The three most talented politicians in the last couple of decades that I know of have all been left of centre pollies though really vigorous centrists – Clinton, Hawke and Blair. Other politicians like Reagan and Thatcher achieved as much or more, but these guys seemed to have it all. Political judgement, charm, intelligence, guts (well I’m not too sure about Clinton – though he stuck it out when I thought he should have resigned having lied straigt to the camera.)
Anyway, they all came unstuck in their various ways – though Clinton hung on till the end. Blair is the most mercurial of all. I was a fan until he hitched his star to George W (talk about taking a risk), marched into Iraq and thus organised a slow train wreck for himself. Iraq was in Bush’s and Howard’s interest at the time, but for Blair it would have made so much more sense to have a low key invovement like Hawke arranged for us in the first gulf war. Anyway, I was reminded of my bemusement about Blair reading this blog post at the Guardian by Bernard Crick.
Remember the fall of Thatcher; her loyal colleagues just couldn’t stomach being bossed about, spoken for and bypassed any longer. They snapped. To paraphrase EE Cummings, there was “some shit they could not eat”. There was no conspiracy, just a breakdown. There was no leader in waiting; they actually held a genuine and unpredictable election.
And there is Parliament. A prime minister will fall who can no longer control the House. Of course a growing number will vote against almost any government measure in order to bring him down. So now they should. He has wilfully raised the stakes too high.
I, like many, sadly wonder why MPs in Parliament or the Cabinet have not rid themselves of Blair long ago.