Past his prime

“Call it a day? Darling, that’s a long way off.”

Thus spake Cherie Blair yesterday, uttering words that no doubt sent Gordon Brown into fits of apoplexy. Having hogged the news recently with his leader-elect speech, he’s been knocked sideways by Tony Blair’s commitment to spending four more years as Prime Minister.

I think Blair’s looking more and more like an ageing boxer these days. His best fights behind him, he’s now destined to get older and fatter and less likely to go the distance, but insists on getting in the ring for one more shot at greatness. All this Reaganite talk of “four more years” is a bit distasteful too, seeing as he promised at last year’s conference to step down. OK, he never actually set a date, but the general consensus surely favours sooner rather than later. As an advocate of electoral reform, this just makes me pine even more for fixed term elections and a stipulation of maximum tenure for our premier. Even Russia has this concept enshrined in its constitution.

So we have a strange situation for the three main parties in the UK. Labour faces the prospect of an increasingly drawn out battle of wills; the Conservatives are looking at yet another bitter and divisive leadership contest and the Liberal Democrats have an internal whispering campaign against their leader’s ability.

In the meantime, democracy loses. We’ll have a government eating itself whole; a weak, divided and rudderless opposition and a third party consumed with self doubt.


Centrist. Atlanticist. Dry liberal. Anti-totalitarian. Post-ideological pragmatist. Child of The Enlightenment. Toucan.

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10 comments on “Past his prime
  1. PH says:

    As I am away from base at the moment I had not fully realised that the Labour Party was having its annual time at the sea side but…. Every year it is the same with Blair and Brown. Brown gives a Primeministereal speech, the press goes into raptures about an imminent change in Leadership, the ‘speech of a Prime Minister’ etc etc and then two days later Blair says he is staying and thats it.
    By the way what were Blair’s best fights (apart from winning elections) … I must have missed them.

  2. Citizen Sane says:

    It was a figure of speech. That said, however, regardless of one’s personal opinion, he did take a (flaky) vision and stamp it upon an often recalcitrant party still stuck in the 1970s in many ways – abolition of Clause IV, embracing the centre and a market based economy, Kosovo, tuition fees, going into Iraq. Personal opinion on these issues aside, they were big fights, your withering sarcasm notwithstanding.

  3. ph says:

    But I do not care about what goes on in the labour party any more than I care about what goes on in the Little Wittering On Sea WI, it is an internal matter. Kosovo maybe, but it is a completely shagged ‘country’ now.
    Tuition fees – lets pointlessly educate the dim and charge them money for the privelege of wasting 3 years of their young lives.
    Embracing a market based economy – do you mean simply copying the Tories. He was two decades too late.

  4. Citizen Sane says:

    Well neither do I particularly. But these debates have shaped our government and law making process for the last 8 years, so it’s a bit silly to just say “I’m not interested in Labour party affairs” – these were national (and international) issues, not just inner party squabbles.

    In any case, your “arguments” are irrelevant to my point, which is this: he has ceased to be the force he once was with the electorate and within his party and he should go.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think Blair should go, I mean I cant stand the guy but its great to see Gordon Brown get more and more wound up. Hopefully they keep this up for a couple of years, and then Blair hands over just when people realise that the Brown’s economy isn’t all its cracked up to be. Then we just sit back and watch Mr Charisma lose the election. Brilliant.

    Well I can dream can’t I?


  6. Citizen Sane says:

    I agree, it is quite amusing to watch Gordon Brown (same initials as you BTW. . interesting) looking angrier and angrier.

    But as for your dream. . . well, yes, I’m sure we’ll all be drooling at the prospect of David Davis or Liam Fox in 2009. I can hardly wait.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yeah its not much of a dream really is it, the Tory’s certainly lack a contender. I know most people hate Michael Howard, I’m no fan myself, but at least he could land a punch. I think the only comparable person now is Kenneth Clarke but I think he may be a bit too pro-european and too old. Shame really.

    Oh well, 10 more years in the wilderness beckon. Lets hear it: 10 more years, 10 more years, 10 more years etc etc.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, I hope I haven’t hijacked your thread. It started of on Blair/Brown/Labour and I’ve dragged it onto the Tory beauty contest.

    So what about Blairs grovelling apology (4 times!) for his lads roughing up that German Terrorist? Personally I think he had it coming, saying what he thinks at a party conference like that.


  9. Citizen Sane says:

    No problem. Very topical anyway, with the Tory conference next week and the leadership contest. I think Ken Clarke is definitely the people’s choice – who couldn’t like the affable bloke? I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it next week.

    Walter Wolfgang had it coming. What does he think a Labour conference is anyway, a place for debate?

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think there is an important point to be made Tory beauty contest-wise: Everyone’s talking about Ken Clarke’s age against Blair’s relative youth, but what we really need to think about is Clarke Vs Brown – which is, in my opinion, a great match which promises a lot of entertainment.

    David Davis isn’t as bad or old fashioned as some like to think, but I still reckon it must be Clarke. If, to quote his campaign slogan, ‘It’s time to win’!

    I have only one request: please, please, please – under no circumstances – Ian McAskill’s “brother”, Sir Malcolm Rifkind.


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