Comment at end
5th April, 2010
It has been confirmed that the general election will be on May 6th.
As I have reminded people before, although it has, oddly, thus far been ignored by the national press, this date happens to be Tony Blair’s 57th birthday.
I am not suggesting that Mr Blair will be likely to celebrate equally whether Brown loses or wins. I actually still believe he is committed to the “cause/project” of New Labour, and therefore to the continuance of Brown’s present government.
But still, some might wonder if choosing this particular date is tempting fate.
Meanwhile today – Alastair Campbell: “Frenzies, fear and black humour. Welcome to the election campaign”
Diary entry for 17 March 1997, the day the prime minister, John Major, went to Buckingham Palace prior to announcing the date of the election … “He [Tony Blair] said he felt really relieved we were finally into it.”
18 March … “I can’t tell you how much my stomach churns when I think we’ve got six weeks of this,” he said.
Relief one day. Stomach-churning anxiety the next. Welcome to a general election campaign.
Even once he was into his rhythm, TB would suddenly be seized of the enormity of what lay ahead. 23 April … “God, it’s terrifying,” he said. “One week from now it’s happening, and if we win it’s life-changing.”
I pointed out that it would be pretty life-changing if we lost, too.
Black humour has a role to play in any campaign. We had a running gag about teaming up with defeated US presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, forming Losers Inc and touring the world to give lectures on “how we blew a 30-point lead”. Yes, oh cocky Tories, at times a 30-point lead.
In the end we didn’t blow the lead, at least not all of it. But there were plenty of times we felt we might.
We seemed to spend a lot of time in planes and helicopters. TB would peer down on towns and villages and ask: “Who knows what the people in those houses are really thinking?” We might spot a single car on a country road and he’d say: “That driver has our future in his hands.”
A 30% lead! How easily we forget. The latest opinion polls show gaps of between 4% and 10%. So the Conservatives are nowhere near approaching the lead that the Tony Blair-led Labour party held in opinion polls before the 1997 election.
List of the key seats that the Conservatives must win (on swing of 4.3%) to become top party, but not necessarily enough to hold overall power (Times.)
Well, surprise, surprise. Tory policy is actually Blair’s. Who’d have believed it? Me for one.
‘A FEW months before Mr Tony Blair won the 2005 general election, I received an off-the-record briefing from his big-brained policy chief Matthew Taylor.
He told me that Mr Blair’s third term in office would be defined by a renewed commitment to Britain’s most deprived and run-down communities.
The then Prime Minister wanted to move away from Labour’s perceived style of centrally-controlled government and instead devolve power into the hands of individuals.
The country’s disadvantaged hot spots would be awarded neighbourhood grants and Whitehall cash would be used to overhaul the most dilapidated housing estates through various renewal schemes.
Most of all, Mr Blair wanted these neighbourhoods to be run by the people who lived there.
It was a self-help approach designed to encourage collective responsibility.
He believed that if residents had a hand in making the big decisions which affected their day-to-day lives, it would result in them taking a greater pride in their surroundings and, as a result, the urban landscape would become cleaner and greener.
In a speech outlining his beliefs, Mr Blair said: “Too much has been imposed from above, when experience shows that success depends on communities themselves having the power to take responsibility to make things better.”
That was five years ago. Now, much has been made of the Tory leader, Mr David Cameron, being Mr Blair’s natural successor despite coming from the other end of the political spectrum.’
How will you s-t-r-e-t-c-h that 4-10 point lead over Labour, Mr Cameron? Especially now that Mr Blair is no longer thinking through domestic policy for you. The tactic right now seems to be to attack Gordon Brown personally as an unpopular leader. Might work. We have a month of this. Let’s see if this changes.
Will Labour nullify the impact of UKIP, thus probably aiding the Tories?
Then there’s this crowd of anti-democrats. No party, of course. They are utterly confused as to WHO they think Muslims should vote for. Presumably voters are supposed to vote ONLY if their local candidate is fundamentally Islamic. Muslims should ALL ask – what is Hizb ut-Tahrir for? Excerpt:
“The aim of encouraging Muslim participation in the secular politics of Westminster is to see us endorse this kufr political system (based on man making laws), its values and policies, which have caused occupation and bloodshed, as well as leading to the misery of ‘Broken Britain’ today”
CNN asks – “Can the ‘clunking fist’ of UK politics make a comeback?” (They mean Brown NOT Blair, in case you wondered.)
RECENT POSTS HERE
- NEW!… No, REALLY NEW, New Labour poster
- John Rentoul & Anne McElvoy on Channel 4 (videos): Tony Blair at Trimdon
- A quick glance through The Daily Maul – I mean – Mail
- Hooray! Tony Blair is One Million Pounds Poorer
- Mandelson watches as former PM’s brains are blown out
- The papers on the Blessed Blair’s resurrection at Trimdon
- Ch..ch..ch.. Changes – Tony Blair enters election race and supports Brown
- 6th May, 2008 – Happy Birthday, Mr Blair, from Tribune
Tags: 6th May 2010, alastair campbell, birthday, David Cameron, general election called, Gordon Brown, Happy birthday Tony Blair, nick clegg, Paul Gilfeather, picture Cameron & Blair, selfhelp for communities, to win, Tony Blair, top seats sought by Tories, Tribune