Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tony Blair signs off
Sniff sniff. British Prime Minister Tony Blair resigned today after 10 years in office. His successor is his longtime political partner, sometime rival and the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, who promises "a new government with new priorities", whatever that means.
According to MSNBC, "power changed hands traditionally and quietly behind closed doors in Buckingham Palace as Blair first called on Queen Elizabeth II to submit his resignation, and Brown arrived soon after to be confirmed as the new prime minister".
Earlier, an emotional Blair received a warm send-off in the House of Commons — from his opponents as well as members of his own Labour party — after one final appearance at the weekly question time session.
“I wish everyone — friend or foe — well. And that is that. The end,” he said.
I'll miss Tony, even though I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of him here in Barbados. I still blame Bush for all this. He sucked Blair into his war drama and left him holding the bag. Now Tony is resigning - a black mark on his career - while Bush will simply leave office next year because he can't run again anyway.
It'll be interesting to see how Bush and Brown get on. Brown is known for being a stern fella, so it will be unlikely he'll be branded as Bush's "poodle" like Blair was.
And what's next for Blair? When he leaves office, he will return to the backbenches of the House of Commons as M.P. for Sedgefield in Northern England, though there's speculation that he'll resign his seat later this year to focus on creating an interfaith dialogue, which he sees as a key to reducing tensions around the world, and the challenges posed by climate change. A Web domain name—www.blairfoundation.org—has reportedly been registered on his behalf.
He will also be writing his memoirs, which are expected to earn him at least $8 million, and making speeches, which in the United States alone could earn him $4 million during his first year out of office.
Good luck, Tony. You were a good man doing a bad job. I'm sure I'll see you in John Moore's Bar in St. James real soon.