Anorak News | Tony’s Lonely

Tony’s Lonely

by | 3rd, November 2005

‘FOUR more years of Tony Blair? If today’s headlines are any pointer to the Prime Minister’s future, Tony should spend part of today updating his resume.

‘I’m right behind you’

“Decline and fall,” says the Times’s headline. But the Blair empire will not crumble over night. Like all great civilisations, it will be chipped away at brick by brick.

Chip! There goes David Blunkett. As the Times says, the Work and Pensions Secretary walked into the wilderness yesterday, resigning from the Cabinet for the second time in a year.

Chip! There goes Tony’s majority. It’s down to just one from 66. As Blunkett was taking his guide dog for one last walkies down the corridors of power, the Government’s Terrorism Bill was being shunned by Labour rebels.

As the Times reports, 33 Labour MPs opposed Blair’s call to make glorifying in acts of terrorism a criminal offence. Though not defeated, the result of yesterday’s vote is not exactly a glowing endorsement of Blair’s leadership.

Over in the Telegraph, the paper’s front page makes much of “one of” Tony’s worst days in office – the Guardian says it was his worst ever, surpassing the day Peter Mandelson resigned from the Cabinet for the second time in March 2001. “Blair’s power drains away,” says the Telegraph’s front-page headline.

The Telegraph’s sketch writer, Simon Hoggart, dallies by some of the less salubrious bars in Westminster, and hears rebellious MPs singing ‘one vote, one vote!’, like a football chant.

But Blair didn’t get where he is today by being thin-skinned. His skin is tanned and as thick as Cherie’s wallet.

So rather than castigating Blunkett for his mistake in not adhering to ministerial rules, Dave gets the PM’s backing. “He goes, in my view, with no stain of impropriety against him whatsoever.”

Course not. That’s why Blunkett resigned from his job. Because he’s done nothing wrong. Can’t argue with that. Just as no-one in their right mind could have argued when Blunkett resigned his post as Home Secretary.

Out of duty, or because it just wants to gloat, the Telegraph reminds us what Blair said that time: “You leave government with your integrity intact.”

But this was a bad day for Blair. As the Independent succinctly puts it in its headline: “Blunkett quits on Blair’s day from hell.”

It looks grim for Tony. And how he responds will tell us much about the man’s drive to carry on.

There might well be a “whiff of mortality about the Prime Minister”, as the Telegraph’s leader says, but he’s still more alive than the Opposition. And David Blunkett’s career in politics…’

Posted: 3rd, November 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink