Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spinning out of Office

It's not to late to save Tony Blair. A modest donation to the Prime Minister's legacy fund might still be enough to convince him to stay on and keep his election promise to last out the term of his government.

Alternatively, the world needs Tony rather more than we do at home and the US university lecture circuit does pay rather well - which is where I once met Harold Wilson -.

I rather wonder though how long Gordon Brown will last? The BBC are on message this morning talking about a "leadership" battle with Michael Meacher. Do they realise how silly this sounds? Is Gordon losing sleep over 'the fading Meachie'? Possibly not.

Interest rates will most likely rise today. In the final analysis, that's the only legacy that most people will care about.

North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale has just sent in his own impression of the Blair legacy. He writes:

"The decade of Blair is ending as it began - with the Prime Minister spinning his way out of office.

Blair is orchestrating his exit via a short cabinet meeting, photo opportunity, flight to Durham and announcement to his party faithful, to try to put a shine on the end of a disastrous third term of premiership. Nothing, though, can conceal the fact that this electoral decade, which began with great promise and popular hope, has terminated in the shroud of Iraq and with the cloud of the "Cash for Peerages" scandal hanging over this Prime Minister's head. A man who once criticised the probity of the Conservative party has found himself embroiled in Ministerial scandal and disgrace, the dishonest Iraq war dossier and political derision.

Blair has certainly helped to bring to a conclusion the Northern Ireland peace process commenced by John Major and he deserves credit for that but elsewhere in domestic policy as in foreign policy he has failed.

Despite Blair's 1997 promise that the people of the UK had "24 hours to save the NHS" he leaves behind a health service saddled with debt and overwhelmed by bureaucracy. The man who promised to be "tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime" has, as Prime Minister, presided over a doubling of violent crime and gun crime and a police service that is now paralysed by red tape.

The "economic miracle" is also unravelling. Blair's Chancellor, Gordon Brown, took credit for making the Bank of England independent but Brown takes the blame for destroying the best-funded pension provision within the European Union. As a result of a £5bn a year raid on pension funds many of today's pensioners have been short-changed. Additionally we have seen a raft of stealth taxes introduced and council tax has risen by a staggering 90% since 1997. Interest rates are now also on the rise and with massive personal debt and mortgage repayments that will impact swiftly upon very many families.

When the door of 10 Downing Street closes on Mr Blair for the last time, in July, he will leave behind for Gordon Brown, a man who has been a partner in the failures of Labour government, a chalice that is both poisoned and tarnished. The sooner this episode in our Island's history is brought to a complete end, the better."

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is the lecture circuit more or less lucrative than your after dinner speech circuit, Doctor. How much do you charge? I wonder if you will soon be feeding Thanet Council anecdotes into your script?

Anonymous said...

I bet DrM, sorry, CllrM doesn't get $11 million a year and the opportunity to spout anecdotes about sending young men to die in Iraq and Afghanistan or to mitigate the daily rising civilian death-toll.
The "hand of history" has, according to Blair been "on his shoulder." If there was any justice, it would be feeling his collar and carting him off to the Hague!

Anonymous said...

Try simon.moores@thanet.gov.uk

Anonymous said...

even better try

councillor-simon.moores@thanet.gov.uk

Michael Child said...

I once asked a council officer about councillors email addresses, here’s what he said, “The issues of Councillors using their 'personal' addresses was well
rehearsed within the Member Working Group.” I thought that perhaps he would not be familiar with The Lacedaemonian Ambassadors by Aubrey Beardsley so I quoted Noddy to him. No doubt soon we shall be able to communicate with Simon through what TDC officers refer to as the member portal.

stuart said...

With or without Tony Blair I think, hope and pray that it will be a long, long time before we have a Conservative government again!

Anonymous said...

I think it may take a lot more than ten years to undo the damage this clown has done to our country during his tenure.

Anonymous said...

