Would a proper apology take the wind out of Charles Kennedy’s sails?
Given that Tony Blair is the master of stealing the policies of his opponents how is he going to deal with the Lib Dem threat? Just what announcement can we expect in the run up to the Election that will do for Charles Kennedy’s party what the EU referendum announcement did for the Tories?
An intriguing thought is that he could, with his usual impeccable timing and with the right level of emotion, apologise for the war – maybe in the final week of the election campaign.
He could even link it to some personal news, about his health, say, and at a stroke he could draw a line under the issue and leave those who’ve made this their main campaign plank with nothing to say.
Given that the current dynamic is for the Tories to be static but with a block of 7-10% that toggles between the Lib Dems and Labour Tony Blair needs a strategy. He can deal easily with the Tories – how is he going to deal with Charles Kennedy?
Whatever Tony Blair has yet to apply his unique talent for survival to the Lib Dem issue. The suggestion that a vote for the Lib Dems will let the Tories in has some substance but it’s hard to see how Labour can get this over. The high profile Lib Dem campaign to “decapitate” senior Tories, including Michael Howard in his Folkstone seat, will underpin the party’s anti-Tory credentials.
Blair’s great talent is for finding the grand dramatic gesture that presses all the right buttons. Could apologising for going to war be what he will do?
Meanwhile with the result seen as a foregone conclusion the lively General Election market is now on when it will be held. Several bookmakers are now taking bets with the favourite, of course, being May 2005. Tony Blair likes doubling up on elections and 05/05/05 is the scheduled date for the County Council votes.