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Bye bye, Tony; bye bye, son - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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June 26th, 2007

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08:48 pm - Bye bye, Tony; bye bye, son
Tomorrow, current Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to take one more set of Prime Minister's Questions before travelling to Buckingham Palace and performing the formalities of resignation of the post of Prime Minister. The Queen will then invite Gordon Brown to form the next government. There are no surprises here; this has been expected for years, the date has roughly been expected for months and precisely expected for weeks. Prime Minister's Questions are the traditional "Punch and Judy show" of British politics, where loaded questions are asked and answered to the aural background of the political equivalent of a football match. Tomorrow's Prime Minister's Questions have the potential to be a tremendous piece of political theatre; even Margaret Thatcher let her hair down - at least, as much as she ever did - in her final set of PMQs.

It's interesting to note that Neil Kinnock asked for an immediate general election in Thatcher's last PMQs; lots of people have been calling for one with regard to the Blair-to-Brown handover in a very similar vein, though an obvious difference is that the successor here is known whereas then it was not. I cannot quickly find data to substantiate this, but I suspect that Labour were well ahead of the Conservative Party at the time in the polls; a major difference is that these days the two are now closely matched at handover time, with the polls tending to put the two parties within 2% of each other. That's why people are talking about a snap general election as being a real possibility.

We also hear that Tony Blair may even step down as an MP altogether, if his future lies as an envoy to the Middle East - and I can't help feeling that he's taking that job with the thought in the back of his mind that the worst-case scenario is that he gets to go out in a blaze of publicity like Princess Diana, which never did much bad for her legacy. With this in mind, a childish part of me is secretly hoping for some most unparliamentary language and perhaps even some highly unparliamentary conduct from Blair at his last PMQs tomorrow, with no practical fear of reprisals. Not statesmanlike so not probable - but this is the PM who turned out to be the single funniest performer, in context, on the most recent Comic Relief, lest we forget. ("Bovvered, Mr. Speaker?")

Here's a thought, though. Gordon Brown did a tremendous fake conclusion to his final budget as Chancellor, appearing to wrap up his speech before cutting the basic rate of Income Tax by 2% at the very last minute. Regardless of whether you thought it was a wise move or not, in the context of all the other budgetary changes that were required to enable it, everyone loved the theatre involved. How about if Tony Blair were to do the biggest One more thing... ever by calling a snap general election himself rather than leaving it up to Gordon Brown? Is there anything stopping him from doing that if he wanted to? Everybody thinks he's off to Buck Palace for one reason, but secretly he's off for another. Conventional logic would suggest giving Brown a few months before calling the snap election, but surely it's not really a snap election if people are talking about the possibility of it happening, and surely there have got to be far worse times to roll the dice...
Current Mood: calmcalm

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:June 26th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
Well....if the puppy is anything like his master I wouldn't be shocked if he dropped his pants and mooned the back benchers and then sauntered through the parliament with his pants around his ankles drunkenly singing "Rule Britannia".

*Just a thought as I could imagine GWB breaking up Hillary's inagural by coming drunk on Lone Star Beer and tossing his cookies, just like ole Dad, on Roberts' bible...*
[User Picture]
Date:June 27th, 2007 08:11 am (UTC)
AFAIK Blair doesn't really have the power to "call an election" without Brown's say-so -- in that it's up to the Queen to dissolve Parliament, usually at the request of the PM but in this case if Brown didn't want it then she would just ask him to form a government within the current Parliament.

As for general likelihood of such a thing, I would be amazed if it happens before next May at the earliest. I think Gordon will want to pull a few nice rabbits out of his big hat before appealing to the people.

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