Venom must be spat when you have no fangs
Guardian – The day Blair accused his chancellor of blackmail: In probably the most astonishing day in the annals of New Labour, the use of the word blackmail to describe Mr Brown’s actions over the past few days by Downing Street staff was authorised by Mr Blair, and reflected his view that Mr Brown is orchestrating a coup against him.
Note: Authorised by Mr Blair. Not publicly spoken by Mr Blair.
The only official statement from Tony Blair yesterday was the playground taunt that he was going to sack Tom Watson anyway. Meanwhile we’re assured that it’s Gordon Brown’s silence that speaks volumes. And with that, we go directly to a charming article and the editorial space in today’s Sun (which – for the second time in two days – is 100% dedicated to
the leadership question ensuring there are no questions regarding the leadership). Please note especially the oft-repeated attempt to climb over dead bodies in order to claim the moral high ground:
The Downing Street Echo – Plotting gang of weasels: The weaselly gang behind the plot to topple Tony Blair were last night exposed as undercover Brownites. They are part of a network of the Chancellor’s supporters “planted” in key Government posts and their mass revolt was a carefully-orchestrated move to hasten the PM’s demise. Defence minister Tom Watson, whose resignation sparked yesterday’s chain of events, was the ringleader. Mr Watson, 39, was on the fast track to the Cabinet after holding down two Government posts in just five years as an MP. He was given the defence job at the Chancellor’s insistence and leading Blairites now say this was part of a Brownite masterplan. Last night they were furious at Mr Watson for playing grubby politics at a time when soldiers are dying in Afghanistan.
The Downing Street Echo – The silent man: The silence is deafening. And the cracks Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have papered over for years are now cruelly exposed. It would be easy to dismiss the resignations of seven political pipsqueaks as an irrelevance. But they are far more grave than that. This was a mass protest orchestrated by supporters of the Chancellor to unseat the sitting Prime Minister. And Mr Brown’s public silence on it gets more damaging by the hour. He could have stopped the plotters concocting the puerile protest letter which began the crisis. He could have halted the resignations, including that of the pathetic Tom Watson, who shamefully walked out on his defence job in a week when 19 British soldiers died in Afghanistan, three of them yesterday. [Ed: But... but... but... Tony was going to sack him anyway!] Watson is a crude politician at best, more concerned with personal ambition than his party or his country. But Gordon did nothing. He is desperate to inherit Blair’s mantle quickly, without being exposed to challenges from his rivals. But the PM won’t go until next May. And he calls the shots. In his enthusiasm to see off Blair, Brown risks destroying himself and the party, plunging it back into the nightmare of the 1980s: fatally divided, permanently unelectable. If civil war erupts, Labour might decide the only way to end it is for Blair to go. How would Britain then view his assassin? Would Gordon really be fit to be our PM if he were to blame for Blair being bundled out after making New Labour so successful? Or would his tactics, and those of his acolytes, backfire by effectively handing David Cameron power? John Hutton, Work and Pensions Secretary, said last weekend that Labour’s infighting was a “damaging soap opera” that it would be “ludicrous to continue”. These were wise words indeed. But no one seems to have listened. Instead the ages-old Blair/Brown feud has now brought to the brink of catastrophe the New Labour miracle the two men masterminded. They transformed a shambolic rabble into a slick political machine capable of winning three elections and holding power for nine years. And Gordon must realise that Labour’s future now rests on it re-establishing its stability. At present he cannot bring himself to back Blair publicly. But he MUST say, through gritted teeth if need be, that if the boss wants to go on May 31, 2007, that’s OK by him. The Chancellor needs to keep a lid on his anger – and his supporters – one last time now, or he’ll throw everything away. Including his own dream of being PM.
1. For being the target of a petty snipe from Rebekah Wade, the ‘pathetic’ Tom Watson earns an extra brownie point in my book. (Well done, Tom! Too bad she pulled up short of calling you a traitor… that would have earned you *two* brownie points.)
2. Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have pre-booked speaking engagements today, but only Tony Blair has changed his arrangements; instead of speaking at the same time (at different venues) now it appears that Tony Blair is going to have the opportunity put in his two cents first… and we’re all looking forward to that.
3. Everything else I have to say (for now) is contained in the following open letter to Tony Blair:
Tom Watson and I have had our political differences in the past, but if there is one objection I have to the initial letter that he put his name to and the resignation letter that followed, it is that he was being far, far too polite. Happily, you know that I know that you’re a lying, torturing, murdering bastard, so there’s no need to go into detail.
Now, it strikes me as odd that you would call on party members to get behind you to help you solve a crisis that you yourself have created when this so closely parallels the ongoing charade over the Middle East, but – for the sake of argument – I’m going to try to see things from your point of view. Just for a moment.
Damn it, man… we’re at war with evil, here! The need for authority is paramount (as is the need to remove people’s ability to question that authority)!
Yet when Tom Watson put his name to a letter that asked you to name the date you would be leaving office (when you clearly had no intention of doing so), you didn’t sack him immediately. Instead you tried to have the Chief Whip bully him into withdrawing his name from the letter. That made you look weak.
Then, when Tom quite rightly followed through with his resignation, you were reduced to assuring all and sundry that you were going to sack him anyway. That made you look like a fool.
Now you’ve got your mates running around town briefing against Gordon Brown, accusing him of a coup attempt. These same muppets assure us that unity is important, and that you have the backing of the majority of Labour MPs (such as those bullied or cajoled into signing the ‘compromise’ letter) and the electorate.
Tony, you either believe this or you don’t.
If you don’t, then you are being visibly dishonest about this, because…
If you do believe it, then you should have sacked Gordon Brown yesterday.
You cannot claim to be working for unity with the majority of your party’s backing/blessing if you are unable to sack the man you accuse of trying to usurp your position, now can you?
PS – I know I’ve mentioned this before, but you’re a lying, torturing, murdering bastard… and you still owe me £2000.
Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel better.
If you also have something to get off your chest and you don’t have the luxury of knowing that Downing Street drop by to check out your weblog on a weekly basis (or on a daily basis when there’s a crisis), then click here to send your own letter to Tony Blair.
UPDATE – A few extra links for you:
Pickled Politics – What If…?
Rachel North – How mad is Tony Blair?
This isn’t a new link, but it’s worth a fresh visit, as many comments have been published under it
Aaaand… I had another link, but this one is worth a fresh post. With you shortly.