Friday, June 11, 2004

Local Election "kicking" for Labour


Tony Blair suffered an electoral "kicking" as Labour limped into third place in the local elections, losing control of Newcastle and at least eight other councils

A "kicking". Good old British working class analogy. Most speculation is that he received the bloddy nose because of Iraq and not local politics. Historically, British local elections have usually been about national and not local issues. Blair will see his Labour party reduced to its worst local showing since the early 80's.
The question is will this bring him down? If Ken Livingstone fails to win a second term as Mayor of London, Blair will really be in trouble. At this time it looks like Livingstone will hold on. The left wing Livingstone remains a very popular politician in London across the political divide and will probably survive the Labour cull because of this.
Next week a lot of Labour MPs across the country will carefully be considering their position. If enough of them worry about next years election a gradual move against Blair could be seen although at the moment it seems as if their is no organised effort.
The next general election in Britain is due next year and may well be called about 12 months hence. With both the Labour party and the main opposition Conservatives backing the war(crime) in Iraq, the best that can be hoped for is no overall majority with the anti-war Liberal Democrats holding the balance. If they stick to their guns the main parties will face a choice of withdrawing troops to get a parliamentary majority.

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