Teflon Tony, otherwise known as the 'Houdini of British politics' has
narrowly escaped a major political defeat yet again. It is however fair to say
that his protective layer of teflon may be wearing off, as the Labour majority
in parliament was reduced to just 5, down from the on-paper majority of 161.
Thebill on tuition top-up fees passed its second reading by a vote of 316 to 311,
and the Labour Party's parliamentary group is looking seriously beleaguered
after an intense few days of political haggling and backroom swindles.
The Hutton inquiry produced few surprises. Naturally Tony Blair and Alastair
Campbell were exonerated. This inquiry was no different to any of its
predecessors, since no such inquiry ever found a government to be guilty. It was
Imagine a game of football where the manager of one team made up the
rules to benefit his own side, where the goalposts were moved and where the
referee was on his side. The outcome of such a match would, of course be known
in advance by the winning side, who would then run around the stadium in a state
of ecstasy, yelling “Victory!” That is precisely what happened with the now
infamous Hutton report.
Former Cabinet Minister Clare Short, who resigned over the war, has candidly
admitted that British Intelligence
had spied on UN officials including Secretary General Kofi Annan, in the run-up
to the Iraq war. This follows on the admission of a former translator at GCHQ
who revealed that the US intelligence services has asked the British to spy on
senior UN officials and representatives of other "allied" governments.
The 2004 elections to the European Parliament, London Assembly, and local
councils were a historic defeat for Blair and the Labour leaders. Phil
Mitchinson looks at the rise of the UK Independence Party, and the lessons of
Britain's Super Thursday elections.