Yes 2.38 Labour has done an amazingly wonderful spectacular job of running this country.......................................into the ground!
But cheer up at least Tony (international speaker) and Cherie Booth/Blair/Booth/Blair again (available for lectures) will be financially rewarded for all the many and varied sacrifices they have made for Britain.

Anonymous said...

Well it has taken the last ten years to put right the disasters imposed on this country by Margaret Thatcher, so...

Anonymous said...

Plus of course we had John Major earning an award for chivalry (from the Queen) which for him meant having an extra marital affair with Edwina Currie whilst preaching "back to basics" to the rest of us. Against that background, perhaps the Blairs don't look so bad after all.

And didn't Thatcher go to war with Argentina without a Parliamentary debate; a war in which she had retreating Argentinian sailors killed - bit like shooting someone in the back. Don't think she ended up in the Hague.

DrMoores said...

I think you are in pretty deep water with this one.

Extra marital affairs don't really have much to do with the macroeconomic state of the nation. In France, it appears to be expected of their political leaders.

The Belgrano was, I believe, an Argentinian cruiser that may have presented a threat to our armed forces at a time when a state of war existed between our two nations. It was sunk, very sad but that is what happens during war as you might have noticed in both Afghanistan and Iraq, where many thousands of non-combatants have died

Anonymous said...

And didn't Thatcher go to war with Argentina without a Parliamentary debate; a war in which she had retreating Argentinian sailors killed - bit like shooting someone in the back. Don't think she ended up in the Hague.

War is not something that is conducted under the Marquess of Queensbury rules. If you want to win you have to do what is necessary. If not you probably shouldn't be fighting a war and it's unlikely you will win.

As for the damage Margaret Thatcher inflicted I note that nuLabour has not repealed the legislation outlawing secondary picketing for example. Maybe you didn't live through the 70's so are unaware of this country going cap in hand to the IMF and having power cuts on a regular basis. I don't support everything that Mrs T did but she certainly brought britain back from the edge.

Anonymous said...

I like Blair. The country is in a fit condition, attempts to address problems with law & order have been made, huge amounts of money put into the NHS, taxes on things people use (don't use it and you will not be taxed)as for the war in the Middle East-a nasty business but to those who bleat "Its all about oil" I look forward to them using far less petrol and diesel and plastic packaging (products where oil has been used). Oh whats that? Too inconvenient? Who wants laughing boy Cameron in?

Anonymous said...

It is with smug satisfaction that the I watch the news over and over again. It is clearly a case of the King Rat leaving a sinking ship. The last time I felt this smug was........let me think...Oh! last Friday ! If there are any Labour Councillors out there that feel like crossing the floor (but won't openly admit it to their colleagues) I am sure Sandy Ezekiel could find an opening in his diary so they can discuss it !
Come on, face reality, you are a spent force, even your Leader and his side-kick Prescott are getting out while the going is good and what do you do to your worst enemy (Blair versus Brown) hand him a crap job (as PM) and dress it up as an honour !
I suppose my chance of becoming Lady Quex of Birchington are gone now, shame it probably would only have cost me a fiver !

Anonymous said...

A fit condition!!!! Has your medication worn off or have you been living in a commune for the last decade without radio, tv, newspapers or contact with other humans in the real world?

Anonymous said...

Nothing you can say 4.54 can spoil this day. Good riddance Blair, good riddance Prescott.

Anonymous said...

Dear 5:37 I agree, I agree, I was responding to 4:33 and any other delusionals!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3.48
Falkland Islands-British Sovereign Territory.
Iraq-Iraqi Sovereign Territory.
Have you worked this one out yet?

Anonymous said...

Be fair to Blair and realise what he has done for the Labour Party, even though his stewardship of the nation has been a shambles. The problem Labour always had, was 'one-term' only in office; it used to take the Nation about 5 years to realise what a shambles they created. This time it has taken the country 10 years to realise that it is just not the Home Office that is unfit for purpose, and we have to wait for 3 TERMS to run before they can be sent packing. As one who admires bull***t and bluff, the con trick has been marvellously executed and the Labour Party have Blair to thank for keeping their snouts in the trough for so long. So well done Tony.

stuart said...

