Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Beginning of the End?

Tony Blair has suffered his first defeat in the Commons. Is this the beginning of the end for this great leader?

He has always stood up for what he believes in; what he believes is right. He has had the necessary powers of persuasion to push through ideas that may have been unpalatable to many in the Labour party. I don't think that he has been on some crazy ego-fuelled power trip, but that he has been a true leader.

Leaders have to take unpopular decisions, as part of some greater plan to improve the way we all go about our daily grind. Leaders do have to listen though, or else they seem out of touch with the people they represent. Getting the balance right between driving through the leader's vision and echoing the mood of the government, of the party is no mean feat.

Tony Blair has managed to stay on the tight-rope since 1997, keeping his footing. He is wobbling, but can he regain his composure, or will he descend into the safety-net of the back-benches, seeing out this last term? If Tony Blair does what he promised to do when he took office with his sharply reduced majority, listen to those around him, I really believe he can stay on and finish the job.

If he doesn't then Gordon is on the bench, awaiting the call to come onto the field and play the striker's role. Gordon Brown has been the most successful Chancellor in recent memory, with his vice-like grip on the nation's finances, and the independent Bank of England right where he wants it - carrying out his interest rate policy with ruthless efficiency. But is he really the man for the top job, does he have the charisma, the connections with the people, the country at large. I fear not. It is a tough substitution to make.

Labour government - keep me smiling - whatever you do: get that fourth term.

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