Blair Begone!

The seemingly unending 'fairwell tour' is coming to an end, and our 'Glorious Leader' is walking away from Number 10 at a time of his choosing. Whilst it would have been nice to see Blair lose an election, the important thing is that he's going. This was a PM that's reigned over a constitutional settlement that has unbalanced the UK (Scottish Parliament with no balance in England) - and leaving us a Scottish PM who will make laws in some areas which will affect England but not his own constituency. This was a PM who caused passport prices to soar in advance of the ID card scheme , which itself is an expensive white elephant which would not provide the security it claims without massively changing our relationship with the state. (Though Brown reportedly is a convert to ID cards).

This was the PM who wanted the ability to put people in prison for 90 days without charge (equivalent to a six month sentence). This was sold as 'better safe than sorry', but on that reasoning one had better lock up the whole population.

This was the PM who promised electoral reform in 1997, but broke that manifesto promise when in became clear that the distortions introduced by the first past the post system gave labour a representation far in excess of the vote received. In the last election, labour came second in the popular vote in England, but still won more English seats. For the record, I'm not in favour of list based PR, but would like to see a transferable vote system. Harriet 'what anomalies' Harman (2) was elected to the deputy leadership using just such a system - but she's opposed to using that system to elect her to parliament itself.

This was the PM of 45 minutes, of dodgy dossiers.

This was the PM who prohibited free speech near parliament causing people such as Maya Evans to be 'convicted for reading out names of 97 British soldiers killed in Iraq at unauthorised protest. ' Similarly, an 82 year old, Walter Wolfgang was manhandled during a speech for shouting 'Nonsense'. (Would this have been news had he been a 20-something?). The terrorism act was cited. At the same event an MP had his camera seized (though, he helps to vote for the laws, so....)

The new PM may be a new PM, but he was also a member of the cabinet through all of the above - and despite the presidential style of Blair we have collective cabinet responsibility (which is why Robin Cook resigned over Iraq). Brown was Blair's right hand man, and he held the purse-strings throughout. One of his first actions was to change the tax regime for share dividends in pension funds - not tremendously or exciting, but it did have the effect of making pensions grow less quickly, and helped to provoke a pensions crisis.