What is a story about the English Prime Minister doing on this blog? Well, we need a foreign policy in Methuen, you know. As a long time fan of Prime Ministers questions on C-Span I have been fascinated by the British system and a big fan of Tony Blair. Blair’s love-hate relationship with his Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown provided a great sub-plot to his tenure as the savior of the modern Labor Party, and its longest serving Prime Minister. That relationship, and the war in Iraq, deeply unpopular in Britain, led to Gordon Browns ascension to Prime Minister after the Blair resignation. Now Brown has come to a critical point, with a telegenic and youthful David Cameron leading the previously moribound Conservative Party back to life. From the New York Times:
Now, embattled at 10 Downing Street by the most dismal poll ratings for any prime minister in recent memory and sniping from Blair loyalists in the governing Labor Party, Mr. Brown is fighting for his political life.
Two weeks ago, in an election widely seen as a referendum on Mr. Brown’s national leadership, a joke-cracking Conservative with a flop-top haircut, Boris Johnson, romped to victory in London’s mayoral race over the hitherto popular two-term Labor incumbent, Ken Livingstone.
The Livingstone defeat in London, coupled with a Conservative romp in local council elections, has the Tony Blair wing of the party sniping at Brown. And in an interesting twist Blair’s wife Cherie, a high powered attorney, has blasted Brown in a new book recently excerpted in the British media.
The latest salvos began exploding around Mr. Brown last weekend with the newspaper serialization of the memoirs of Cherie Blair, the wife of the former prime minister. In her book, “Speaking for Myself,” due for publication in the fall, she wrote that Mr. Brown had been “rattling the keys” to Downing Street over Mr. Blair’s head in the period before his third election victory, in 2005. … In an excerpt from her book published on Monday, Mrs. Blair hinted that Mr. Brown might have leaked word to newspapers when she was pregnant with her fourth child, Leo, in 1998, suggesting that perhaps Mr. Brown, then still a bachelor in his mid-40s, wanted to spread the impression that Mr. Blair was too distracted by family matters to be effective as prime minister. A spokesman said Mr. Brown, now married with two small children, was “totally baffled” by the suggestion.
With the British economy tanking Brown may be in real trouble. Attacked by within and without he now trails the Conservatives by twenty percent in recent polling. The analogy has been made to John Major, who succeeded Margaret Thatcher but was done in by a young, smart and telegenic star named Tony Blair. These days David Cameron looks more and more like Tony Blair. Read the Times story here.
Mr. Mayor, what struck me most is the line “… David Camron leading the previously MORIBUND CONSERVATIVE PARTY back to life.” If true then maybe the Republican Party has to import some of Mr. Cameron’s “mojo” to the States. A question for you Mayor, is it necessary today, that in order to be elected to public office a candidate must be “youthful and telegenic”? If so things do not look very good for McCain. We can “HOPE for CHANGE, YES WE CAN.” Sounds so hollow but as long as it’s delivered by a “youthful, telegenic” pol voters will buy it.
Right on ben nevis,
Charismatic characteristics trump good policy anytime. Look at the way our society fawns over the rich and famous.
It appears to me that we are flip flopping with England. As we slide towards democratic party dominance, England is throwing out their equivalent, the Labour Party for the Conservative (Republican) party.
It gives me hope.
Well Ben it is not always necessary to be young and telegenic. I got elected didn’t I? As a side note to this post a key seat that has been held by Labor for years was just won by the Conservatives in a special election. The mirror reverse of the special election in Mississippi. But to further confuse us it was Labor, under Tony Blair, who chose to support the United States in Iraq. The Conservatives have been critical, and have benefitted politically from Blair’s decision.
We are opposites, england and us. Maybe that’s why they drive on the left?