Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Revisiting the 90 days

Politaholic is currently reading the paperback edition of Anthony Seldon's Blair Unbound. It is hugely impressive, and massively researched. In some ways that's the problem - it has a feel of "woods and trees" about it, a blow-by-blow account, in exhastive detail. The first volume, I think, was superior, better (and more interestingly) structured.

Anyway, this on the 90 days vote in November 2005 caught my attention. The vote was lost by 332 to 291 votes, but "...Blair was surprisingly philosophical...The Brown camp was not alone in believing that he had stuck so stubbornly to 90 days for party political reasons. Nick Brown points to Milburn saying: "Wouldn't it be good for us to say we're harder on law and order than the other parties?". Some high up in the civil service thought similarly: "If they'd picked thirty days, sixty days, they'd probably have got it through the House of Commons. But it was tied up with politics and outflanking the opposition was too good an opportunity to miss...Even some Number 10 aides concur: "Wrong-footing the Tories was what it was mostly about. It was one of those classic campaigns where the issues in the debate were less important than getting one over on the Tories..." (p.400-401).

Well, of course, we know this already, but it is nice to have it confirmed from such impeccable sources. Interesting also that the Brown camp were sceptical of this transparent ruse over 90 days, but are basically playing the same game of trying to wrong-foot the Tories with 42 days...


Post a Comment

<< Home