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WP: Enter the Likely Heir To Blair (Brown echoes centrist themes)

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-26-05 11:32 PM
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WP: Enter the Likely Heir To Blair (Brown echoes centrist themes)
Enter the Likely Heir To Britain's Blair
By Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, September 27, 2005; Page A17


LONDON, Sept. 26 -- Chancellor Gordon Brown outlined his vision of a "great British society" free of poverty and inequality Monday in a wide-ranging speech seen here as a coming out for his long-delayed ambitions to succeed Tony Blair as prime minister.

"It was not pessimists and reactionaries who built Britain's greatness, but visionaries, optimists and idealists," Brown said, addressing members of the ruling Labor Party at an annual conference in the seaside city of Brighton, and Britons across the country in a speech carried live on national television.

While Blair's address on Tuesday is officially the central event of the party's annual meeting, Brown's speech was perhaps as eagerly awaited. After eight years in office and a narrow victory in elections in May, Blair has announced that this, his third term, will be his last. Political analysts here endlessly debate exactly when Blair might step down, but there is near-unanimous agreement that Brown, who serves as his chancellor of the exchequer, or finance minister, will succeed him.

Clearly addressing critics who have said he would steer Britain to the political left, Brown praised Blair and echoed many of his centrist themes. "We will not just inhabit the center ground but dominate it," he said, in a speech that ranged from pensions to alternative energy but barely mentioned the Iraq war, which has severely damaged the popularity of Blair and Labor. Polls show the war is supported by about a third of the British public.

Blair, 52, and Brown, 54, rose together through the ranks of the Labor Party during years when it was in disarray and the Conservative Party held a grip on power. They have largely been credited with creating the centrist "New Labor" movement that brought the party back to power in 1997 and keeping it there since....


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 07:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. I suspect that Blair will go sooner rather than later.
Just a hunch, but I hope it's right.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 07:56 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Agreed.
One more PR disaster and he's toast.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Blair handover a 'long way' off, insists Cherie
But Cabinet colleagues Charles Clarke and Peter Hain this morning insisted the PM would serve a full third term. And Mrs Blair dismissed suggestions that she would miss playing the part of the leader's wife at future conferences.

"Darling that is a long way in the future," she told the BBC. "It is too far ahead for me to even think about."

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article315402...
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I don't buy it.
She can hear that Connaught Square mortgage ticking.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. You don't think Carlyle would give them a bridging loan?
As long as Tony's life insurance is enough to cover the mortgage, he's got a huge income in the USA guaranteed after retirement. I think Blair wants to beat Maggie's record, which takes him up to the end of 2008.
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I think Cherie will push him towards leaving early.
But you're right that beating Thatcher must be extremely tempting. Yet how extraordinarily vain would you have to be to damage the Labour party, cripple the administration and risk throwing away the whole progressive project simply in order to stay in office one day longer than Thatcher? I could uncharitably imagine that Blair might be that blinkered, but something within me wants to believe that he still has a tenuous grasp of reality.

Brown was right; Labour must renew in order to remain in power, proper renewal, Thatcher-1987 renewal; it must retain the capacity to astonish its base and dismay its opposition. I think the materials are there, but they aren't sitting on the front bench. I have a far higher opinion of Brown's allies than I do of Blunkett, Mandelson, C Clarke, Nanny Jowell and that crowd. They can't rely on the Tories committing hara-kiri forever.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. They've just announced the Tory leader election rule change has failed
which makes it most likely Brown will face Davis at the next election. With Brown appearing to be in a "I'm just like Tony, but without the annoying grin" phase at the moment, I can't see that a change of Labour leadership now would make them much more popular by the next election, and anyway, they've have an easier time running against Davis than Clarke. An economic collapse might lose them the election, but Brown would get the blame for that whether he was PM or Chancellor.
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D-Notice Donating Member (820 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. Who are Brown's allies?
They can't be any worse than the one's you've mentioned...
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Ed Balls springs to mind.
I've got a lot of time for Ed Balls.

Brown also has some highly placed media allies who are biding their time but, when Blair starts to slip, they will be lending a hefty push. I think we've seen a surprising amount of that this week. There will be more.
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leesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 08:07 AM
Response to Original message
3. These are DEFINITELY NOT "centrist" themes
Blair is a radical right winger and Brown will be the same.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 08:14 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I think that's a bit over the top.
Radical right-winger? By whose standards?
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CJCRANE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. Yes and No.
Yes, Blair is a right-winger but I think Brown is more to the left. However, he has to make the right noises and keep Tony happy so that he hands over the reins of power when the time comes.

Once Brown finally gets power I think that's when you'll see a subtle shift to the left.
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1932 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-27-05 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
12. In iTunes, you can listen to an interview with Brown from BBC 4's Today
programme, and he doesn't sound like a centrist in that interview. He sounded like a great progressive who can win and will do the right thing for people.
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