Would going early be seen as an admission of guilt?
The above are a couple of screen shots that I took of Tony Blair on Sunday during his Davos BBC interview when everybody was commenting on how he looked and his whole demeanour. What we know now but did not not know then was that a couple of days beforehand he had had his second interview with the police and he must have been aware of what was likely to happen in the following few days.
It shows his extraordinary resilience and remarkable fortitude that he has got through the week at all and this is starting to be picked up by the public. Yesterday he received a standing ovation at from the audience of a conference for specialist sports schools.
That’s why those who want him out now have got to be very careful. This might not be in tune with the public mood.
After all his only “crime”, if indeed there was one, was to try to find the resources two years ago so Labour could fight a tough General Election campaign against the Tories and a Lib Dem party that was, temporarily at least, flush with funds.
Is Gordon going to shoulder such a responsibility when he is in the job? The signs are that he isnt’ – fundraising is a dirty job that will be left to others.
In the Times this morning the usually well-informed Peter Riddell, suggests that Blairâ€™s determination to remain until the summer “has been hardened, not weakened, by the latest developments.”
Riddell goes on: “..Having said that he wants to stay until the European summit in late June, an earlier departure would be seen as weakness and a tacit admission of guilt, in the political, if not the legal, sense..Whether or not charges are brought, the lurid stories are inflicting serious damage. The anti-Blair right-wing press is erupting in inflated indignation about being misled by Downing Street. This is peripheral to the issue, but will sour government-media relations..Mr Blairâ€™s last few months are bound to be overshadowed. Any sense of proportion and fairness will be lost in the rush to blame.”
In the Blair leaving date betting the price on this happening before the end of March has tightened to 7-1. It was 50/1 before the Ruth Turner arrest.