Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Après moi, Gordon Brown

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Au revoir, Tony Blair.

As the The Guardian is reporting, "Blair began the final countdown to his departure [yesterday] by promising a resignation announcement next week and anointing Gordon Brown as his successor". Said Blair: "Within the next few weeks I won't be prime minister of this country. In all probability, a Scot will become prime minister of the United Kingdom, someone who has built one of the strongest economies in the world and who, as I've always said, will make a great prime minister for Britain." (Yes, Brown is a Scot.)

Blair and Brown, who don't like each other, are making nice (in a phony way), and Blair is doing what he can, so it would seem, to ensure a smooth transition of power (for fear of David Cameron's Tories, one suspects), but in some key ways and on some key issues a Brown premiership will be much different than the Blair premiership. Start with the Iraq War, which, as Kevin Drum rightly notes, Brown has never much supported -- which means that "the British withdrawal from Iraq will proceed, if anything, on an even quicker pace than before" -- for my comments on that withdrawal, see here and here. Needless to say, there won't be quite as much warmth between London and Washington as there has been in recent years.

Anyway, get ready for a seven-week leadership campaign -- which Brown is almost certain to win. And get ready for the retirement of a still-youthful and -energetic Blair. Whatever will he do with himself?

For my recent thoughts on Blair, see here. For more on Brown, see my brother's post here.

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