Blair in Trouble...
June 11, 2004 5:22 AM   Subscribe

The UK local elections have taken place, and for the first time ever forced the ruling Labour government into third position, with their worst showing in history. Is this just a mid-term blip, or the culmination of the huge Iraq backlash that will topple the government? With Bush in trouble too, will any of the warring leaders be left come November? And can the Big Intervention website topple Blair himself?
posted by wibbler (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The thing about Tony Blair is that he'd previously said that he'd quit if he became a liability to the Labour party. Nowadays he says that is for the Labour party to decide. What he should realise that Labour will never win the next general election with him in charge. If he really wants his party to win, he should quit as leader as soon as possible to give his successor the best possible chance of gaining another term.
posted by tapeguy at 5:48 AM on June 11, 2004

Meanwhile over in Australia, Mark Latham, the Labour Party leader, has persuaded Peter Garrett, the former singer for Midnight Oil to run for parliament.

Peter Garrett's support will support should help to unify Greens and Labour to beat Howard.

The Bush administration recently indulged in some serious hypocracy down under... after making a stink about a comment by Kerry claiming that he received supporting words from foriegn politicians, Bush, Powell, and Armitage made thinly-veiled threats to Australians about what the U.S. might do should Latham beat Howard and withdraw Australian forces from Iraq.

There is reason to suspect that these threats could backfire on the Bush administration and actually help Latham. The Bush administration's overt bullying has guaranteed that the Australian election won't *just* be about Iraq, but about Australian independence itself.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:17 AM on June 11, 2004

More issues to consider...

Right now, U.S. casualties are 833 dead. If losses continue at a rate of about 2 US soldiers a day, we should see the thousandth dead soldier in Iraq right around September, which should put a damper in any bounce Bush may get after the Republican convention.

Also, Ramadan should begin around mid-October. If this Ramadan is anything like last one, the rate of attacks in Iraq will double in the weeks leading up to the election.

And of course, there's this year's hot new Halloween costume idea from Abu Ghraib. Add in damage from the CIA/Wilson scandal, and we could be talking about the perfect storm...
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:40 AM on June 11, 2004

Interesting that Latham is using the Tony Blair blueprint for power with reduced Bushism.

I decided a long time ago that I'd vote LibDem as there's no way I'd vote Tory (long memory) and TB is a lying shyster who didn't have the balls to stand up to Bush. The UK needs to move on from a 2 party system.
posted by i_cola at 7:47 AM on June 11, 2004

I turned 18 two months ago, so this was the first election I have voted in, but like i_cola I decided a while ago that Lib Dems are the way forward.
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:13 AM on June 11, 2004

Orange Goblin: I'm in exactly the same situation (turned 18 in April, voted Lib Dem). Weird. I'd like to think that this means more and more young people will vote the same way, but most people I talk to about it don't seem to know any other parties exist apart from Labour and the Conservatives, or refuse to believe that voting for a third party could ever be a sensible thing to do. Then again, I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in my circle of friends who actually bothered to make the walk down to the polling station and mark the box...

Oh yeah, and I should probably say that if Labour replaced Tony Blair with someone like Gordon Brown or John Prescott then I'd definitely consider voting for them in the General Election. With Blair in charge, no way am I ever voting Labour, even if it means we end up with Michael Howard as PM.
posted by reklaw at 11:33 AM on June 11, 2004

Labour will never win the next general election with him in charge.

if the Tories were more presentable, I'd agree with you.
they're better off now than they were with little Billy Hague, but really...
they have extinction written all over them. their demograhics are indeed scary
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on June 11, 2004

congrats orange goblin and reklaw!

Will they dump Blair to stay in power? And the UKIP is who--anti EU?
posted by amberglow at 4:04 PM on June 11, 2004

I'm very pleased with this humilation for Blair, but I feel sorry for the real progressives in the Labour party. Still, how did they let their party get highjacked by George Bush?

I don't know much about the Liberal Democrats, except that they are against the war in Iraq. Can anybody fill me in on what they are all about and what their prospects are?

posted by sic at 4:08 PM on June 11, 2004

Typically, the Liberal Democrats are pro European integration, constitutional reform (ie, proportional representation not '1st past the post'; reform of the house of lords), regional issues (hence their strength in the celtic fringes and the west country), Human rights, civil liberties - eg, gay rights; anti 'class rhetoric', anti dogma.

Often assumed by the electorate to be the 'Nice' Party, they are renowned for dirty tricks in local elections, flirting with extremists on the quiet. They have a knack for the spectacular by-election victory mid term which likely as not returns a fresh faced 25 year old as MP to Westminster, generating column inches of good publicity which is harvested for the next election cycle.

They've been around along time, and may even survive the Labour Party, if, as I suspect, their century long tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum act with the Tories expires in the near future. They grew out of the Whigs in the 18th Century, comprising dissenters in the main, and havent lost that ability to be a stone in the shoe - sometimes appearing left of Labour (who in fact have a strong 'conservative' streak in them) on social issues (eg tax, education). This may sometimes be posturing for electoral gain, as they have almost no chance of forming a government this side of the ice cap melting (partly because they are too reasonable to be distinctive as ideologues; partly cos they get sucker punched by Labour party leaders whenever they get a sniff of power - see Blair/Ashdown, 1996; Callaghan/Steel, 1977)
posted by dash_slot- at 7:13 PM on June 11, 2004

I wonder if Blair is cursing Bush? (and i still don't get why every prime minister goes along with whatever stupid shit we do--since Thatcher at least)
posted by amberglow at 8:51 PM on June 11, 2004

most people I talk to about it don't seem to know any other parties exist apart from Labour and the Conservatives

I think many people see elections purely in terms of who forms the government. When I speak to people about voting I point out to them that while the Lib Dems can't win there would be advantages to Labour having a reduced majority in the house. Many of Labour's more controversial legislation has barely been voted in even though they have a huge majority. With the Lib Dems having a bigger share of the house, policy could be rejected or substantially changed.

Anyway, I'm glad that Blair's on the ropes but I really don't know who I favour to take over. If they get rid of that prat David Blunkett then they'll probably get my vote.
posted by dodgygeezer at 11:29 AM on June 12, 2004

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