13 December 2005
Is Blair on the ropes?
Two things have just been announced that lead me to believe that Blair will be out sooner rather than later. The first is that the regime's plans to send some 4,000 soldiers to Afghanistan now seem to be under review, as they say. The wheeze involved sending these troops along with the new Apache helicopters that the governent bought from the Americans. Now it looks as if only 1,000 may go, using British-built Lynx helicopters; and even that seems far from certain. It may be that even Blair has now realised that people in the UK have no interest in the nasty civil war that is going on in Afghanistan and are worried about further British casualties.
To makes matters even more interesting, a second front has now opened up and this has led to the regime scrapping its plans to reform welfare payments. The idea was to subject the sick to means tested benefit, but this wheeze has now been dropped owing to back-bench pressure. The simple truth is that about a quarter of the Paliamentary Labour Party are now out to get the pretty boy and the Blairites knew that this measure was not going to pass.
Afghanistan and welfare reform: put the two together and here is a regime that is not longer in control of events. It looks increasingly like the last days of the Callaghan and Major eras when ministers were reduced to whistling in the dark in the hope that something would turn up.