Ah excellent, I was hoping someone would start a thread along these lines so I wouldn’t have to bother.
Now I don’t know about Australia but there was certainly a fair bit of talk in the British papers over the weekend about Blair committing “political suicide” what with the protests and all. I even remember one opinion piece that claimed he’d be gone in three months.
This is highly unlikely but his life will become considerably more difficult if there isn’t a second UN resolution. If troops go in after that I would expect a fair number of the Parliamentary Labour Party to rebel but given the size of the Labour majority and the fact the Tories will back Blair over Iraq he’s in no danger of receiving a vote of no confidence.
Most military experts expect any campaign to be over pretty damn sharpish so If there’s minimal British casualties and Saddam is toppled in a month or two. Blair will get to play the military hero and public opinion will probably swing back onto his side. Certainly a quick victory on the battlefield never hurt Thatcher’s poll ratings.
I found it interesting that some Commentators have suggested that Blair has set a timetable for himself, Deal with Iraq this year, get Britain into the Euro next year and then hand the reigns over to Gordon Brown. This might at least partially explain why he’s willing to ride roughshod over public opinion for pretty much the first time in his tenure at Downing Street. I Also recall London Calling suggesting that he had ambitions to run of Presidency of the EU in a year or two but further details escape me. Hopefully he’ll turn up to elaborate.
As far as election cycles go, the Prime minster can call a general election at any point during his five year term in office. Blair won’t call one and I can’t see Parliament forcing one as stated above so he’s probably safe on that front. Also he’d probably still win given the current lacklustre state of the opposition.
However, there will be an election to Scottish Parliament in May and if this business in Iraq is still ongoing the Labour Party could take a bit of hammering for there pro war stance. It should be remembered that Scotland has always been more left wing than most of the UK and the Scottish National party is main opposition up here. It’s unlikely but just possible they could get a result come May.