Uprising of the poodles?

If you haven’t been following UK politics recently, you can be excused, cos its been dull. The main story has been “when will Blair go” and “will he name a date”. My reading of this has been, why should he, when no-one has the guts to push him out. Yesterdays news was that the Sun (dubious low-iq semi-porn paper with a large readership and hence influential, hence seems to get more that its fair share of leaks) reported that the date would be next may; this was interpreted as being “given the wink” by Blair since he didn’t deny it. So far so dull and much the usual slimy politics.

But today: excitement: the Grauniad (non-dubious high-iq no-porn :-( paper with smaller and less influential readership :-() reports: Blair faces crisis over resignations… Tony Blair today faced an implosion of his authority after seven government members resigned in protest at his refusal to publicly name a departure date. They are fairly minor people, true. Possibilities: they have summoned up the backbone to do what they think is right despite the consequences (unlikely). Or, they have seen which way the wind is blowing and want to show loyalty to the new regime (more like it).

Or am I too bitter and cynical in my old age?


  1. #1 Janne

    Or, like mid-level professionals in any organization, they see the end of their workplace (whether through elections or layoffs doesn’t matter), and are getting out while the getting is good.

    And if this is anything like the corporate version, these are probably the most talented, most flexible, most clearsighted of the bunch that are leaving – the ones that have the easiest time to find a new position and turning the situation into an upward career move. Exactly the people you would have wanted to remain while you got rid of their less talented counterparts.

  2. #2 Carl Christensen

    As a “yankee” I honestly think that overall, the British system is better (more representational) than the US “winner-take-all” system. However I think being able to directly elect the “top person” is much better over the ruling party quibbling amongst themselves to find the top rooster. Can you imagine what total nutjob the Republicans would really have as President if it were just up to them (as “majority party”) to pick him? Believe me, it would make Bush seem “left wing.”

    And I don’t see any evidence that any alternate candidate with a chance of making it would do anything other than continue to kow-tow to the US; does anyone really think Brown or Cameron would tell Bush to stuff his war and bring the troops home ASAP etc?

  3. #3 James Annan

    But in the USA at least the winner usually got a majority of the votes cast: in the UK, I don’t think that has happened in decades.

    Japan is going through a similar process to the UK right now. It’s an interesting contrast – the outgoing PM has hardly suffered any loss of authority, he named his date ages ago and everyone just kept in line. Like the UK, it seems wrong that the PM can be changed mid-term by party members. But at least in the UK we get to change the PM occasionally in an election! If Japan wasn’t such a convenient military base^W^W^W strong ally for the USA I suspect that its one-party-rule system would have come in for some scrutiny…

  4. #4 Adam

    “Like the UK, it seems wrong that the PM can be changed mid-term by party members.”

    Wasn’t it known that he would step down sometime this term before the election though? Anyway, part of the point of the UK system is to elect your local representative, followed by the party. Theoretically (yes, I know), the leader shouldn’t be pwoerful enough (e.g. dictate the policies) to matter *that* much.

  5. #5 Kapitano

    “no-one has the guts to push him out”

    To push Blair out, someone needs to stand in a leadership election against him. Anyone who does this and fails essentially destroys their career in politics. The only MP who has the support (maybe) to move against Blair is the chancellor, Brown – and he expects to be leader when Blair steps down anyway.

    The last time a British PM was pushed out was 1992, when the Tory party forced out Thatcher. It took 18 months of open attacks from her own collegues, and endless deals between potential sucessors and their supporters to do it. Plus a big economic recession, dozens of scandals about sex and/or money, lots of public protests and some riots.

  6. #6 Steinn Sigurdsson

    Hm, I take it you missed the infamous Grauniad “so, should serious newspapers like us publish gratuitous bondage photos of naked women, like this one?” issue?
    I don’t think it actually helped their circulation though.

  7. #7 Carl Christensen

    that’s why I love “Private Eye” over here, to keep all the press in line. I wish the US had a version of it, but I guess it wouldn’t mesh without a national circulation paper other than pap like USA Today. I guess any media scrutiny in the US is basically the right-wing nutters screeching about the “liberal media” (and oddly recently screeching that a right-wing-written 9/11 TV show was being “censored” for showing the truth!)

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