Every cloud has its silver lining for Lucky Tony
My suggestion on Thursday that the problems with Charles Clarke and John Prescott could actually help Tony Blair stay longer at Number 10 was greeted with a mixed reception on the site.
For I argued that the problems with his troubled cabinet colleagues could help him spread the blame a bit more after Thursday when Labour suffers the expected drubbing in the local elections.
But there’s another element in the current situation that could make Blair’s tenure that bit more secure – the undermining of the authority of John Prescott.
For the Deputy PM is just about the only senior Labour politician with the authority to lead a “delegation of men in grey suits” to tell Tony that his time is up.
Andrew Rawnsley sums is it well in today’s Observer: “..It was in the power of Prescott to pull the trigger on the Prime Minister by making a public declaration demanding an early date from Mr Blair for his departure. The one solace for the Prime Minister in a sea of troubles is that this threat has evaporated. The debagging of the Deputy Prime Minister contributes to the impression of a government that is simultaneously arrogant, ridiculous and reckless. But it does have this consolation for Number 10. John Prescott is now a much weakened figure whose residual credibility is threatened with more demolition from further revelation. Instead of John Prescott being in a position to tell Tony Blair how long he has left in Number 10, it is now John Prescott who is fighting to save his own job and what shreds remain of his dignity. “
The market on when Tony will go continues to be very interesting. I’m keeping my cash on him being there at the end of next year.
Mike Smithson <