Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blair Sets Date For Departure - June 27

By Cernig

On June 27th, the Blair Years of British politics will officially come to an end - mourned by damn few. His own party feel largely betrayed by his involving the UK in Iraq, by his pursuit of a surveilance state and by his cozying up to rich rightwingers across the globe. Yet conservatives were never happy about his reluctance to go all the way in becoming Thatcher-Lite and are also against his war for Bush.

If anything positive, his legacy will be that he moved the Left to the right and the Right to the left in a way which will take decades to change, if ever. British politics isn't as polarized as it once was, and that's a healthy thing. But he did it in a selfish search for power rather than from any altruistic motive.

In the meantime, his remaining months are going to be beyond lame-duck, well into what conservative leader David Cameron today called “a Government of the living dead”.

His almost certain successor is Gordon Brown, the uncharismatic Chancellor who has always been the economic brain behind Blair's policies. Dull he may be, but he's effective. The UK has seen more years in the black under Brown than from any other Chancellor since WW2. Reuters has a summary of what may change in UK policy and what will stay the same.

Economics - Brown was already in charge of economic policy - no change.

Iraq - Brown is likely to back US Democrat calls for a faster troop reduction in the expectation the Democrats will take over the White House in 18 months.

The US - cooler but not hostile. Brown isn't anti-American but will find more common ground with Dems than with Bush and the GOP.

Europe - again, cooler than Blair was, mostly for economic reasons.

Executive power - Brown has said parliament should have a say on big decisions such as going to war. He has also said there should be greater consultation, with the executive being held to account not just by parliament but also by the country at large.

Global warming - is in favor of incentives to curb carbon emmissions rather than taxes to discourage pollution. But also thinks tackling climate change is something that is gloabl in nature and wants a n international agreement rather than seeing each nation go its own way.

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