Friday, May 05, 2006

Blair Loses Boro's - Looses Bombs?

Blair losing boroughs in London may signal Britain loosing bombs over Bushehr in Iran.

Successive British governments have reduced the power of most city councils to the point that they probably envy the autonomy of the Iraqi government. But under cover of yesterday's local elections, Tony Blair's cabinet reshuffle may be moving the UK closer to yet another idiotic war at the behest of George W. Bush.

While some of the demotions in the cabinet shuffle were understandable because of the scandals surrounding the ministers being axed, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary had not been the focus of any headlines. That leaves the suspicion that he was axed because of the small print in what he has been telling the media. He had said that it was "inconceivable" for military operations against Iran.

If you check the ever-informative sound of silence, this is not something that the Prime Minister had been saying.

There is a poetic justice here. One of the reasons that Blair had sacked Robin Cook as foreign secretary was to remove an obstacle to his war plans over Iraq, and his successor, poor Jack Straw is now paying a similar price. A newly appointed minister, whether Straw, in the run-up to Iraq, or his successor Margaret Becket, in the run up to Iran, is not in a position to block the wishes of a Prime Minister who is so cocky and self assured that while firing others, has overlooked the one big cabinet change that could have restored Labour to popularity-his own resignation.

One cannot but help suspect that it is that arrogance which is costing him and the party so dearly. While there are nanny-state issues, like the identity cards Labour is introducing, which erode its popularity, and while it has dangerously alienated its own base in the unions and among workers, one of the interesting things about the results of the local elections is that Labour did not do nearly as badly as many people thought it may.

There are several reasons: one being an incompetent opposition-indeed, between the Liberal Democrats and the Tories, two incompetent oppositions. The other is that in the primary task of a government, Labour has done quite well in a social-democratic way. Almost everyone in Britain is better off, and what is more, the people in the formerly depressed industrial regions are much better off, not least because of major flows of government spending. For example, there is still not a single Tory councilor in Liverpool or Manchester.

Much of this is due to Chancellor Gordon Brown, who has managed to assuage the bankers while increasing state spending on traditional Labour objectives. But he has wisely stuck to his economic knitting, waiting for the blade to fall on his rival, Blair

He has not uttered a word against the war in Iraq, let alone against one in Iran, and in his own way he is as fond (or fondly delusional) about the special relationship with Washington as Tony Blair.

But aware of how unpopular George W. Bush is with the British electorate, not to mention Tony Blair, all Brown has to do is to keep his head down to be the beneficiary of Blair's overreaching if he joins in an attack on Iran.


Paul DeRienzo said...

See Ian's interview with Let Tem Talk's Paul DeRienzo & Miss Joan Marie Moossy b'cast on Manhattan Neighborhood Network 8 PM eastern every Tuesday.

The Let Them Talk interview: Ian Williams, UN correspondent

Lyagushka said...

Ian, I am not so sure of parts of your analysis here. Labour are deeply unpopular and normally it is the Lib Dems who reap the benefits in local elections, which didn't really happen this time. Sadly, while Ming has shown himself to be a formidable debater, he just does not have that 'quality' that marks him as a leader- and it certainly showed.

I am not so sure Cameron's campaign was quite as bad as you say here. I think a lot of people are still very suspicious of his volte face (green credentials and more of a social conscience- not really the prvince of the conservative party)and it the elections may have come a little to early for him to benefit from his new touchy-feely approach. That said, given all the scandals that have surrounded Blair and his accolytes, I was surprised they didn't do much worse- but it wasn't a great turn out and they may have had an influence on how it turned out.

The point you raise regarding Shaw is very, very interesting. Listening to Straw throughout the build up to war with Iraq was a painful experience as you could almost sense him squirming while trying to present the party line. I wonder how much he really supported that war, let alone Mk II of the same. Blair, like Bush, seems so drunk on power that I believe he would do anything to leave his blessed historical 'legacy'. I cannot understand their respective mental states given the mess that Iraq is, but it seems that they feel some 'macho' desire to prove themselves by adding another country to the mess.

Wouldn't it be nice if Straw really told us what happened, but I guess I can dream....

This is my first visit and I am mightily impressed...will be sure to return, and thanks for a stimulating post !

Rick Burgess said...

a small point but Robin Cook resigned on principle before the Iraq war, he was the only cabinet minister to do so, he was not sacked,

Deadline Pundit said...

Rick Burgess is right about Robin resigning on principle-but he resigned as leader of the house, to which he had been demoted when fired earlier as Foreign Secretary. And of course, that it is the same downwardly mobile career path that Jack Straw, his replacement as foreign secretary is now following.

Phoenix Woman said...

This explains Blair's freak-out, as detailed in the Indy, over Brown's rather mild (and utterly truthful) comments on wanting to avoid a situation like that which obtained when Maggie Thatcher was finally booted. (Maggie, of course, having followed the path chosen by Blair of trying to make sure she held onto power by keeping the number of possible -- and palatable -- replacements to as close to zero as possible.) Blair's now apparently told Brown that if he keeps up this insubordination, he can forget about getting any help from Blair in becoming PM. (Though at this point, wouldn't Blair be more hindrance than help?)