Blair III: The Revenge of Something-or-other

As I write, Nick hasn’t updated last night’s post on the UK election, but it’s a good summary. Enjoy.

Some tidbits:

It looks like campaigning vigorously against the war in Iraq is worth about a 4 percent swing in Britain. Who’s Old Europe now?

The left-of-center vote there is also nearly two-thirds of the electorate. That’s a long slog for the Conservatives, even if they go into the next election with a leader who does not have something of the night about him. (Though he’s hardly Chancellor Palpatine.)

Speaking of which, take a gander at the photos on the BBC election page and just try not to think “Michael Howard, something of the night.” On the other hand, none of the big three looks all that great. The re-elected Prime Minister looks blurred, and Charles Kennedy looks as if the caricature might be true.

Still, with two-thirds of even Great Britain voting in social-democratic territory, look for the German conservatives to rediscover their social concerns well before next fall’s national elections. Also look for a good bit of Bush-bashing, more from the left than the right. After all, you never know when the extra percent or two that Bush-bashing brings will come in handy.

I was talking the other night with a couple of people reasonably well informed about foreign policy in DC. I asked whether the fact that, even among close allies of the US, campaigning explicitly against Bush was worth a couple of points in an election was a cause for concern in Republican circles. One said they probably liked it that way. The other said it probably was a question of concern, but Western Europe had burned up a lot of credibility and wasn’t likely to find a receptive audience.

Speaking of burned credibility, pity about Galloway. Still, if a Brit happens to wax patronizing about poor choices made by your electorate (wherever that may be), Galloway’s election will be a handy rhetorical club.

Like Edward, I also see in these results a reasonable likelihood that the UK will vote yes on the constitutional treaty. A lot of political water will pass under the bridge before then, but the electorate has chastised Blair and can thus better consider the referendum on the merits.

Don’t you just love the constituency names? No wonder there’s such a long tradition of parody … “The honourable member from East Wanking & Middle Fritham…”

3 thoughts on “Blair III: The Revenge of Something-or-other

  1. Nick focuses on how long will Michael Howard stay on as Conservative leader while the leftist press and blogs focus on how quickly and smoothly can the Labour Party manage to sideline Blair as leader and install Gordon Brown in his place:
    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/columnist/story/0,9321,1477909,00.html

    By reports, Blair is uncomfortable with the prospect of acting as PM with the much reduced majority and the likelihood of having to cope with proportionately far more rebellious Labour MPs who believe in notions of rather more collegiate ways in government.

  2. Speaking of burned credibility, pity about Galloway. Still, if a Brit happens to wax patronizing about poor choices made by your electorate (wherever that may be), Galloway?s election will be a handy rhetorical club.

    Let me refresh my memory. Galloway, that would be The Labour party whip who , correctly as it turns out, denounced Tony Blair for his lies about the war, before the war. Who got booted out of Labour for it.

    And then at the height of the war, we got reports about “Secret documents” which puportedly showed him to to be in Saddam Hussein’s pay….since found to be forgeries, and Galloway has since won retractions and a libel case against the Sunday Telegraph.

    His seat then got redistricted, so that he’d be running against one of Blair’s Close allies holding what seems to be a safe seat, who during her campaign made seemingly unfounded sexual allegations about him, that she then had to retract.

    His wife announces that she is leaving him on the eve of elections, possibly in conjunction with the above.

    And he still wins. As a fourth-party candidate.

    oh, uhm, handy rhetorical club for what exactly again ?

  3. Patrick – By occasional personal observation, George Galloway is apt to incite undue but divergent passions among audiences which is why I have paid so little attention to media reports about him. His enduring success in securing substantial libel damages from a variety of victims is but one indicator of an undouted personal talent so I need to be especially careful.

    Essentially, Galloway is froth, a transitory phenomenon. The scale of his electoral success in the recent election probably owes much to the unusally high percentage of muslims reputedly among his new constituents and the undeniable fact that he is evidently an unusually potent symbolic irritant to Blair and the Blairites.

    Only now, as the direct result of this election, is Blair starting to appreciate that: (1) others may possess “charisma” besides himself, and (2) while some regard charisma as a positive quality, others consider it a decidedly negative factor in Parliamentary systems of government, (3) not everyone regards a talent for duping others to be an admirable personal skill.

    As for Galloway’s trips to meet Saddam in Iraq, these have probably been less significant in their import than this piture of Donald Rumsfeld, the present US secretary of defense, meeting Saddam in 1983:
    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

    Galloway has been an immensely convenient symbol for those who wish to smear and discredit critics and criticism of the Iraq war. It happens, I have been among the critics of the Iraq war from start to finish for reasons I have argued many times at length online but I have never cared to associate with any platform that Galloway might occur.

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