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Has Blair come to terms with his departure yet?

February 22nd, 2007

pmqs blair RH strip.jpg

    Is Hoggart right about the exit?

A throwaway line at the end of this morning’s Commons sketch by Simon Hoggart in the Guardian has got me thinking about Tony Blair and when he will step down.

For when asked at PMQs yesterday what he hoped to be remembered for Hoggart notes the “extraordinary” fact that Blair ..”didn’t have anything prepared… he hasn’t worked out what his own legacy is..I’ll believe he’s going when he goes.”

Usually a good litmus test on what’s going on at the top of the Labour party is John Prescott. The picture strip are screen shots of the leader and deputy during yesterday’s encounter with Cameron when I thought that Blair just got the better of the Tory.

Yet rather than his usual cheering his man on giving him forceful vocal backing Prescott seems very detached and at one stage looked as though he was falling asleep. He certainly does not appear happy and content.

For has Prezza realised that Blair has still to make the decision to actually go and that there’s still a lot more to come in the drama of Labour’s succession?

Is Tony trying to hang in there as long as possible in the hope that something will emerge that will make his exit more palatable and help secure his place in history.

Have we all been wrong in thinking that Tony is following a settled plan and that the removal vans will arrive in Downing Street in late June/ early July so Gordon can take over then?

Quite simply has Tony still to make the final decision?

My sense is that he’s looking for anything that will put back the date by even a short period and maybe there will need to be a September 2006-style rolling resignation threat before he’s finally shifted.

In the betting Q3 2007 has now become favourite again for “when he’ll officially cease to be leader”. That’s at 1.14/1 while Q2 has eased to 1.2/1.

Mike Smithson






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