Wednesday, September 06, 2006

May be not

The Sun this morning proclaimed that Tony will step down on 31 May 2007.

Frankly, if he makes it to the end of this month, it will be a miracle.

The resignation of a junior minister and 10% of the Parliamentary Private Secretaries is damaging enough. The uber-loyalists like Sion Simon and Khalid Mahmood have turned their coats and joined the rebel alliance and even David Milliband - once touted as Blair's own Mini-Me has come out with a fawning tribute to Gordon Brown. Ministers and senior politicians are going radio-silent, there are rumours flying around of plotting and secret meetings, furious rows and even that Jack Straw is considering resigning. That would be the final blow for Blair - a senior minister standing down. Those tectonic plates are shifting at an unprecedented speed.

If Blair is able to ride this storm out - and that is a huge if, even though Tony is a political survivor - he is dead in the water as Prime Minister. Everybody will know that he's going sometime in the next twelve months. The political agenda will be irrelevant and government will stultify - why try anything new when the next leader might have an entirely different view? We can expect months of the Tories counting down until Tony leaves. His power will drain away swiftly. As Paul Linford points out, there are still so many shoals ahead, any of which could finally sink the Blair premiership.

So much hangs on the next few hours and on Tony's statement tomorrow.

To beat my metaphor to death, the high-BMI index lady is front and central on stage, bathing in the welcoming applause of the audience. She is poised and about to let rip.

Is it the swansong or have we another act to follow?

(As an aside, my readership stats have gone through the roof again - just like they did during the Liberal Democrat leadership election. Hi to all those readers from the parliamentary servers. Feel free to add your comments or send some decent gossip to those of us in the provinces. )

Amid all this excitement, it would be easy to miss a good news story. The OECD has revised its forecasts for UK economic growth this year - upwards.
The OECD's chief economist, Jean-Philippe Cotis, said the Goldilocks situation - where a country combines strong economic growth with low inflation and is neither too hot nor too cold - had traditionally been applied to the US in the late 1990s. "But in fact, without any fanfare, the UK has achieved this. It is a Goldilocks economy. It is in fact surprising how stable the UK economy has been. It is doing very well."

1 comment:

Political Umpire said...

I think Tony's "within a year" statement will go down as his last piece of spin - it allows him anything up to 364 days, but won't be technically inaccurate if he goes tomorrow (which, by the way, I hope he does:

Incidentally how do you tell how many hits are made on your blog? I would be intrigued to know how many visit my little effort