Thursday, May 03, 2007

He wouldn't, would he?

Tony Blair to stand down as MP as well as PM next week? Not so say Tom Kelly and John Burton.

But if it is true, well, wouldn't that be the final kick in the teeth for the poor bloody voters of Sedgefield who have provided the vehicle for his parliamentary ambitions for the past 24 years?

Blair has always denied that he was a carpetbagger, that he alighted on the old mining seat as a convenient means of getting into Parliament and then spent as little time there as possible.

On the contrary, he has always stressed his County Durham background and his commitment to the North-East of England, although he hasn't always been able to translate that commitment into policy assistance for the region.

The least Blair now owes the people of Sedgefield who re-elected him in 2005 is to see out his term as their constituency MP.

I may be crediting the guy with far too much in the way of decency, but I just can't believe he would reward their steadfast loyalty to him by leaving them in the lurch in this way.

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Toque said...

It may depend on whether Labour can manage to hold onto the council.

If they can't defend Sedgefield then maybe Blair would justify stepping down as a damage limitation exercise.

Anonymous said...

I heard a story a few months ago, from someone in a position to know, that the Blairs were planning to move to the USA outright.

Standing down in Sedgefield would certainly fit that scenario.

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul, one point in your article that I would like to contest. You say that Tony Blair hasn't been able to translate his commitment to the North East into policy assistance for the region. This week Professor Fred Robinson from Durham University published a study on how the North East faired under the Labour Government and it makes pretty good reading (available from the link below).

Now there are clearly still some big challenges in tackling the North-South divide, but it's quite easy to forget how much has been achieved in the last ten years in the North East. The report is frank and honest and highlights outstanding issues as well as some of the challanges in keeping pace with other regions' growth.

I'd argue that the Labour Government has made some considerable differences in the North East, particularly
in terms of regeneration and employment. Yes we need to go further on skills and transport, but if we'd have had an elected regional assembly we would have had more tools to tackle these issues. In the absence of one, our region most aim to be more innovative and creative in solving the solutions that matter to us the most.

Anyway I hope you find the report interesting, if you haven't already read it. Maybe the topic of the North East under Labour could feature in one of your Journal columns some time?

Best wishes, Neil Foster.

Drew said...

"On the contrary, he has always stressed his County Durham background and his commitment to the North-East of England,"

Crumbs, last week he was stressing his Scottish background in Scotland. How come?

Croydonian said...

Hmm. As and when Blair stands down as PM, I cannot imagine he will be devoting his every waking hour to dealing with constituency business, so in some ways Sedgefield might well be better off with a new MP, perhaps?

Richard Bailey said...

Tell us what's been happening in Derbyshire, Paul!!!! You know election results and all!

susan press said...

Blair will be offsky ASAP. Sedgefield has served its purpose and it's time, in Blairspeak, to draw a line and move on.Why on earth would you expect him to do anything else?
Yes, the people of Sedgefield deserve better. No, they won't get it.Maybe the CLP will learn a few lessons....