Is Tony Blair in deep trouble? Not yet, probably. In a recent piece John O’Sullivan did the math. His view was that the Prime Minister could hang on, at least for now. British journalist, Stephen Pollard (in a WSJ article reproduced on his always highly readable website, just scroll down) seems not to be so sure. But his key, and correct, point is that Iraq is not really the issue:
“The Iraq crisis has provided the glue by which disparate strands of the Labour party – the dispossessed and the never in possession, the anti-Americans, the left and the dross – have been able to join together in their opposition to a prime minister who is viewed by the public as a near-deranged warmonger, and the poodle of a trigger-happy Texan moron. That Iraq is merely the pretext is obvious from the complete failure of the rebels to provide any sort of plan for how they would deal with Saddam.”
But even if the vultures are waiting, it’s still too soon for Blair to feel really threatened. If anything goes wrong, all bets are off. That’s a statement of the obvious, of course, but there is, probably, one other moment of danger for the prime minister. If any invasion is preceded by a prolonged bombing campaign, it is likely that the resulting images of devastation will be broadcast night after night on British TV (Saddam will be only too happy to assist) and, without the political support that is likely to kick in the moment that British troops are actually in battle, a few key resignations from the Labour front bench could provoke a crisis.