No caving from Tony Blair

Following Labour's losses in Thursday's local elections there are predictable calls from the party's left wing for Tony Blair to hand over his prime ministerial post. Tony Blair's centrism has been driving these people crazy for years now with the result that many among them hate him with a passion that is quite at odds with the rhetoric of love the Left so loves to espouse.

Not so long ago, Mr. Blair was dropping hints that he would resign well before the next general election in order to give his successor time to get a grip on the job and on the party. Now, however, it seems that he has changed his mind and is no great hurry to go away. At least part of the reason for that must be his concern about the direction of the country once Gordon Brown, his heir apparent and the Left's favorite, gets the reins.

The latest evidence of Tony Blair's determination to defy the hard Left is his sacking of Britain's foreign secretary Jack Straw in Friday's cabinet reshuffle. In the past several months, Mr. Straw's thinking swerved markedly leftward with statements such as that a military attack on Iran was 'inconceivable' and that the idea of a tactical nuclear strike was 'nuts.' Tony Blair obviously does not share this misguided pacifism and yesterday he curtly removed the man who sought to incorporate it into Britain's foreign policy.

In the past Tony Blair showed remarkable courage in standing up to the left wing of his party. The dismissal of Jack Straw shows that he has lost none of it.

Good for Tony Blair and good for the world.

Vasko Kohlmayer   5 06 06

Following Labour's losses in Thursday's local elections there are predictable calls from the party's left wing for Tony Blair to hand over his prime ministerial post. Tony Blair's centrism has been driving these people crazy for years now with the result that many among them hate him with a passion that is quite at odds with the rhetoric of love the Left so loves to espouse.

Not so long ago, Mr. Blair was dropping hints that he would resign well before the next general election in order to give his successor time to get a grip on the job and on the party. Now, however, it seems that he has changed his mind and is no great hurry to go away. At least part of the reason for that must be his concern about the direction of the country once Gordon Brown, his heir apparent and the Left's favorite, gets the reins.

The latest evidence of Tony Blair's determination to defy the hard Left is his sacking of Britain's foreign secretary Jack Straw in Friday's cabinet reshuffle. In the past several months, Mr. Straw's thinking swerved markedly leftward with statements such as that a military attack on Iran was 'inconceivable' and that the idea of a tactical nuclear strike was 'nuts.' Tony Blair obviously does not share this misguided pacifism and yesterday he curtly removed the man who sought to incorporate it into Britain's foreign policy.

In the past Tony Blair showed remarkable courage in standing up to the left wing of his party. The dismissal of Jack Straw shows that he has lost none of it.

Good for Tony Blair and good for the world.

Vasko Kohlmayer   5 06 06