the recent local elections. In response, the Prime Minister sacked his interior minister, Charles Clarke, and demoted Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to party leader in the Lower House of Commons.

    Calls for Blair to resign are growing louder, but not likely to succeed.

    Can any of our friends across The Pond shed some light on Blair's political situation?

    Do you see any connection between Blair's and Bush's political problems or are local factors (like scandals) most important?

    Edited to add news story link:

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe...ons/index.html
    Last edited by manise; May 5th, 2006 at 04:02 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by manise
    Blair's Labor Party took a pounding in the recent local elections. In response, the Prime Minister sacked his interior minister, Charles Clarke, and demoted Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to party leader in the Lower House of Commons.

    Calls for Blair to resign are growing louder, but not likely to succeed.

    Can any of our friends across The Pond shed some light on Blair's political situation?

    Do you see any connection between Blair's and Bush's political problems or are local factors (like scandals) most important?
    Blair made his position very difficult by announcing just before the General Election that gave him his third term in office, that he would not run for a fourth term. The admission has proved quite destabilising for the government. Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the Exchequer) is jumping up and down in the wings waiting to become next leader of the Labour Party and thus the next PM. There are some who think that such a transfer of power without reference to the electorate is not a good thing. Others just can't wait to see the back of Blair and shoehorn Gordon into No 10.

    Blair is suffering from an anti Iraq war backlash - the Labour Party has traditionally been the home of pacifists and the like - and a general anti-American, and particularly an anti-Bush feeling among the electorate from all sides of the political spectrum. Although, I have to admit that the strength of anti-Americanism surprises and alarms me, and although I am not a Labour Party supporter (whether lead by Blair or Brown) I have to say that I admire Blair's loyalty to Bush and to America and his refusal to let his policy be influenced by such anti-feelings.

    A large part of the losses the Labour Party suffered in yesterday's local elections can be put down to two weeks of relentlessly bad headlines - deserved ones, at that. The Home Secretary (Charles Clarke) has managed to let foreign criminals, who should have been considered for deportation having served their sentences, out on to the streets, and now he can't locate a whole bunch of them. Nor are these petty criminals: they include murderers, rapists, paedophiles among their number. He had to go. Patricia Hewitt (Minister for Health) is presiding over an NHS that has never had more money thrown at it, but which is facing a financial crisis so bad that doctors and nurses are being sacked - more mismanagement and ministerial incompetence. And John Prescott, Deputy PM and Minister for Local Government has been relieved of his ministerial duties for having an affair with his diary secretary - and during work hours behind a half-closed office door, from what one can gather. Since I don't read the tabloids, I'm not too sure about the lurid details, so that's just what I have gleaned from the general media. However, it has made him a laughing stock - he's a bit of a bruiser, and not exactly the next Paul Newman, so people find it quite hilarious imagining him having his way with a not unattractive diary secretary 25 years his junior. Dirty old b****r, kind of thing. He has brought the Labour Party into disrepute and I don't think that just by stripping him of his ministerial role but allowing him to stay as Deputy PM, Blair has done enough to disassociate himself and his government from the mockery that Prescott has attracted, and will continue to attract. His tabloid nickname (one of them, anyway) is Two-Jags (because he has/had two Jaguars - the car not the animal!) Some tabloid wit has rechristened him Two-Shags (for anyone who doesn't understand the terminology, it's what he was up to with his diary secretary) and he's never going to live that name down.

    That's a bit of background info for what it's worth. Personally, I think Blair won't survive the full term - there's still another possible four years of it to run. He's been too badly damaged by the Iraq War and the atrocious outcome due to lack of exit strategy. And then there's Gordon Brown stamping his feet in the wings - he's worried that the economic outlook isn't as rosy as it has been, and he could miss the boat and never be PM if he doesn't get Blair out before the economy takes a real dive, which is not unlikely - bankruptcies are at record levels, as is personal debt and Government borrowing.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Most Brits are a bit sick of the antics of both major parties. Whilst Blair's Iraq stuff - lies, incompetency and all weasely stuff has not gone down a bundle with we punters - we also have a long memory in regard to some of the Tory stuff as well. {They are by no means in a position to 'cast the first stone', but that little thing won't stop them from trying of course. In essence while trust in Blair has plummeted, the Tory leadership has not been able to fully capitalise on it. The loss of 200+ local government seats was just a warning shot across Blair's bows at the moment. Local elections often bring out a 'protest' vote which does not carry over to the national elections. I think Gordon Brown will be rather impatient to take over the reins of leadership in order to take the heat off the party - at least for a while.

