Monday, May 08, 2006

Mysterious ways of British politics – Tony Blair’s night of long knives

Would now be the right time for Tony Bair to hand over his position as incumbent UK prime minister to a fellow Scot, Gordon Brown, Labour party vice-chairman and acting Chancellor of Exchequer, or not ?. The answer is far from being straight-forward but it became very relevant after the Labour party suffered a heavy defeat in local elections in England.

On last Friday Tony Blair executed the most extensive overhaul of his cabinet since wining power in 1997, in order to refresh the momentum of his government after Labour’s party drubbing in the local election. One may describe as an act of Blair’s determination to stay in Downing Street. However, a poor election result triggered an immediate call from fifty prominent Labour MPs who demanded that Blair sets a date for his departure.

Blair in his purge sacked Charles Clarke as a home secretary (after a week of disastrous publicity to over his department’s failure to detain, deport or keep track of foreign former prisoners), moved Jack Strew to post of Commons leader and took away departmental responsibilities of deputy prime minister and daily icon in British tabloid press after his affair with 25 younger secretary, John Prescott.

What does that mean for Mr Gordon Brown? In British press it is widely seen that reshuffle means a significant boost for Mr Brown’s allies since they gained more important positions in the government.

A cabinet reshuffle was clearly one the last cards remaining in the hand of Mr Blair whose authority is visibly frying. Beneath the talk over sex scandals, loans-forpeerages and missing foreign convict lies doubts about the character and competence of Mr Blair’s government. It is a bit peculiar BUT for the first time in nine years voters have a genuine alternative in David Cameron’s Conservative party. On last Thursday local election the Conservative party won 40 per cent of the vote. Gordon Brown described the results as warning shot and said that renewal of New Labour must begin immediately.

But do you find any similarities with Slovenian political scene?


At 6:56 PM, Blogger Matej Avbelj said...

On the Slovenian political scene the knives are, unfortunately, much shorter and much more blunt.


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