In his column in today's Telegraph, Boris Johnson has outlined a number of reasons why he thinks Blair will not leave his office anytime soon. The question is, is he right?
Boris argues that first of all it won't happen because it would be an "outrageous insult to the constitution and to the British public" if he just handed over power to Gordon a year or so after being elected to govern for five years. Boris's point out here that it would be like him handing over his job as MP for Henley to his sister and his Association nodding it through.
Boris is of course right, such a move would be outrageous and an insult to the democratic and constitutional process. However, when has the constitution and democratic proccess ever really been an obstacle to Blair doing what Blair wants to do? Outrageous it would be, beyond Blair it isn't. In fairness to Boris he does kind of acknowledge this and gives some more reasons why Blair will not go.
The next reason is because Blair has reached bunker mentality and just can't stand the thought of leaving. Every time he just about manages to reconcile himself to lecture tours of the US, Gordon's men start being smug in public and he thinks "sod you, I'm not going anywhere!". Egoism linked to internal power politics must certainly be a strong driver for Blair. Who would want to lose to Gordon?
The final reason Boris gives is that many of Blair's own MPs know full well that when Gordon comes in they will lose their seats because they rely on Tony's personal vote (as Political Betting pointed out yesterday, Blair does appear to have such a vote, that will probably disappear when Brown takes over). What better reason for Blair to stay than be propped up by the very people who owe him for their income over the past 9 years? Boris is right again I think.
I think Boris may have missed one reason out though. Blair - if reports are to believed - has often been quoted as saying Thatcher's mistake was to go on and on, and, importantly, that he wouldn't repeat it. We all know what Hegel said about history repeating though, perhaps he was right?
Even more so though, perhaps Blair's alleged hero Marx was actually prophesising about the tragedy of Thatcher's downfall and the absurdity of Blair's desire to stay on, when he said, "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce."
How bizarre... I just used Marx to praise Thatcher and denigrate Blair! That feels awfully weird.