01 September, 2006

Go now

It's great fun reading the numerous comments people have posted in response to a 'Have Your Say' feature on the BBC News website concerning when Tony Blair should stand down.

Virtually nobody has a good word for the Prime Minister, and virtually nobody would like him to stay in his job one day longer. Most wish he'd quit months ago. Some would've liked to see him go a few years back. A few would really quite have preferred it were he never to have become PM at all.

The quantity and focus of vitriol seems, at first, quite astonishing when placed against the fact that a mere 18 months ago Labour won a General Election with a very safe majority and until about three months ago had enjoyed a lead in the opinion polls which had remained almost unbroken since 1992.

But on second thoughts it pays to remember how Blair only won last year with a 35% share of the vote - almost one in three of those who cast their ballot. And that figure itself was from a turnout of a little over half those eligible to vote. In actual fact only around 18% of the electorate voted Labour in 2005.

With over 80% of the country having not elected to support this Government, little wonder such fierce resentment is surfacing in such a manifest fashion. But remember, the Conservative Party polled even less at that election, with even fewer people expressing a desire to see the Tories back in power. Although David Cameron has scored a few opinion poll successes of late, and will undoubtedly continue to do so, it remains a truism that opposition parties never win General Elections, it is always governments which lose them.

Hence Cameron won't win the next election; instead it will be Blair's replacement who, on the surface, will have lost it. Of course in truth the damage may have already been done, and it will be Blair himself who will have cost his party a fourth successive victory. Or rather, it could be the cumulative amount of gossiping about the damage he could be doing which ultimately creates the climate in which Labour can do nothing but lose.

Whatever, it's a turbulent party conference season that is about to begin and proof that we remain in one of the most dynamic periods of political upheaval in this country for a generation or so.

For the first time in a very very long time we don't really know what's about to happen and when. And for someone who grew up during 18 years of endless Tory rule, only to see it inevitably replaced by 9 years (and counting) of endless Labour rule, the number of unknowns surrounding who and for what reason the country will vote for come the next polling day can't multiply fast enough.


Post a Comment

<< Home