I got an email from Tony Blair today. Yes, Tony Blair. See, I must be important.
You know that anti-road-pricing petition that’s been spammed all over the net* recently? And how Tony Blair was going to respond personally? Well, I’ve already had an email from him. So there.
It’s because of a petition I’d entirely forgotten about signing, about how ID cards are a bad idea, won’t work, and will waste billions of pounds. Tony Blair wrote to tell me just how great they are, and how my participation in democracy is so important that he’s going to ignore me personally. Not just any of that old generic ignoring that everyone else gets, you understand. Personal service.
I feel touched. No, honest. See, with modern communication, the Prime Minister can tell me, personally, how he’s going to ignore what everyone else in the country wants. Now that’s what I call democracy.
* well, the British bits of it
Owning up to your mistakes is almost always the best thing to do. In an hour or so, it looks like I’m going to be proved wrong about something.
Specifically, something I wrote almost a year ago,* when I said: “at the earliest, [Tony Blair is] going to resign in the first quarter of 2009″. It looks, now, that I’m going to be nearly two years out, and that he’s going to give up power before getting within a year of Thatcher’s longevity record. On the other hand, I’m not the only person who was wrong. According to the article that prompted the earlier post, this time last year most Labour MPs weren’t expecting him to go until 2008. I still don’t believe he would give up power willingly until 2009, if he thought he could get away with it. I think that saying “yes, I’m going to resign, but not yet” is a bloody stupid way to run any sort of organisation, to be frank. Moreover, I’m wondering just how many journalists who have previously said “Blair will resign in 2008″, or similar things, will admit that they were wrong about it.
There’ll be plenty more chances for my predictions to come true in the future, of course. In January this year I said that George W Bush will still be alive in 2009, despite the “Nostradamus-inspired” prediction of author Mario Reading. I’m betting that my own prediction there is rather more secure than Reading’s – or than my earlier prediction about Blair. We’ll just have to wait and see.
* fifty-one weeks ago yesterday, in fact.
I’ve said it before, I’m sure, but I generally dislike pretty much all politicians. Some, though, I dislike more than others.
I particularly dislike it when people tell me that draconian and illiberal laws are necessary For Your Own Good. When people tell me that removing my right to freedom from arbitrary detention is really part of preserving my right to a greater, more nebulous freedom, which always remains mysteriously vague.
But what really disgusts me, is when people use innocent deaths, horrific deaths, deaths that deeply affected you and me, to push for ever-greater authoritarianism. No amount of detention without trial would have prevented the July attacks.
That’s just a few reasons why I smiled when I heard today’s news.
(and, incidentally, anyone who does think that we do need 90-day detention without trial “because of the victims” should read what Rachel from North London has to say about it)
I’ve been getting behind on reading the papers. I’m still reading Sunday’s at the moment.
My eye was caught by an article on the Prime Minister’s resignation. I know he hasn’t, yet, but he is supposed to be, some time in the next few years. Apparently, lots of MPs are predicting he will leave in spring 2008. The general secretary of the Transport & General Workers’ Union, on the other hand, thinks he should go as soon as possible.
Now, this isn’t going to happen. He’s not going to resign next year, or the year after, unless he absolutely has to. At the earliest, he’s going to resign in the first quarter of 2009, giving his successor just over a year before the latest possible election date.
There isn’t a good rational reason for doing this, not at all. There’s a very good irrational one, though. Tony Blair has spent his Premiership haunted by the ghost of one rather undead woman: Mrs T. She held office for eleven years and seven months, near enough, and TB will do everything he can to try to beat that record. It’s not a sensible, rational reason for staying in office, but people often do things for stupid, irrational, hubristic reasons. He’s already equalled her election-winning record, and the closer he gets to beating her period in office, the more desperate he will be to hang on until he passes her. Every day closer to December 2008, staying in office will be more and more important in his mind; and to hell with how that leaves his successor. In three years’ time, I’m predicting, beating Mrs T will be the only thing he thinks about.