Exactly the type of comments you expect to read on this site I suppose. I just think you all have short memories. The interest rate to 5.5% today, not 13 percent, or 15%.

Anonymous said...

Well, that makes everything alright then does it!
Make a sentence from the following... straws at clutching.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is clutching at straws, Anon of 10.03. Many of us would argue that the Blair-led Administration has scored a number of major achievements, from peace and stability in Northern Ireland, a stable and prosperous economy (which few critics expected when Labour were elected in 1997), a saved NHS (which despite present problems is streets ahead of where it was at the end of the Tory era), through to ground-breaking (for the UK) legislation on diversity, equality and a range of other social issues, and many successful foreign policy interventions, such as Sierra Leone and the Balkans. It is wrong to let Iraq overshadow all of that, and wrong to conclude that social ills (crime, lack of respect) that have fallen from the Thatcher era could all have been addressed and remedied in just 10 years.

This said, expectations of Labour were higher, and I would agree that in some areas, they have failed to live up to their originally promised potential. And mistakes have been made.

Many on this blog will disagree with much of this. Perhaps best simply to acknowledge that just as there are many people who despise Thatcher and rejoiced at her departure (and, me included, will happily dance on her grave), there are many who feel the same over Blair's resignation. Ok.

To return to Dr Moores's comments about the unchivalrous Major. Firstly, we are not in France, we are in the UK, with a different culture and set of social conventions. Secondly, the point here is that whilst Major and his Ministers were preaching a moral code message to the country - "back to basics" - Major had been cheating on his wife through an extra-marital sexual relationship with Edwina Currie. He was a simple hypocrite - and hardly chivalrous.

To return to Dr Moores's comments on the Belgrano. Yes, bad things happen in war, but shooting a retreating enemy is pretty well down in the gutter. I think the international condemnation that the UK received, and the classsic, televised failure of Thatcher to answer questions truthfully about the incident mean that this was not "our finest hour".

On the suggestion that the Falklands was a more worthy war beacuse it involved soverign UK territory, Iraq is not the only "different kind of war". Have those of you who condemn Blair forgotten Operation Desert Storm - a Major jolly? And how many criticised the Balkans campaign? I wonder if part of the problem here is that the merits of a conflict hang dependently on whether we are winning or not.

Anonymous said...

A different view 11.03 item by item:
1. N Ireland.Tories brokered peace and Major handed over process already underway.
2. A stable and prosperous economy was in place for Labour courtesy of major's Govt and tory policies followed by Brown.
3.NHS at what cost and inefficiently done. MRSA and C difficile deaths in UK hospitals are a disgrace as is the neglect of geriatrics in NHS Hospitals. Your waiting list time to catch MRSA has been improved?
4.Committing British Forces to regime change in Iraq based on misleading the British people cannot be compared to a UN mandated liberation of Kuwait by Major.
5. Car manufacturers improved car security and improved security by householders with double glazing and insurance led security initiatives are the prime measures for the reduction in crime. Look at street crime, assaults with knives and gun crime; all up.
6. Major cheating on his wife, wow. Labour ministers cruising; DPM and Foreign Sec bonking their staff,just to mention a few as you think it relevant. What about lies on home loans, bungs from Formula 1 and now bungs from prospective ermine wearers. Labour has become the ultimate and hypocritical party of political sleaze but all you can bang on about is John and Edwina? Could you remind me who is the first ever PM to be questioned in a criminal enquiry?
7. The Belgrano? Yes, sad for Argentine sailors but hadn't Argentina just invaded British Sovereign territory. Are you really so naiive as to consider which direction an enemy ship is sailing as relevant in war; yes war!
8. As to Iraq, I thought we won the 'war'; the problem was that bush and Blair had no idea of how to win the peace. Just a further case of unjoined up thinking that has typified this Govt.
It is quite clear that it is my Labour Party right or wrong with you. Good for you!