    Perhaps a more concerning outcome of the elections is the gains made by the British National Party; who have capitalised on fears and frustrations over the Immigration, Islam and Terrorism issues. I have noticed a marked rise in Islamophobia in the mainstream British community. Many of the other minorities seem to feel the same way about what has happened in recent years.

    ps. I wonder if 'disinterested' could just possibly be a Tory?????? I don't think the Tories would do any better given the real world that is Government - although I do recall one of Maggie's first actions on moving into Downing Street was to half top rate tax for her cronies, it was about two or three years later that she got around to taking a 'generous' penny off Standard Rate tax; and I think even that was done in 1/2 penny stages.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Great comments, disinterested and F&N.

    Why was Foreign Secretary Jack Straw demoted? Was he a sacrificial lamb for the anti-war folks?

    I'm constantly amazed by the failure of the Tory Party to capitalize on Labor's problems. Are there no Tory politicians with the personality and intelligence to give Labor a real challenge? I couldn't stand Margaret Thatcher, but the old hen had balls and no small amount of smarts.

    F&N, you mentioned the rise of the British Nationalist Party. I've noticed similar right wing gains on the European continent, particularly in Holland and Belgium. How serious is the BNP threat to the Tories? Could you ever foresee such a reactionary party taking power in Britain?

  5. #5
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    I can't see any extremist reactionary party actually gaining power, but what I can see is a situation where they may gain enough local seats to rattle the main party cages.

    Perhaps the nearest that we got to that was Oswald Moseley's fascist Brown Shirts before WWII - even then most of the population saw them for what they were - extremists and thugs. Mainstream 'Britishness' is in the main fair and moderate - it is something I have heard 'foreigners' comment on. Quite a lot of Americans including celebs have settled here as their main residency because of it. In the main we see shouting, demonstrating and yah boo stuff as not frightfully British; more the kind of thing Johnny Foreigner might get up to - what?
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

  6. #6
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by manise
    Great comments, disinterested and F&N.

    Why was Foreign Secretary Jack Straw demoted? Was he a sacrificial lamb for the anti-war folks?
    The best guess from what I've heard is that Blair is attempting a retrenchment. He wants to move his government away from the failed UN resolution that he insisted on before the Iraq War which happened on Jack Straw's watch. Also, I think he wants to surround himself with his most loyal henchmen - it is thought that Jack Straw is moving towards Gordon Brown and sees himself as a possible Deputy PM to him.

    I'm constantly amazed by the failure of the Tory Party to capitalize on Labor's problems. Are there no Tory politicians with the personality and intelligence to give Labor a real challenge? I couldn't stand Margaret Thatcher, but the old hen had balls and no small amount of smarts.
    The Tories got such a hammering in the 1997 and 2002 General Elections, and didn't fare an awful lot better in the 2004 G.E. that they are virtually having to rebuild the party from scratch. They have a difficult problem though - between Scylla and Charybdis (rock and a hard place is, I think, the modern jargon) because by reaching out to new voters with a Green agenda and a socially inclusive, caring sharing pseudo socialist agenda, they stand in danger of losing their core supporters - generally pro low tax, Euro-sceptic, and minimum government, while remaining unconvincing to those who prefer the socialist redistributive politics that Labour espouse.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by disinterested
    Blair made his position very difficult by announcing just before the General Election that gave him his third term in office, that he would not run for a fourth term. The admission has proved quite destabilising for the government. Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the Exchequer) is jumping up and down in the wings waiting to become next leader of the Labour Party and thus the next PM. There are some who think that such a transfer of power without reference to the electorate is not a good thing. Others just can't wait to see the back of Blair and shoehorn Gordon into No 10.

    Blair is suffering from an anti Iraq war backlash - the Labour Party has traditionally been the home of pacifists and the like - and a general anti-American, and particularly an anti-Bush feeling among the electorate from all sides of the political spectrum. Although, I have to admit that the strength of anti-Americanism surprises and alarms me, and although I am not a Labour Party supporter (whether lead by Blair or Brown) I have to say that I admire Blair's loyalty to Bush and to America and his refusal to let his policy be influenced by such anti-feelings.

