« Home | Mirror, Mirror on the memo. » | Scum-watch: Contempt for contempt. » | Grauniad-watch: Shome mishtake, shurley? » | More raids. More surveillance. More lies. » | The evil of the unborn foetus, and other stories. » | Violently criminalising the "deviants". » | Blair or bust. » | That New York Times article. » | Scum-watch: Sickening speculation. » | Scum-watch: Criminalising an entire generation. » 

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 

Coup? What coup?

The cliche is that a week is a long time in politics. Today has felt like one.

Martin Kettle, one of the few Guardian writers to be considered a Blairite, or at the very least sympathetic towards him, has posted on Comment is Free calling today's resignations by Tom Watson and six parliamentary private secretaries a Brownite coup. The Sun, edited by Rebekah Wade, a close friend of Cherie Blair and Tony, as well as the likes of David Blunkett, has a completely craven and arslikhan leader variously insulting those who were distributing letters calling for Blair to announce his timetable to leave or to go immediately as "childish", "silly babies", "immature pygmies" and "having no brains". Coming from a woman exposed as a liar (over her denials of walloping her husband), a traitor (her disgraceful attack on MPs who voted against 90 days detention without charge) and a coward (she never defends her own stupidity to the media, instead getting subordinates to do so), that's a little rich.

One thing should be gotten out of the way first. This is nothing to do with Gordon Brown. No one believes that Sion Smith and Chris Bryant, who were the first to go public with their calls for Blair to name the date, have suddenly gone from being toadying Blairites to Brownistas. This is also not yet meltdown, as David Cameron has predictably called it. They've just finally realised, along with a lot of other members of the Labour party, that Blair is doing far more harm than good. His approval ratings are half of what Thatcher's were when she was forced out. To some, the refusal to condemn Israel's disproportionate actions in Lebanon and immediately call for an unconditional ceasefire was the final straw. To others it will have been the interview in the Times last Friday, coupled with his disastrous and derided policy plans on interfering with children before they are even born, which he revealed to the BBC.

Most of all though, it's just the simple horror of having to face yet another year like this year. Blair's delusions have risen to new heights, still convinced of his own powers in saving the world from itself. He still wants to make Israel and Palestine get along, all on his own. He wants to make certain that his New Labour revolution cannot be systematically dismantled. There has been scandal after scandal, all involving Blairites of various hues, one of which, the loans-for-peerages debacle, threatens to implicate him directly. His speech on "arcs of extremism" was Blair at his very worst, seeing connections between groups and countries where there are and were none. It was little short of President Bush's speech yesterday, where he compared Osama bin Laden's writings to those of Lenin and Hitler, which must have made Lenin roll in his tomb. To compare his ideas to that of the anti-semitic, laden, unreadable prose of Mein Kampf is absurd, but anything will do in the battle to try and convince both the American and British people that the threat from Islamic extremism is just as great as that from the Nazis and the Soviet Union, especially as the mid-term elections are coming up.

Downing Street knew full well that this was coming, and it did as much as it could yesterday to try and forestall it. The exact date of Blair's departure was leaked to the Sun, which has previously been given the dates of elections in advance. A letter saying that Blair had done enough to stay for another twelve months was organised by Karen Buck, MP for Regent's Park & Kensington North, which quickly gathered 50 signatures, mostly from Blair loyalists. David Blunkett has now been let out of the wardrobe he's kept in, telling Brown and his supporters to "back off", even though they don't appear to be directly involved. Finally, Tony Blair himself called Watson's decision to resign "disloyal, discourteous and wrong" even though both said very kind things about each other in their exchange of letters. As Bloggerheads notes, Blair's words are almost a direct echo of the Sun's editorial.

This certainly wasn't inevitable, or at least it wasn't until his return from holiday, where the heat had clearly affected his head (and hair) even more than usual. His position is now completely untenable. If Blair genuinely has the interests of the Labour party at heart, he'll resign forthwith. If he attempts to hang on, then this could turn into a bloodbath. Despite all the Blairite briefings, the blame will rest with Blair, and with Blair alone. Instead of Blunkett calling for Brown to back off, it should be Blair calling his dogs of war off. They've done enough damage to the party which so many down the years have put their dreams, however misguided, into that enough should be enough. If Blair goes now, then the election for the leadership can still be done and dusted before the party conference, with no resulting political vacuum in Westminster. If he refuses, then he must be forced out, washing of dirty linen in public or not. Anything else now will just confirm Blair's hubris and disregard for a party he has never loved.

Share |

Links to this post

Create a Link