Friday, May 19, 2006

Blair is living on borrowed time

If Americans want to have a better understanding of British politics, they would do well to read Gerard Baker's analysis in the Weekly Standard. It's clear that Blair and the New Labour project are well and truly finished. But don't expect any salvation from the Tories. As Gerard puts it:

"The worse news is that the resurgent Conservatives are unrecognizable as Margaret Thatcher's party of freedom-promoting radicals. Blair's unpopularity spilled over into mistrust of his public sector reform efforts, and the New Conservatives are distinctly wary of challenging the orthodoxies that hold British politics in thrall. Cameron thinks global warming is the biggest challenge his country and the world face--and in between photo ops in front of melting Norwegian glaciers, he seems committed to maintaining the high taxes, high spending, and nanny-state politics that are steadily driving Britons towards serfdom.

An old joke from the 1960s had a prime minister explaining to an impressionable young backbencher the ways of American politics. He put it this way: "In America there are two political parties. The Republican party is very much like our Conservative party. And the Democratic party is very much like our . . . Conservative party."

The same cynicism can now be applied by Americans to modern British politics: The Labour party is very much like our Democratic party. And the Conservative party is very much like our . . . Democratic party. An odd legacy for a prime minister who thought himself a worthy successor to Margaret Thatcher".