    A large part of the losses the Labour Party suffered in yesterday's local elections can be put down to two weeks of relentlessly bad headlines - deserved ones, at that. The Home Secretary (Charles Clarke) has managed to let foreign criminals, who should have been considered for deportation having served their sentences, out on to the streets, and now he can't locate a whole bunch of them. Nor are these petty criminals: they include murderers, rapists, paedophiles among their number. He had to go. Patricia Hewitt (Minister for Health) is presiding over an NHS that has never had more money thrown at it, but which is facing a financial crisis so bad that doctors and nurses are being sacked - more mismanagement and ministerial incompetence. And John Prescott, Deputy PM and Minister for Local Government has been relieved of his ministerial duties for having an affair with his diary secretary - and during work hours behind a half-closed office door, from what one can gather. Since I don't read the tabloids, I'm not too sure about the lurid details, so that's just what I have gleaned from the general media. However, it has made him a laughing stock - he's a bit of a bruiser, and not exactly the next Paul Newman, so people find it quite hilarious imagining him having his way with a not unattractive diary secretary 25 years his junior. Dirty old b****r, kind of thing. He has brought the Labour Party into disrepute and I don't think that just by stripping him of his ministerial role but allowing him to stay as Deputy PM, Blair has done enough to disassociate himself and his government from the mockery that Prescott has attracted, and will continue to attract. His tabloid nickname (one of them, anyway) is Two-Jags (because he has/had two Jaguars - the car not the animal!) Some tabloid wit has rechristened him Two-Shags (for anyone who doesn't understand the terminology, it's what he was up to with his diary secretary) and he's never going to live that name down.

    That's a bit of background info for what it's worth. Personally, I think Blair won't survive the full term - there's still another possible four years of it to run. He's been too badly damaged by the Iraq War and the atrocious outcome due to lack of exit strategy. And then there's Gordon Brown stamping his feet in the wings - he's worried that the economic outlook isn't as rosy as it has been, and he could miss the boat and never be PM if he doesn't get Blair out before the economy takes a real dive, which is not unlikely - bankruptcies are at record levels, as is personal debt and Government borrowing.
    Holy crap... In Americal all those people would get promotions...

    The spin would be enormous.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    There's 3 good reason to dislike Blair.

    1. Iraq

    2. Iraq

    3. Iraq


    Did I mention Iraq?


    Although, I have to admit that the strength of anti-Americanism surprises and alarms me, and although I am not a Labour Party supporter (whether lead by Blair or Brown) I have to say that I admire Blair's loyalty to Bush and to America and his refusal to let his policy be influenced by such anti-feelings.
    Ah, democracy, aint it great?

    So lemme get this straight, you admire the guy for ignoring Britain's largest ever public protest before the war and the ongoing unease over the whole thing, even when he was exposed as going along with it despite the knowledge revealed in the D.S memo, because.... ?

    You have a thing for puppets? Warmongors? Opportunists who see profits and flag-waving while most of the population saw the horror of war looming?

    You know one thing that really, really sickens me? It's when I hear people defending the death and maiming of innocents on the basis "Well these things happen in war and such deaths are accidental".

    Yes, such things always happen in war. Always. It's obvious.

    That's why you avoid war whenever possible.

    That's why you cannot, truly, spout gibberish about such issues being "accidental" when there was nothing accidental, nor necessary, in declaring war on Iraq.

    Nothing accidental about it whatsoever.

    Which means every single one of those innocents was killed deliberately.

    Maybe not by the individual soldier or airman but certainly by the scum like Blair that sent them there. And no, unlike so many Americans the British as a whole never did and never will believe Saddam or Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 or had WMD for that matter.

    Blair is an embarrassment and should go.

    To a war crimes tribunal.




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  9. #9
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by FruitandNut
    Most Brits are a bit sick of the antics of both major parties.
    That's what I had heard, and yet the Liberal Democrats made no appreciable gain.

    Perhaps Britons are starting to turn toward the New Tories as the quickest way of getting Labour out of office?

  10. #10
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    I just heard on the radio that a letter is circulating among Parliament asking Tony Blair for a specific date when he will step down. Apparently they were going to present him with it, but then the shakeup occured, and in the words of the newscaster the letter is "still in draft form"
    We took risks. We knew we took them. Things have come out against us. We have no cause for complaint. Scott, found in his diary after the party froze in Antarctica

  11. #11
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    PM - Blair is harder to 'kill' than Julius Caesar with body armour. The left-wing hate him, but they know that the British voters have long memories of 'Old' Labour and the strikes etc.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

  12. #12
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by FruitandNut
    PM - Blair is harder to 'kill' than Julius Caesar with body armour. The left-wing hate him, but they know that the British voters have long memories of 'Old' Labour and the strikes etc.
    aye, the Torys are in quite an unenviable position. I dont know if it was mentioned here, or somewhere else, but Gordon is seen as next in command for Labour....is it permissible under law to have a change of power at the highest level without an election?
    We took risks. We knew we took them. Things have come out against us. We have no cause for complaint. Scott, found in his diary after the party froze in Antarctica

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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    I sincerely appreciate Blair's unwavering support of America, and I hope he lasts the remainder of his term.

