But are things really so bleak for “Teflon Tony” ?
The chances of Tony Blair surviving until New Year’s Day 2008, as rated by gamblers on the “When will Blair go” markets, have again plummeted to the low 20s. They are not quite at the low they reached after November’s Commons defeat on the terror bill but they are getting quite near.
But have gamblers got this one right? Given Blair’s stated intention of serving a full third term the 100/30 that’s available on him going within the next two years looks a reasonable bet.
Sure the arrival of Cameron and the prospect of a series of Labour back-bench rebellions in the New Year do not make 2006 look promising. But Blair always seems to be at his best when his back is to the wall. He does not appear to have any self-doubt about the positions he is taking. And who is going to cast the first stone?
The real problem for those opposed to Blair is that the polls are consistently rating the Prime Minister at a higher level than Gordon Brown when set against David Cameron. How can you press for a change-over when the evidence suggests that the party’s chances would be reduced?
Tony Blair has weathered several years of polls showing that Labour would perform better if Brown was in charge. Now the numbers have turned round the anti-Blairites have got an even harder case to make.
Whatever 2006 is going to be an interesting year.
REMEMBER to enter our prize 2006 Prediction Competition.