Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"Tony Blair's time is over": Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee, a hard-left writer on the left-wing Guardian in London, says she will "happily" vote for Tony Blair's Labour Party tomorrow, although he is "yesterday's man" and, even if he wins, the only question everyone will ask is "When will he go?". She's already looking forward to the time Gordon Brown, Labour's Chancellor and a man much more palatable to the left than Blair ever was, will succeed him. Everyone assumes Brown will be a shoe-in for the premiership once Blair goes - and both these assumptions are scarcely questioned, which seems a bit worrying, given that the UK, as well as the Labour party, are supposed to be organised along democratic lines.

Looking at it from abroad, it has been a curious election. On the Conservative side, Michael Howard was at one stage being disowned by members of his own party, when he unwisely made heavy weather of the immigration question. He has since moved to more positive issues but if he has struck a chord, it hasn't yet registered with the pollsters. Howard too is seen as a yesterday's man - he served with Margaret Thatcher, for one, and his potential successors are already manoeuvring for his job if he loses.

Tony Blair has lost all trust, partly as a result of his much-publicised fratricidal antics with Brown, partly because he thought himself obliged to lie about the reasons to go to war in Iraq.

The Labour campaign has attacked the Conservatives with posters that verged on the anti-Semitic in their imagery. The voters' distrust of politicians spilled over in loud invective on live TV.

There's bound to be a big protest vote, which will at minimum reduce Labour's lead, but will probably not be enough to result in a hung Parliament or even a Conservative victory.Guardian Unlimited Politics Special Reports Tony Blair's time is over

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