To comment here, please scroll to the end
15th November, 2006 – Opening of Parliament, House of Commons
End of an era?
The “eyes” have it … the ayes have it
The Last Queen’s Speech for a Pensive Tony Blair
If a picture paints a thousand words, this one is indeed a masterpiece.
Mr Blair is deep in thought. He seems to be miles away, thoughtful and yes, sad. Whereas Mr Brown is enjoying the moment. The present PM was probably considering his past and his future. For Mr Brown, only his future.
TELL US THE JOKE, CHANCELLOR
The Chancellor alone seems to appreciate the funny side of the Queen’s words at this moment. Wonder what amused this normally solemn man, when so many around him couldn’t see the joke.
The Prime Minister did not let his feelings get the better of him for long, and managed to bring himself back to the moment for the debate in the House. And what a memorable debate it turned out to be.
BLAIR ON TOP FORM
At the Queen’s Speech Debate, the PM did it again! He started and ended his speech with one of the most memorable displays of his political and oratorical dexterity of recent months.
Mr Blair has described PMQs as “a blood sport with me as the quarry”, but he continues to have no problem outclassing all comers, even an improving Tory leader.
In the Queen’s Speech Debate, he spoke brilliantly and off the cuff at the start in response to the opposition leader’s jibe about “hope”.
Mr Speaker, before I come to my speech let me just say to the honourable gentleman. He talked about twelve years ago. I remember twelve years ago. Our economy had just been through two recessions caused by this Conservative government. Today we have the strongest economy, the lowest unemployment, the lowest inflation, the lowest interest rates.
I remember twelve years ago, we had thousands of people waiting eighteen months just on an inpatient list, now we’re on the way to an eighteen week in and out patient.
I remember twelve years ago, we had kids being taught in crumbling school buildings.
I remember twelve years ago a Conservative government that had doubled crime. Right.
And if he’s talking about hope, let me just tell him something about hope.
Hope’s not built on talking about sunshine any more than anti-social behaviour is combated by “love” in inverted commas.
Hope is what a strong economy gives you.
Hope is what investment in the NHS and schools gives you.
Hope are proper measures to tackle the long term challenges.
Hope, true hope is about tough decision making and the right honourable gentleman has never taken a tough decison in his life …
[interruption and jibes] …
And now for my speech …
[more jibes] …
Yeah, yeah. OK, I may be going out but on that performance he’s not coming in.
The Tory leader sank back down in his seat under the Prime Minister’s class attack while Tory frontbench colleagues could only wear false smiles in silent reply. And the Labour benches roared and, if they had any sense, wondered too – why are we letting this man go?
But the PM wasn’t finished. Right at the end of his speech, looking straight at David Cameron, he said:
“At the next election it will be a flyweight versus a heavyweight and however much he may dance around the ring in the end he’ll come face to face with a big clunking fist, and be out on his feet, carried out of the ring, the fifth Tory leader to be carried out, and a Labour government still standing.”
I notice he didn’t tell us whose would be the fist.
I felt a bit sorry sorry for poor David Cameron, whose admiration for Blair is clear to see. Yet the Tories, as Cameron said, won’t be sorry to see Mr Blair go. And well they might feel that way. The Prime Minister wiped the floor with Mr Cameron and his colleagues.I don’t know how much proof people need about this prime minister’s political and communicative abilities, but it speaks for itself every time he gets up in PMQs.
Lame ducks never flew so high.
Is Gordon Brown the man with the “big clunking fist”?
Does Mr Blair know about it from personal experience? Or has their relationship’s ups and downs blinded us to the inevitable continuation of their “joint New Labour” project? Well that’s for Labour members to judge in time. Although since that day in the Commons, I have heard the PM say he will tell us in the future whose exactly was “the big clunking fist”. Can’t wait.
[Picture, above: Brown making a point to Blair]
Meanwhile, if he expects to take the top job, hopefully Mr Brown will be more awake to the world’s and the country’s problems than he appears to be in these pictures. To be seen as fair, I searched around the web but could not find Mr Blair asleep on the job. And there is no more photographed politician than Tony Blair.
Even if I am in the minority, I still ask this:
On current evidence, not for some time.
Click here to view a recent post on Tony Blair, or click the links in the Posts or Pages sections.
[Picture, above left: Blair & Brown in happier accord]