Sunday, July 11, 2004

Did Blair really wobble that much?

NO question as to what the main story at the moment is. The suggestion that Blair was talked out of resigning last month is a beauty, whose importance is only borne out by the race by cabinet ministers to distance themselves from it. A small industry has already grown up producing weird conspiracy-ish explanations. One that has some official support is that the whole story was somehow cooked up to make Blair look nicer. A strange argument - if we give the impression that I'm on the point of giving in, they'll love me again. Doesn't sound too likely.

Apparently, Blair was persuaded by the love of a good woman not to throw it all away - whoops, by the intervention of four ministers. It should come as no surprise to see which ones - John Reid and Charles Clarke, ex-Kinnockites who have taken over the role of being closer to Blair than any others from the "special republican guards" like Alan Milburn. Patricia Hewitt - another of the old Kinnock team, and one of the first to retool. Tessa Jowell is a deep Blairite anyway. Everyone involved is now involved in the complex task of both denying anything happened and also confirming that they did indeed go to see Tony B - after all, if they hadn't offered him a shoulder to cry on (even though, of course, he wasn't crying) they wouldn't be proper Blairites, so they can't deny it! British Politics suggests that someone was trying to make a major demonstration of loyalty by putting out the story. Well, it's an explanation, I suppose. Maybe all those Big Intervention banners had some effect, eh.

During the course of Friday, I'd consumed two national newspapers, BBC radio and TV news for breakfast and after dinner, some overseas news sources and a swag of blogs. Binge newsing. The next morning, I didn't listen to the BBC, and although I read part of the Guardian on the way, I was utterly foxed when members of my family greeted me with comments about Blair going. They seemed to think from the Big Intervention banners on this blog that I'd known something about it. I didn't even know it had happened. They, though, had listened to Today that morning. Moral: If you don't listen to the BBC, you know nothing.

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