Blair under pressure

Today is likely to be a pivotal day in Tony Blair’s tenure as PM. He’s under pressure on two fronts: not only is he facing rebellion from his own backbenchers around a bill to introduce additional fees to university education to aid that cripplingly underfunded sector, but also the Hutton report into the suicide of David Kelly is likely to reveal the extent to which Blair understood the reliability of the evidence surrounding WMDs at the outset of the Iraq War (2003).

This one news article illustrates the two most striking differences between UK and US politics. Firstly, Blair has an absolutely commanding majority — 161 seats — in the House of Commons, but still is having difficulty getting an unpopular measure passed. The Republican advantage over the Democrats is slim by comparison, yet we never hear of a pet Bush initiative faltering. Secondly, Bush appears to be paying no political price over the failed promise of WMDs as justification for the war, yet it may well cost Blair his job.

2 thoughts on “Blair under pressure”

  1. David Kay’s commentary on WMD and intelligence seems introduced and definitely spun to provide more room for the White House to wriggle out of responsibility. There was a headline yesterday that said something like “White House examining accuracy of intelligence reports on Iraq”. Besides this buying more time for better news from Iraq, it leaves open the option of shifting blame away from Bush.

  2. Breaking news: Blair squeaks through by five votes, on the top-up fees issue. The Hutton report is released tomorrrow.

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