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Sometime next month, we’re assured, Tony Blair will announce the date that he’ll step down. “Oh, yeah??” says Andy Goff.

The more I watch Tony Blair on TV, and he has been around a bit lately with local elections coming up, the more I realise that he doesn’t actually care - he has disengaged. He “hit the ground running” in ’97 and is leaving the stage (so we are led to believe) ambling towards a very comfortable retirement.

Using phrases along the lines of “Yes, you have problems in the health service” rather leads one towards the conclusion that they are not HIS problems. They are something outwith his interest, left behind, non-solvable - our problems.

I suspect his main concern is that he will not beat Margaret Thatcher’s tenure in office of 11 years, 209 days. He will only have made 10 years on 1st May 2007. For a man with the ego the size of Jupiter that must gnaw at the innards. Oh how that must hurt.

He will go down in history as the Prime Minister that failed in so many ways and yet, and yet….. if only he could make it to 11 years 210 days his place in modern history would at least be assured by the accolade of not only leading Labour to three election victories in a row he could also be the longest serving PM.

Thatcher was the longest-serving British Prime Minister since Lord Salisbury and had the longest continuous period in office since Lord Liverpool in the early 19th century.

She truncheoned the miners, she beat Galtieri, she hand-bagged Francois Mitterrand and she bludgeoned the British public - over the head. She also beat the opposition in Parliament - because they had rotten leaders. Callaghan, Foot, Kinnock. Not dissimilar in uselessness as Hague, Duncan-Smith and Howard.

So what’s the betting that Blair doesn’t give up the job?

On the 3rd of May we could have an SNP majority in Scotland in the same way we had a Labour majority in Scotland in 1997- on the basis that the Scots, rather sensibly, realised that a Westminster Government doesn’t have their interests at heart - remember the Poll Tax was first introduced up there.

Polls show that Blair is still more electable than Grumpy Gordon and the opposition consists of a keen young lad and a worn out old geezer.

Could Blair yet decide to save the day and stay on?

After all Iraq might be a blip on his CV but most voters outside us chattering classes don’t seem to give a stuff as the body count rises and the crippled return to a life of heroic tragedy.

Maybe that’s why we see so little war footage on the TV and yet we are treated to the straight kind of guy grinning about “your problems”.


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