Tony should go
Well, obviously I thought this at the last election. And, come to think of it the one before that. Now I really do think is the time that, for everyone, Blair ought to call it curtains.
I've never been one to go in for the "Tony's more interested in jet-setting round the world than dealing with problems at home" school of thought before. Yes, he's taken a keen interest in foreign affairs, but equally there hasn't been too much to suggest a dereliction of duty at home (wrong decisions and cheap debating points momentarily aside, that is).
A couple of things in the last week or so have made me think that now he doesn't take matters as home as seriously as he has or should; that is a cause for real concern when it's the head of a government.
At PMQs last week he answered Dennis Skinner's question about coal mining with a riposte about everything being the fault of the Tories if it went wrong. At the time I thought he was being mildly ironic, and I chuckled and let it pass....
...but then I saw him in today's press conference, answering questions about Russian intelligence's supposed exposure of British spooks in Moscow. When prompted he said that he "only saw myself on Teletext this morning the business about Russia. I'm afraid you are going to get the old stock-in-trade 'We never comment on security matters'; except when we want to, obviously. I think the less said about that, the better"
Apart from the fact I am highly sceptical that anyone, let alone the PM, watches Teletext rather than specifically looking something up on it this is another flippant comment which, on its face, is amusing but which actually makes a mockery of our politics. Just as in PMQs I would think little more of it as a throwaway comment, but as an emerging pattern of behaviour it's more worrying. Doesn't it suggest a Prime Minister who is too confident of his position? Doesn't it suggest a disdain for what he has to do as PM, that he can do as he likes and get away with it, an unacceptable complacency?
That can't be good for government. Surely we can expect more episodes of oversight to follow the Kelly-sex offender affair. That can't be good for Labour. Blair should call it quits; before someone calls time on him.