Things just seem to be far too exciting in Olde England these days. First Tony Blair resigns, leaving the country in the hands of Gordon Brown, and earlier today the London Metropolitain Police had to defuse a car bomb in Haymarket. And people thought the rain and fog was all you had to worry about…
The attempted bombing in Haymarket has curious timing, to say the least. Mere days after Blair leaves office, someone manages to plant a car bomb, loaded with gasoline, gas cylinders, and nails, in Haymarket. Fortunately for all, it was discovered and disarmed before it was detonated. According to reports, it was an alert ambulence crew, repsonding to a different call, that noticed the car. Their attentiveness to their surroundings saved lives, lives that could have been lost in the potential explosion.
The timing as I said is curious at a minimum. More likely it was intentionally timed to coincide with Gordon Brown’s ascent to Downing Street. Much like the Madrid bombings in Spain, it is quite clear that the intent here is to alter British policy, specifically in the Middle East and more specifically Iraq and Afghanistan. Two days on the job, and Mr. Brown is facing a crisis that could impact British politics for years to come.
It would seem that Tony Blair chose either the ideal time, or the worst time to step down. I have no doubts that the job wore Tony down, and he was probably dreading Question Time every week. So, for his own mental health, this was probably a good time to step down. On the other hand, the Haymarket bomb attempt will leave many Britons wishing for Tony’s calm demeanor at the helm of state, many Tories even. But we’ll have to wait and see what Mr. Brown doesin reaction to this to make a better judgement.
You see, I just don’t find Gordon Brown to be all that. He’s “old Lbour,” the leftist socialist wing of the party that Blair displaced in his rise to power with “New Labour.” He also isn;t very charismatic, nor does he have that broad appeal that Blair had. He could be the end of Labour’s 10 year run in office if the Tories can find someone, anyone, with more charisma than a canceled air mail stamp. This is not say Brown isn’t trying to keep open the bridges that Tony built.
Case in point, Gordon Brown appointed Shaun Woodward to the post of Northern Ireland Secretary. Woodward is a former Tory who jumped over to Labour. This is as much about political pay back to Woodward as it is to mollify the Tory back benchers. As a poster on one of the email lists put it: “He’s the only Labour MP with a butler.” He’s a bit of an unknown when it comes to the Irish situation, at least to me. Woodward was just another Labour back bencher, even though he was once part of the Tory shadow government before he jumped ship.
Other than that, Gordon Brown is still linked far too closely to the likes of Ken Livingston to carry Labour in a general election. That is unless he holds to the course Blair set, and doesn’t try to go “radical” on the British public. It could be an interesting general election if the Tories get their act in shape, even to a bare minimum.