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Hello, and welcome to this blog.
My blog is designed to gather support to “Keep Tony Blair As PM”.
Now, I haven’t asked him if he wants to stay, and that may seem remiss of me. But, even if he does not want to continue in post, I hope that comments here will help to balance the picture of public opinion in today’s online world. Of course, I realise that satisfied people don’t rush onto the internet to declare their satisfaction!
Still, we should inform those who should know of the need for consideration of the public in such momentous events as the change of a Prime Minister mid-term.
I am just an ordinary UK voter who is not happy with the present goings-on at the top of our government where our Prime Minister seems to be in the middle of an unceremonious dumping by his party.
Yes, it is true that he himself said, when he was elected for the third time, less than sixteen months ago, that he would not “go on and on” in post. He said he would strive to ensure that “an orderly transition of the leadership” would take place. But he also said that he would serve a “full term”.
The election was in May of 2005. This is hardly a full term. Yet, our Prime Minister has been forced to commit to leaving his post within 12 months from now, September 2006.
If the situation rested there, with his concession to one year, I would not have started this blog. But, there seems to be a drip-drip campaign to weaken the PM further so that he is forced to declare a date well within a year, perhaps in a matter of weeks.
It is true that Prime Ministers are infamous for “clinging to power”. Nonetheless, Mr Blair should be allowed to resign when it suits him, and not the Labour Party or other prospective leadership candidates.
By participating in this blog we will raise the awareness of his own party and the rest of his government that the situation is not good enough for us, the voters.
We voted in a government led by a popular and successful Prime Minister in the full expectation of his leading the country for a full term, or at least something approaching it. Half of a term – or two and a half years after May 2005 would have taken us to November of 2007.
I am expressing no opinion as to who should take over from Mr Blair when he leaves office; I might do later as the time approaches. For the moment I just want THIS PM to stay.
This blog has been compiled simply because I have become convinced that the other choice – not to change the leadership at all – is not being offered to the electorate. And I have yet to hear any political commentator ask Mr Blair if he would continue in post if public opinion were shown to be behind that option. Why?
Recent YouGov polls show that Mr Blair’s popularity has not declined, contrary to how it is sometimes portrayed in the British press. The popularity of other leadership contenders and opposition leaders has varied over the last few weeks, but the Prime Minister’s popularity has actually risen in the last few days and is presently above the level of the strongest contender for his crown.
We, the people, should be made aware of this, if our instincts don’t already inform us. We should not have the wool pulled over our eyes any more.
To non-British nationals there must be puzzlement as to why the Labour Party is not begging Tony Blair to stay on until 2009 / 2010! After all he is the reason they have been returned to power for this historic third term. Moreover he is recognised as a well- respected world leader and statesman; this is important.
The reason he is in this position are complex, but although I am an outsider, I’ll try my best to explain them as I understand it.
A dozen or more years ago when John Smith, the then Labour leader died suddenly, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown made an agreement, it is said, as regards their party’s leadership. Mr Blair was seen as the front-runner at that time, but he agreed with Gordon Brown that if Blair was allowed an uncontested run at the leadership, and their party was then able to come to power, Blair would hand over the premiership at some stage to Brown.
The wisdom of that kind of arrangement is questionable. However, I can imagine it happening between friends who shared the same dream of bringing the old Trades Union-dominated Labour Party into the modern age. Blair was subsequently made the leader and won the next election in 1997 on a landslide. Brown has held the most senior government post below the Prime Minister of Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) since then. He is considered to have been a most sucessful Chancellor and is the longest serving in that post in modern times. He has also been patient, waiting it would seem for his chance to take over the top job.
Now, whether it is his by right or just by expectation is not being argued here.
What is clearly the case is that the British people are expected to be in on the agreement. They may not be so willing to be used in this way.
British political parties in power are permitted to swop and change their sitting Prime Minister at will. It doesn’t happen often, usually only when there is a weak PM, or if illness intervenes, or a scandal causes a vote of no confidence to be called. The confidence vote would normally be called by the opposition in Parliament and would then result in an immediate general election.
But the change-over planned at the present time is at a time when Tony Blair is still popular. Granted his popularity has dipped to an extent because of Iraq and Afghanistan. But it has dipped much less than might normally be expected mid-term, even without an unpopular war, especially in a party’s third term where the novelty would be expected to be wearing a bit thin. Labour should never forget that they were re-elected in the main because of the popularity right across the electorate of Tony Blair himself.