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Can Blair keep it going for another two years?

January 30th, 2006
    Does Blunkett really know what’s going on?

The comments by the twice sacked ex-cabinet minister, David Blunkett, that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have reached “a new understanding” that will see a changeover at Number 10 within two years have set the Blair departure markets going.

In a BBC interview Blunkett said; “My sense is that there is a new understanding – yes..And it is good because anybody with any ounce of understanding of politics knows that when Tony Blair and Gordon Brown work together we are a winner. When they are divided, our opponents can divide us and it is as simple as that.” .And on timing Blunkett said this could be in “a year or two years”.

Quite what we are to make of the comments is hard to read. Does Blunkett actually know something or was he just responding when asked by Andrew Marr to speculate? For the phrase he used was “my sense” which does not imply that he has any real knowledge.

The one-two year spectrum is frustrating for gamblers and, in addition, there is the current uncertainty over the Education Bill and the continued effort by the Cameron-led opposition to divde the Blair-loyalists from the rest of the party.

    A change-over within eighteen months of a General Election would seem to be the best strategy for Labour. The next General Election is going to be a lot more challenging for the party than the last three and holding it during Brown’s honeymoon period looks the smart move.

It is interesting that David Cameron seems to be hell-bent on getting Blair out early. He wants to start taking on his real opponent as soon as possible.

My instinct is to assume that Blair will still be there in 23 months time and to take the 2.4/1 that’s available on him surviving until then. But I am not fully convinced and this is a market to keep away from at the moment.

Mike Smithson






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