September 26, 2006


Showman Blair steals the spotlight from Brown (George Jones, 27/09/2006, Daily Telegraph)

Tony Blair set Gordon Brown the challenge yesterday of matching his own political courage, leadership skills and personal rapport with the voters if he is to achieve his ambition of becoming prime minister.

As he paid an emotional and highly personal farewell to the Labour Party conference, Mr Blair paid tribute to the Chancellor's role in helping him create New Labour, but stopped well short of anointing him as his successor.

He warned Labour activists — who gave him a standing ovation at the start and end of his final conference speech as leader — that the party would lose power if it retreated to a "comfort zone" and abandoned his policies after he was gone. [...]

In a packed conference hall in Manchester some delegates were close to tears as Mr Blair delivered one of the most dazzling speeches of his career, much of which he had written himself.

There was a sense of the end of an era, with nostalgic party activists coming to terms with losing a leader who had delivered a record three general election victories.

The bookmakers reacted by lengthening rather than shortening the odds on Labour winning a fourth term, claiming that Mr Blair would be a hard act to follow and the door was now wide open to a "refreshed" Conservative Party led by David Cameron.

The order of speeches is reversed, but this was the point at which Al Gore made the thoroughly bizarre decision to jag back to McGovernism, rather than running on the Clinton/Gore record and New Democrat rhetoric. Mr. Brown seems to better recognize that he can only win by convincing voters he's at least as far Right as Mr. Blair was, but the hand-off has gotten awfully awkward.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2006 10:02 PM

Is there any chance this is a "fake" and Blair will really stay on?

Posted by: erp at September 27, 2006 7:24 AM


Under the circumstances, would you?

Posted by: ratbert at September 28, 2006 12:06 AM

If I thought the fate of millions of innocents were at stake, yes.

Posted by: erp at September 28, 2006 6:36 PM