The Steamie

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Eddie Barnes: The Future's Bright; the Future's Orange (Tony)

JUST finished watching Tony Blair. Even Tommy Sheridan has never managed to match the extraordinary orangeness of Blair's skin colour. I've never seen anything like it in my life.

As to the content of his speech, it amounted to a Man of the World summation of the global crisis, and a full-on critique of the Conservative strategy. The Tories were, he said, caught between what they believed in and what they thought they had to say in order to win. Hence the confusion over their policy on the NHS, law and order, Europe, and the economy. This, of course, was in total contrast to New Labour of the mid-90s. All those changes weren't motivated by the desire to win an election but because Tony and the gang believed in them all.

All very interesting, but there's something bigger going on here, evident both in Blair's speech today and the Chancellors' debate from last night. Today, Blair focussed relentlessly on the record of Brown and Darling during and after the financial crisis. Meanwhile, last night, Darling, Osborne and Cable all similarly discussed everything in the context of the crash - the deficit, the coming public sector squeeze, tax cuts, etc, all are explained by the credit crunch that preceeded them. The point is that the big crash of '08 has become the ground zero of this election campaign. Nothing before it matters a jot. In fact nothing else matters period.

This is good news for Labour, as it is helping them to obscure the main campaigning point of the Tories: that this lot have been in for 13 years, and that therefore we need change. But when October '08 is the base line, they've only been in for one and a bit years, and the change message becomes weakened. It be interesting to see how the Tories are going to challenge this.

NB. There will be a lot of talk no doubt about whether Labour is wise to have wheeled out Blair today, but I get the impression that this isn't so much a calculation, as the fact that all these Labour die-hards just want to be part of their cause's Final Campaign. This, as they will see it, is their life's work now being challenged - not just by the Tories, but by a new, younger, generation of politicians. It is their last hurrah - the final time any of them will get to taste the thrill of the fight, and they want to be here at the End. You can almost picture Blair et all as the characters of a classic war movie where the soon-to-be-defeated heroes rally for one last battle. "Wouldn't want to be anywhere else but right 'ere, sarg......it's been an honour serving with you Corporal....we've 'ad some good times, ain't we, Sarg?....Bloody good times, Corporal." (heads towards gunfire...patriotic music plays....credits roll....The End)

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