Murdoch offers Blair a timetable
“Febrile,” is how one of the sages of the British political scene described the mood at Westminster to me on my trip back to England. The slightest twitch from members of the New Labour hierarchy sparks off fevered speculation about the date of Tony Blair’s departure. Every political issue from the future of Britain’s nuclear ...
"Febrile," is how one of the sages of the British political scene described the mood at Westminster to me on my trip back to England. The slightest twitch from members of the New Labour hierarchy sparks off fevered speculation about the date of Tony Blair's departure. Every political issue from the future of Britain's nuclear deterrent to public sector pensions is now seen almost solely through the prism of when Blair will leave Downing Street.
One of Blair’s key backers has thrown another couple of logs on the fire
Blair has said that he won’t fight the next election, due by 2010 at the latest, but that he intends to serve a full term. He’s also promised to leave ample time for Brown to bed himself in. These two positions are clearly incompatible and so the press analyzes every event for hints as to when the removal vans will turn up in Downing Street. Even with the World Cup dominating the headlines, there were still several outbreaks of departure fever during my recent visit.
No government likes to go to the polls at the last minute—there are no fixed terms in Britain, so one of the governing party’s major advantages is surprise. In all likelihood, this means that Blair would have to go by the fall of 2007, at the latest. But at the moment, that looks on the generous side, with the papers confidently predicting that Blair will announce at the Labour party conference this September that he’ll leave in May 2007, the tenth anniversary of his arrival in Downing Street. Then again Blair has had more political near death experiences than Rasputin.
More from Foreign Policy
America Is a Heartbeat Away From a War It Could Lose
Global war is neither a theoretical contingency nor the fever dream of hawks and militarists.
The West’s Incoherent Critique of Israel’s Gaza Strategy
The reality of fighting Hamas in Gaza makes this war terrible one way or another.
Biden Owns the Israel-Palestine Conflict Now
In tying Washington to Israel’s war in Gaza, the U.S. president now shares responsibility for the broader conflict’s fate.
Taiwan’s Room to Maneuver Shrinks as Biden and Xi Meet
As the latest crisis in the straits wraps up, Taipei is on the back foot.