British Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to announce today when he will step down. It is understood he will tell Cabinet colleagues first and make his plans public in his constituency. He has said he will concentrate on policy for his last few weeks in power, in response to taunts in the House of Commons from the leader of the Conservatives.
“This is the government of the living dead. Why do we have to put up with even more paralysis?” David Cameron said.
“He can be as cocky as he likes about the local elections,” Tony Blair responded. “Come a general election, it is policy that counts and on policy, we win and he loses.”
Tony Blair will be remembered as the only leader ever to win three straight elections for the Labor Party. Under his lead, Britain has experienced sustained growth and low unemployment. But his reputation has been muddied by a decision to back George W. Bush and enter the Iraq war. Claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and allegations his government had “sexed up” its anti-Saddam dossier lost him the public’s trust.
Labour has just been overtaken for the first time in Scottish polls in 50 years. There were setbacks too in local elections in England and Wales. But Blair can list to his credit 10 years of work for peace in Northern Ireland, culminating with the sight of Protestant Ian Paisley and Catholic Martin McGuinness coming together in a power-sharing government.
With successes as well as failures on his report card, his may be one political career that does not end in tears.