Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Change of guard

Exit Blair, enter Brown. As I'm writing this, Tony is playing the leading role in a show called Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons for the last time. The boyish, public school -like debating pickering will have no political effect (it never does, it's about scoring virtual points rather than about policy), but as undoubtedly this time it will be talked about, analysed and watched more closely than usually, there is pressure for all actors (the supporting lead Cameron and the comic sidekick Ming, the leaders of the opposition parties) to appear at their most statesmanlike. My only question is, will there be a standing ovation at the end?

After the curtain falls in the Commons, Tony will pay a visit to Lizzie at Bucks Pal, telling her that he's had enough and that he's gotta go 'cause he's got a hot date in Jerusalem. "I'm just too stressed with all this... Gordon, the Tories, the press... I'd rather take on Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah, Israel, Jordan and the lot."

Then, Gordon the Scot will go to Liz and say that if Tone doesn't want to play anymore, I'd be more than keen, and literally at a kiss of the hand he'll become the prime minister.

Depending on who you choose to believe, either everything or nothing will now change. The transition of power has either taken far too long or just long enough for it to happen smoothly, or in such a chaotic way. Blair has overstayed his welcome at number 10 but he is also leaving too soon. He was the greatest prime minister since sliced bread but his decade in power has been a total disaster. Gordon Brown, on the other hand is more boring than Blair but he's got the character Blair lacked. He is a great and motivating leader and a stalinist despot.

In other words, nothing has changed: politics or at least political journalism lives in the world of its own, and while politicians score points off each other at the PMQ, the columnists score points by relaying the events to the public using the most colourful expressions possible. It is rhetorically beautiful and a triumph to this beautiful language, but I'm not sure if there has been any innovativeness in British politics in a while. Perhaps since Blair and his troops invented the third way to slice bread.

Edit: Tony did get his standing ovation. The Labour MP's were up immediately after his concluding remarks, the Tories and LibDems were a bit more hesitant, as if waiting for a cue from the front bench...

(Pic: AP via BBC)

No comments: