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MAYDAY:Tactical Voting can defeat Bliar.

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May 1, 2004, 3:31:09 AM5/1/04
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Blair's position is weaker than his supporters like to admit. Even if Brown and
Murdoch both stick with him, tactical voting at the next election will slash
his majority, weaken his faction in Parliament, and prompt Labour finally
to dump him. The threat of this will hopefully ensure that Blair goes a lot
sooner than that, though.

Since the first Dumpblair ad in the Independent in March, calls for Blair's
resignation have multiplied. Both the polling data and the political dynamic
suggest these calls are realistic. If Blair's people try to brazen it out,
we have the opportunity to target them with Brent East style tactical
voting. Combined with support for Blair's opponents this could radically
reshape the Labour Party at the next election.

If there were any sign that the tories might get back as a result, we would
have to review the plan. In the meanwhile a new era of democracy and real
reform is within sight.

Our dumpblair campaign started in Crisis Newsletter in autumn 2002 as
suspicion mounted that a firm decision had been made to seize Iraq. If the
cabinet was not going to reign Blair in, we proposed a public response:
to demand Blair's resignation.

Our hopes before the war that Blair would be dumped in a cabinet coup have
not yet been realised, and by now many in Labour are complicit in the ongoing
outrage against international law and human rights that is occupied Iraq. The
Labour conference shamefully supported Blair's foreign policy even though he
had defied the UN and the majority vote of the last conference.

However there is a credible heavyweight anti-Blair camp, with Clare Short,
Robin Cook, Frank Dobson, Mo Mowlam and Chris Smith. This is reminiscent of
the last days of Thatcher before Geoffrey Howe resigned and she went into
free fall. Now. with rumours of Blair/Brown tension getting worse, Blair is
just one resignation away from his own fall: Gordon Brown's.

If Brown really wants to be Prime Minister he will have to make his move
soon. He has already been chancellor for over six years, and with Blair as
premier he has nowhere to go but down. Brown resignation would be the final
straw for Blair is not essential to remove him, indeed if Blair and Brown
stick together it should be possible to get rid of both of them administrating
a tactical voting shock to Labour at the next election.

Blair's current strategy is to appeal to the sympathy vote and offer more
false promises. After the UN `second resolution` and the `road map for peace`
we have had the `promise to consult` Labour, which got him through the party
conference (you can hardly blame Blair for holding Labour in contempt for
believing this rubbish).

The current chimera, relayed by the ever-gullible political staff at The
Guardian, is the readmission of Ken Livingstone, who Blair said would be a
disaster for London. Livingstone, unlike Blair and Brown who are mesmerised
by the crypto-fascist Murdoch media, has made a success of the explosive,
potentially disastrous congestion charge, and created a global model for
pollution control.

Livingstone's readmission to Labour would immediately make him a leadership
candidate. If Blair really let him back in it would be a desperation move to
split the opposition to his rule.

Meanwhile the call for Blair to go has become widespread with around half
the population wanting him out immediately. When we first made the call with
an advertisement in The Independent at the outbreak of war we were a lone
voice. By the end of the war our second ad highlighted the absence of wmds
in Iraq and called for anti-Blair tactical voting at the local elections. By
the end of the summer the Baghdad bounce predicted by friendly political
correspondents (more accurately described as media whores) had undeniably
turned into a Baghdad backlash.

Many Labour MPs are calling for Blair's resignation now, others in March if
still no wmds are found, and virtually everyone after the next election. But
the idea that he might give up after the next election is naive. He will be
asked during the campaign if he plans to go: if he says yes the voters will
be voting for an unknown entity, the new leader, if he says no it will be
even harder to dislodge him.

Blair's support from the Labour party conference has raised the stakes: he
has not been removed by revulsion at his policies, so now he will have to be
removed by a more potent force: MPs losing their seats. After the spectacular
Brent East byelection defeat for Labour in a rock solid constituency, there
is a now real possibility that Labour could be reshaped by the voters.

Dumpblair plans to target 100 pro-Blair Labour MPs for tactical voting so that
his majority is wiped out at the election and at the same time the balance of
power in the PLP is shifted. The obvious person to run the resulting co-alition
government with the Libdems would be Robin Cooke, an opponent of the war and
supporter of PR.

Blair and Murdoch wanted to keep Labour 'loyalists' on side as useful idiots,
sideline Iraq as yesterday's issue and get on with the privatisation agenda. But
even Murdoch's Sun readers can see that while we are in Iraq huge costs are
incurred which are draining spending on schools, the police etc etc. And you
cannot draw a line under a war that is ongoing.

