Monday, March 27, 2006

Is Blair trying to wriggle out of leaving?

Tony Blair has stated that he thinks it may have been a "mistake" to announce he would not be serving a fourth term in office. From one perspective he's possibly right - the concept of term limits doesn't really have a tradition in British politics (although in other countries there are cases of politicians announcing their retirement years in advance - for instance Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has announced he will retire from active politics in 2011) and all this announcement has done is to bring speculation to the fore. On the other hand much of that speculation exists anyway and Blair's ambiguity about just when he will retire is the worst of all worlds. It doesn't help when it falls to other ministers to offer potential times, leaving us possibly facing the horror of another two years.

Is Blair trying to claw his way out of his promise? It wouldn't be the first time he'd go back on his word and were he to get a fourth term (Heaven help us!) he could retire after the London Olympic Games (and Old Man Brown would be even less likely to succeed) and possibly have the climax to his premiership that his current output has so spectacularly failed to provide. Statements like this can only focus attention on the promise and perhaps make it easier to generate some kind of public support for a retraction.

And if he does seek a fourth term, it's essential that a good alternative is presented to the UK electorate. The country desperately needs change for the better.


Richard said...

I suspect that he will have departed by the end of the year. He may have wanted to leave after the 2005 election, but couldn't due to the 7/7 bombings. Then, the Conservative Party and Liberal Democratic Party elections got in his way. Now, he hopes, if nothing more comes his way, he'll be gone within the next 9 months, according to Number 10 insiders.

Tim Roll-Pickering said...

I'd be surprised if any talk about his going in 2005 was anything more than a deferral tactic to avoid an immdiate downfall. The education bill could have been a chance for Blair to retire after having led his government and aprty in pioneering a radical reform - instead he turned into a version of Ramsay MacDonald who hasn't yet been expelled from the party that he did more than any other to get it to where it is now!


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