Re: Farewelly to an Ally?
As Steve noted below, the United States - and all the free world - will soon be saying goodbye to Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair. Yet it seems that he will not likely get his "farewell tour" because so many people are trying to push him out. Furthermore, the ruling Labour Party is in meltdown mode as presumed prime minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown has taken an incredible bruising of late. Brown's standing has slumped moderately over time with Britain's economy, but the infighting of the past couple of weeks has done him the most damage.
Reading about this in the British press fits the old cliche about onlookers to a train wreck; it is really awful, but you don't see something like this very often, so you look in amazement anyway. Here are a few stories on recent developments in this bizarre political saga:
Daily Telegraph - Psychologically Floored
Daily Telegraph - Whose in Charge? Not Tony, not Gordon.
The Guardian - Countdown to Meltdown
The Guardian - Cabinet Turns on Brown in Search of 'Alternate PM'
Daily Telegraph - Give me a Contest, Not a Coronation, says Brown
It is of course possible that the opposition Conservatives will win the next parliamentary election and maintain the alliance, as polls now show them several points ahead of Labour. But there are three caveats here. One, their new leader, David Cameron, is doing well as opposition leader, but he is untried as of yet and may be more style than substance. Two, the Tories have actually flirted with the anti-Americanism of the chattering classes at times in recent years, and have not been as stalwart as Blair on issues relating to the global war. Three, they might not win. The districts are currently drawn so that Tory votes get concentrated in rural districts, so they have to have a higher percentage of the vote to get the same number of seats. Also, Tories have been subject to years to "strategic voting" by Liberal Democrats and Labour, although that might be coming to an end. And the fact that the Tories always take a drubbing in Scotland, Wales and North Ireland means that they must not merely win a plurality England (as they did last time and lost nationally by a wide margin), but they must win in England commandingly.
Well worth paying attention to, but this is not a pretty sight for those Americans who feel strongly about our bond with Britain.