  14. #14
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by PallidaMors
    aye, the Torys are in quite an unenviable position. I dont know if it was mentioned here, or somewhere else, but Gordon is seen as next in command for Labour....is it permissible under law to have a change of power at the highest level without an election?
    Yes, it is the Government that has been voted in, not the individual - so there is no 'change of power'.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Kevin, if you cannot see something wrong with the PM having more loyalty to American interests than his own electorate then I have to question what exactly you admire about such "loyalty"?


    P.
    "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."
    head of MI6

    "The Emory University study proves beyond a doubt that politicians and their acolytes - are lying morons."

    "We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it."
    Justice Jackson Nov. 21, 1945, Nuremberg

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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pibs
    Kevin, if you cannot see something wrong with the PM having more loyalty to American interests than his own electorate then I have to question what exactly you admire about such "loyalty"?


    P.
    I do not agree that he has more loyalty to the U.S. than to Britain. It is possible for a non-American to be patriotic to his own country, yet also support America, impossible as that may seem to you.

  17. #17
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    But as an elected leader tha is supposed to represent the people and knowing damn well the people disagree with supporting America's crusading and empire building?


    P.
    "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."
    head of MI6

    "The Emory University study proves beyond a doubt that politicians and their acolytes - are lying morons."

    "We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it."
    Justice Jackson Nov. 21, 1945, Nuremberg

  18. #18
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pibs
    But as an elected leader tha is supposed to represent the people and knowing damn well the people disagree with supporting America's crusading and empire building?


    P.
    It's not quite like that, Pibs. A lot of people, including myself, initially supported the war on the basis of what has come to be known as "The Dodgy Dossier" - which turned out to have been part cribbed from the internet and part misleading intelligence (or, more likely intelligence with a government spin). Thus, when we were led to believe that within 40 mins Sadam could aim a missile in our direction, and that he was developing secret nuclear capability, we supported the war on a self-defence basis. When the truth about the Dodgy Dossier became known, a lot of people who had previously supported the war, withdrew that support. Before that, the anti-war people were mostly Muslims and the pacifist type who would have voted to appease Germany in WW2 had they been around. Personally, I feel very betrayed by the spin that Labour used to justify the Iraq invasion. There was no truth in it. What people are just waking up to is the truth that this Labour government is ALL about spin and is incapable of implementation. It can reel off policies and laws and initiatives by the dozen, but it seems to be totally incapable of implementation - apart from where it was most undesirable - the Iraq war. Mind you, if it had been left to the Labour government to execute the war instead of just tagging on to America's shirt-tails, I daresay they couldn't have implemented that either.
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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    It's exactly like that and the fact you and a few others took awhile to notice doesn't alter it.

    I'm British too and was living in the UK at the time of the build-up and hard selling of this un-necessary, illegal, immoral farce which never even had a well-planned outcome let alone an exit stragedy if things went pear-shaped.

    I was in that march through London and while it has the usual Marxist hangers-on that always creep out the woodwork for any protest the most striking element was the wide variety of people. People who could see straight through the BS, could see the death and damage this would cause and wanted, if nothing else, to let the world know "Not in our name".

    Yes, the "dossier" was an old student's thesis copied word for word off the bloody internet and the Downing Street Memo proved things beyond all doubt - Britain (Blair) joined in for no better reason than "Well they're gonna do it anyway, let's put the boot in with them and see if we can share the loot".

    In other words, regardless of the public's opinion, he acted like the lowest of street thugs.

    The other justification of course is the euro, or at least the public's dislike of the thing. He's happy to prop the dollar up because in turn it props the pound up while the idea of the UK converting totally to the euro is unpopular. Then again it would be, with the massive but subtle demonization of the thing.

    Blair is nothing but Bush-lite, and contemptible for it.


    P.
    "The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy."
    head of MI6

    "The Emory University study proves beyond a doubt that politicians and their acolytes - are lying morons."

    "We must make clear to the Germans that the wrong for which their fallen leaders are on trial is not that they lost the war, but that they started it."
    Justice Jackson Nov. 21, 1945, Nuremberg

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    Re: Blair in Trouble?

    Pibs please recognise that Blair's current instability does not solely have it's roots in the Iraq war, this time last year he and his government were comfortably voted in again. I'm pretty confident and election next week would yield a very different result.
    - Quack

 

 
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