Monday, May 08, 2006

Blair should stay

Following the disastrous local body election result for Labour here in the UK, some sniping leftists in the Labour caucus are trying to encourage Tony Blair to resign (and so is the Daily Telegraph ). This follows from his Cabinet reshuffle that promoted Blairites and demoted supporters of Gordon Brown. Blair is adament he is not setting down a timetable for him stepping down, because if he did it would give his opponents in Labour the chance to slow down reforms so that they don't happen before he goes.
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It is clear that Tony Blair sees a handful of individuals, such as Prescott and Charles Clarke as being responsible for the general lack of confidence in Labour, and that he also sees Gordon Brown as gently undermining his premiership (as Brown wants as long a chance as possible to build up momentum for the next election), when he is now almost explicitly calling for Blair to step down. He promoted John Reid as new Home Secretary because he believes he could challenge Brown for the leadership closer to the election, and that needs time (although he vehemently denies wanting anyone other than Brown for that role).
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It is also clear that the “New Labour” project is now unlikely to have a history of being implemented further beyond Tony Blair – old Labour is rumbling underneath and their slobbering fat dribbling tax keen socialist ways can’t wait to come back. Not for them choice in education, or confronting Islamist terror, but higher taxes and more money for union dominated state services.
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The Daily Telegraph claims Blair hanging on will be a hindrance to completing his reforms – I think it is the only think left that will ensure they will happen. I don’t want to wait and hope that David Chameleon Cameron might win the next election and might have some spirit of free-market reform in him.
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For all his faults, and Blair has many – he was elected in 2005 to be Prime Minister for an unprecedented third term, and has a greater mandate than Gordon Brown to remain so. Blair should hang on until around a year out from the next election, then he should announce his retirement and give the Labour Party a few months to get a new leader. The left can then clamour and try to get attention, and hopefully by then the Conservative Party will be something worth supporting.
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Britain did not elect Gordon Brown to be PM, it elected Tony Blair – he ought to serve out his term and implement the reforms he sought to implement, not pander to the whimpering, simpering old leftists that kept the Labour Party in oblivion for eight years. Those vile socialists will have many years to contemplate life in the House of Commons when they help hand the Tories victory in 2009/2010.
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There is a simpler reason for keeping Blair on - he is a lesser threat than Gordon Brown and the longer he stays in, the more likely the Labour left are to act like the fruitcakes they were in 1983 and lose next time around. A lot of Britons are socialists and would have been half contented had the UK fallen under the Warsaw Pact after WW2 - most socialism in the UK now comes out of local government.
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oh and why is a libertarian concerned about keeping a Prime Minister who has helped ever erode civil liberties in the UK, and run a spin based government that covers up and obfuscates in ways that taught Helen Clark much of what she knows?
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Two reasons:
1. Blair's education reforms, giving schools independence and being able to decide their own curriculum is the greatest hope British education has had for a very long time. It is a huge step forward that will be hard to reverse, and will help produce schools that compete, innovate and start to think about how best to meet the needs of students, not meet the needs of bureaucrats in London - and Britain badly needs that;
2. Blair understands the war on terror as I blogged about late last year following his speech at the Labour conference (which his Labour detractors might note that he won):
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"He declared, in no uncertain terms, that the so called “grievances” of the terrorists have to be exposed for what they are – the use of 21st century technology to fight the religious wars of the dark ages – their attack on 9/11 was an attack on our way of life, on the values of modernism – it is NOT about Afghanistan or Palestine.
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He cited how awful Afghanistan was under the Taliban, and how the terrorists and their supporters used Afghanistan and now use Iraq as excuses for waging their war of hatred on modern civilisation. He stated how the UK presence in Iraq is welcomed by the democratically elected Iraqi government, and the UN, and the UK could NOT sit back and let other countries carry the burden. He is unashamedly proud of the British role in overthrowing Saddam Hussein, and providing Iraq with a freer democratic government – and it is time to finish the job, confront those who want Iraq to become a terrorist run state and spread liberal democracy to Iraq.
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This is light years ahead of the mealy mouthed pragmatism of Clark and Brash on this issue, Clark happily lets NZ free ride off of Australia and the US for defence – Brash knows better, but panders to the mindless anti-Americanism that braindead journalists and the Michael Moore sycophants adore.
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You see, Blair does not give one inch of credit to Al Qaeda or any other terrorists for their behaviour. He does not surrender the fundamental morality of Western liberalism –a liberalism that protects individual rights (albeit inconsistently), that guarantees plurality of speech, guards against extreme abuses of power and welcomes reason, science and diversity as being the beauty of what humanity is. "
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When Blair isn't good, he is cringeworthy, but when he is good, he is great. Labour will not produce another like him for some time, and Cameron pales in comparison with his slithering around the political spectrum collecting votes wherever he may find them. The war on terror is very very important, and while I do not support the growing risk of misuse of powers by the state to fight it - Blair understands why it is important - this alone, is why I believe he should stay, for now.

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