that’s the only accurate way to describe what has happened to british prime minister tony blair recently. some labour MPs are resigning, threatening resignations, writing nasty letters– all to force blair to announce when he is stepping down. it is understandable if the UK was suffering from a bit of blair fatigue. after all, he’s been in office since 1997. this is just not the best way to transition to new leadership of the labour party. all this revolt is doing is emphasizing the deep fissures in the party between blair’s new centrism (“new labour”) and those who hold a starkly different view of foreign and domestic policy. this divide has always existed, but because of blair’s past electoral success, most labour MPs have grudgingly accepted what he’s done.
the war in iraq has caused the same damage to blair in the local polling that president bush has suffered here in the states. in the last general election, labour lost a huge number of seats in parliament, yet still managed to hang on to the majority, due to the inability of the tories to capitalize on perceived weakness. blair has survived so far, but when his party starts to desert him, that’s a sign that he’s in real trouble. it is also a sign that labour is headed toward chaos.
could they lose the next general election to the tories? i could see this happening. gordon brown may be a competent chancellor of the exchequer, but what do we really know about his ability to lead the country, or his willingness to continue blair’s reforms? we don’t know what kind of prime minister gordon brown would be. even with his experience in the current government, gordon brown is still an unknown quantity.
so what are the alternatives? david cameron (leader of the Conservative Party), doesn’t have any significant policy differences from blair. then there’s sir menzies campbell of the Liberal Democrats…who can’t be considered a serious challenger to either brown or cameron. if i was voting in the next general election, i would probably sit it out, because there are no desirable alternatives. maybe things will change in the next year or so.
gordon brown has been waiting for the opportunity to stand for tony blair’s job for years. he better hope that he will be running unopposed by any other labour challengers, or he might be disappointed yet again.