Things could get even worse for Blair. As Bush sinks in popularity, plans to
seize Iran could be revived. Or what if Bush loses to an anti-war Democrat
who then shuns Blair, leaving him isolated on the world stage holding hands
only with Sharon, Berlusconi and Aznar?

Then there is the nightmare scenario: the lies on wmds lead to serious questions
about the official story on the event which made it all possible, the 911
attacks. Blair deceitfully described the 9/11 attacks as `unthinkable` just
weeks after attending the Genoa summit which was encircled with anti-aircraft
guns against precisely that possibility. Blair's biographer Andrew Rawnsley
has recorded that two days before the attacks Blair asked a visitor how they
thought people would react to a terrorist outrage.

As Michael Meacher has pointed out, the 9/11 attacks dovetailed so perfectly
with the pre-existing plans for war as to raise the suspicion that Bush
and Blair were complicit. The flaws in the Official Story are manifold:
suppose the corporate media notices, for instance, that there is officially
no explanation at all for the collapse of WTC7, up until 9/11 the only case
in history of a steel frame building to crumble in a fire.

At home the whores, oblivious to all this, are saying that Blair's Labour is
doing quite well in the polls, considering, that plenty of people still support
the war, and that the pendulum will swing back by the next election. But this
does not stand up to a closer reading.

At least ten percent of the public believe that with the troops engaged they
must profess support for the war. This used to be known as `my country right
or wrong`. Such people will often complain about public services as a code
for protest against the war.

There have been big clear swings of the last six months: Blair's trust level
has plummeted and women voters have swung massively against him. Women are in
general more sensitive to issues of personality and they have realised that
Blair is a dangerously untrustworthy liar, a plausible psychopath. As a result,
Labour are now averaging 35% (in recent elections they have underperformed
their opinion poll rating). A Brown Labour Party would be as popular or more
popular than a Blair led party say voters, who normally underestimate the
effects of a change of leadership.

The terrible news for Blair over the WMD fiasco is that even for his supporters
on the Iraq issue, all future events will be judged on the basis that Blair is
untrustworthy. And that support is now more than ever dependent on apathetic,
warmongering Sun readers, yobs who can easily be reprogrammed by Murdoch when
he judges the time is right to drop Blair.

Pollsters, like economists, look backwards, extrapolating from previous
patterns, while in the real world politics is driven by the new - by 'events,
dear boy' in the famous phrase of PM Harold Macmillan who came to power when
the tories deposed Eden after the Iraq-like fiasco in Suez. Pollsters are
blind to the most simple political process because their system treats future
events as random.

Blair's collapse in popularity from plus twenty to minus thirty in a few
month is unprecedented. Why should opinion swing back? It didn't for John Major.

A better model for public opinion holds that the public, uninterested in day
to day politics, is only affected by the giant stories which come up once or
twice in a decade. These were the Poll tax, the Black Wednesday devaluation
and now Iraq. Under Blair, Labour could be on 35% for five or ten years.

Another approach holds that elections are won by narratives. In the 80's it was:
'the tories might be nasty but they are good at making money and anyway Labour
is incompetent'. The 92 election was: 'Major is a kinder gentler tory we'll
give them one more chance'. 97 was: 'they've blown it, it's Labour's turn,
Blair seems fresh and trustworthy'. In 2002 it was: 'we've got serious doubts
about Blair but the tories are as bad as ever so we'll give him another chance'.

What will the narrative be for the next election? How about: 'We still don't
like the tories but something's got to be done about Blair's mistakes and
arrogance so we'll stay at home or vote Libdem/Green/Nationalist'. Labour's
Blairites could be the victims of massive tactical voting swings, as happened
widely against the tories in 1997, and to Labour in 2001 where a local doctor
replaced a Blairite MP on an NHS issue.

Blair's Iraq policy has lost Labour `only` eight points but this is the core
activist vote, the million and a half people who took to the streets against the
war, the people who gave Brent East to the Libdems. These are aware people who
have made up their minds on Blair's Labour party. Not only will they not drift
back, many will be actively organising tactical voting at the next election.

It has been long predicted: but this time the numbers and the sentiment are
right for a hung Parliament. Far from an indecisive result, a Cook/Kennedy
administration would wrest power back to Parliament and challenge the Downing
Street dictatorship, the servitude to the US, and the dark channels of
corporate power.

Subject as ever to 'events', it may soon be time to start working on an agenda
for a new democracy. There is a liberal/radical majority out there ready
to support a genuine modernisation of politics. How about, as an outline,
proportional representation to keep power in Parliament, retooling of the
economy for a sustainable future, no more support either for the warmongering
neocons or the smooth corporate barons of the WTO, bringing the criminal law
into politics with secret deals banned and an agency to prosecute corruption.

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