Thursday, September 07, 2006

a beautiful suicide

We are living through a little slice of history. Not too major, significant, none too stretching in mental capacity, but history all the same. For Tony Blair has finally changed his mind for the last time. "Full term" has now become "sometime in the next year". He may well change his mind again. For Tony has become the Prime Minister watching his control, his daily news plan, slip through his hands as history as often shown through the corridors of time. I reacall Geoffrey Howe's quote, which features in the fantastic Peter Hennessy book The Prime Minister - TheOffice and its Holders since 1945.
Margaret Thatcher's tragedy is that she may be remembered less for the
brilliance of her achievements than for the...recklessness with which she
later defended her own, increasingly uncompromising views. The insistence on
the undivided sovereignty of her own opinion - dressed up as the nation's
sovereignty - was her own undoing.
As with all British Prime Ministers, life ends in tragedy. Not one of Her Majesty's recent Prime Ministers have left Downing Street with a smile on their face, gloss on their records, shine on their history. Tony Blair sold the Iraq war on a false prospectus and has watched his controlled governance of the country slip through his grasp ever since. The great tragedy of watching this slow motion car crash is this career politican is now drifting down a long slope towards greater distrust, and dislike.
As ever with such a simple notion as Blair falling on his sword is complicated by the glacial movement of the United Kingdom unwritten constitutional machinary. The Boundary Commission for England has yet to finish its report, lagging behind Wales but ahead of Northern Ireland, meaning an early election held, say, tomorrow, would be on old boundaries in two parts of the United Kingdom, and new boundaries in the other two. With the current opinion polls as they are, the next parliament could well be a hung parliament. If the current state of the Prime Minister's office in limbo, the very real chance of a hung parliament, and turnout not likely to push over 55%, this could be a tasty slice of history indeed.