Wednesday | June 18, 2003
Blair's troubles just begining
By Steve Gilliard
In a devestating blast in the parlimentary inquiry into the British drive to war, former International Development minister Clare Short claimed that a small clique of unelected advisors to Prime Minister Tony Blair hijacked the ministerial process and drove the country to war without informing the cabinent or showing them military options papers.
Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook then claimed that the reports provided by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) were "sexed up" to show the worst possible case against Saddam.
And in what could not have been a good day for Blair, new polling numbers show Labour in serious trouble:
Tony Blair's attempt today to relaunch his public services agenda comes as a new poll shows that mistrust over the government's handling of Iraq has seen Labour's lead over the Conservatives slip to just 4%.
The poll, conducted by Populus for the Times, puts Labour on 37%, with the Tories, who won support among women and the middle classes, rising to 33%. The Liberal Democrats remain stable on around 20%.
A third of the 1,003 voters questioned said they had lost faith in Labour over the Iraq conflict, while over half said they believed the government had "deliberately exaggerated" the risk from WMDs.
The problem is not that Blair will lose the next election, but that he may not be around for it. With numbers like this, Labour could well see their way to shoving him aside.
(Note: Since my posts have been so long, I'm learning how to use the archiving feature to prevent long rants on the main page. Thus, a rant about William Shawcross's column in today's Guardian was chopped. I'll have more to say about the use of dead Shia as a talisman to excuse the snipe hunt later in the week.)