I was shocked to find members of the government standing on principles. Well done to the Magnificent Seven who resigned today in protest at the Blair fiasco. Blair's position has become untenable... and the leaked memo about his final days demonstrated an incredible conceit.
He may hang on for a while, or he may go tomorrow (which will be spun as 'standing aside so as not to disrupt the good work of the government'). Either way, it really does feel like his last days... the vultures are circling, and I'm reminded of Thatcher, and of Major in 1997...
This government has done more to disrupt the institutions of this country than any I care to think of, from the mess of West Lothian, to tampering with the Lords without a clear sense of direction. From the attempts to remove the right to a jury trial, to 90 days in detention without charge, from ID cards, to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.
We have had attacks on free speech (Rowan Atkinson's campaign against the 'incitement' clauses), removal of the right to protest near parliament (witness the woman arrested for ringing a bell at the cenotaph), the presumption of innocence (the police and justice bill allows for tagging without reference to a judge - also asbos are open for abuse). (For more, see the Independent, May 4th, 2006)
No, I won't be sorry to see Blair go. However, I don't hold out much hope that Reid or Brown will be better.
.... and I've yet to see Cameron take a clear and unequivocal stand on these issues.
Tom Watson is a man who's just gone up in my estimation though.
On top of these big issues, this government has become more detached from direct contact. Thatcher gave quite a few interviews, as did Major. They went on 'Question Time' as part of the panel, I seem to recall. A Blair interview is a rarity, he's rarely cross examined, and the country suffers from this - his views aren't challenged.
On an even more petty level, it annoys me that everything is on first name terms. It's 'Tony', 'Gordon', or 'Saddam'.. I'm not best mates with the PM, why should I call him 'Tony'? When I phone my bank, I want to be 'Mistered', I don't want to be best mates with the guy on the other end of the phone.... when did everyone get on first name terms? I blame Tony!