Breaking News: Tony Blair stepping down

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Dirt McGirt, May 10, 2007.

  1. Dirt McGirt
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    Dirt McGirt Bad Mother****er

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    Blair to resign on June 27
    POSTED: 7:57 a.m. EDT, May 10, 2007

    LONDON, England (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced his resignation Thursday as Labour Party leader and prime minister after a decade in power.

    "I've come back here to Sedgefield, to my constituency, where my political journey began and where it's fitting that it ends," Blair said.

    "I've been prime minister of this country for just over 10 years ... I think that's long enough for me, but more importantly, for the country."

    Blair, appearing relaxed, spoke at his parliamentary constituency of Sedgefield in northeast England and said he would tender his resignation as prime minister to Queen Elizabeth on June 27.

    At times, the outgoing PM was choked with emotion. He thanked the nation for supporting him during his time in office and apologized for his shortcomings but not for his actions.

    "Accept one thing," he said, "I did what I did because I thought it was right."

    Blair arrived to a cheering crowd of local activists and applause from supporters in his parliamentary constituency in northeast England. Labour's longest-serving PM met his Cabinet Thursday morning ahead of the midday announcement.

    Following the morning meeting Blair slipped out the back door and headed to an airport near London to catch a flight to his constituency. Blair has represented Sedgefield in the House of Commons since 1983.

    Britain's powerful finance minister, Gordon Brown, is considered the heavy favorite to succeed Blair as Labour leader and prime minister. Brown, 56, who is from Scotland, has been chancellor throughout Blair's tenure.

    Blair will not be leaving his posts as Labour Party leader or prime minister until after a leadership election within his party, his spokesman emphasized on Wednesday.

    The selection process -- which includes a vote of Labour lawmakers, party members and members of affiliated trade unions -- is expected to take six to seven weeks, with confirmation by a party conference at the end of June. At that point, Blair will formally submit his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II, clearing the way for Brown to take over as Britain's leader.

    Given Labour's majority in the House of Commons, an election is not required.
    Blair's Legacy

    Blair has seen his popularity plunge because of his steadfast support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and political scandal.

    He had announced last fall that he would leave office this year but did not give a specific date.

    His departure announcement comes a week after Labour took heavy losses in local and national elections in Scotland and Wales.

    The Conservatives gained more than 900 local offices in England, and for the first time in 50 years, the independence-minded Scottish National Party ended Labour dominance to become the largest party in the Scottish Parliament.

    At the same time, Blair's departure announcement comes the week Protestant Unionism leader Ian Paisley and former arch-foe Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, a former IRA commander, were sworn in as Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive. The landmark capped 10 years of Blair's work for peace. (More on his legacy)

    Blair, 54, has been at the helm of the Labour since 1994 and led it to an unprecedented three straight election victories in 1997, 2001 and 2005.

    CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour said Blair began his career as a young, dynamic leader with a lot more hair and fewer wrinkles, who "made it cool again to be British, not just noble."

    Amanpour highlighted Blair's humanitarian interventionist triumphs in Kosovo and Sierra Leone as well as his commitment to peace in Northern Ireland, saying his achievements were "quite amazing."

    But his political fortunes have been weighed down by the Iraq war and an investigation into whether Labour campaign donors were rewarded with coveted seats in the House of Lords. In December, he became the first serving prime minister questioned as part of a criminal inquiry relating to the investigation.

    Amanpour said Blair is arguably one of the most successful prime ministers in British history but added that his lack of judgement and the failure of his Iraq policy "is something that will dog him for many years."

    "Nobody, perhaps least of all Tony Blair, could forsee Iraq as such a disaster," Amanpour added.

    Brown does not have to call another election until 2010. But opposition leaders, including the Conservatives' David Cameron, have been pressing for a quick election, arguing that Britain's voters should have a say in picking their next prime minister. Blair's departure, they say, is long overdue.

    "Why does the country have to put up with another seven weeks of paralysis?" Cameron asked, calling the government during an exchange in the House of Commons Wednesday one "of the living dead."

    Blair, with Brown sitting right behind him, replied, "I'll tell him what I'll be concentrating on in the next seven weeks, and that is policy."

    Cameron -- whose party is regaining popularity after years overshadowed Labour -- "can be as cocky as he likes about the local elections," Blair retorted, "but come a general election, it's policy that counts, and, on policy, he loses."

    Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/05/10/blair.announcement/index.html
     
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  2. Psychoblues
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    Psychoblues Senior Member

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    OK, I'll run with it.



    Care to express your thoughts on it?
     
  3. Dirt McGirt
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    Dirt McGirt Bad Mother****er

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    I think Blair should have resigned a long time ago. Blair is a very entertaining speaker, highly intelligent, and genuine. It's just Iraq damaged his legacy and kept him from focusing on anything else. I know many of the Brits hate Blair and a lot of liberals see him as "Bush's poodle" but I liked him. I think as time passes, Blair will be looked upon more favorably.

    I always found it ironic that Blair and Bush hit it off so well despite Blair being a liberal. And then you have a moderate to right of center leader like Chirac (considered conservative by Euro standards) who was always at odds with the Bush Administration. I guess when it comes to other countries, we tend to look at foreign policy more than their social programs and political parties.
     
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  4. Psychoblues
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    Psychoblues Senior Member

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    Whoa!!!! I didn't mean to cool you like an ice cube, Dirt!!!!



    Great thoughts!!!!! Much like my own.
     
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  5. Mr.Conley
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    Mr.Conley Senior Member

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    Chirac's a Gaulist.
     
  6. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Tony Blair is a very bright man. When faced with a choice between old Europe (the French and Germans) and America, he chose America. No one, probably even Blair, could have guessed that Bush would disregard the advice of his generals and put in only about 30 percent of the recommended troops into Iraq. While I do not agree with every social position taken by Tony Blair, he did very significantly improve the economy of Britain, and raise the standard of living. Frankly, I wish we in America had someone as gifted as Tony Blair to vote for.
     
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  7. Mr.Conley
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    I'm not sure that this story is exactly **breaking news**. Blair stated during his last campaign that he' resign before the end of his term, and everyone's known that this was coming sometime in the next few weeks. He said he'd announce his plans by the end of May.
     
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  8. Psychoblues
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    Psychoblues Senior Member

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    It's real, Mr. C.


    Very real and very "breaking".

    Can you dig it?
     
  9. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Bush Chastises British Reporters For Treating Blair Like Dead Minister Walking
    Posted by Tim Graham on May 17, 2007 - 17:51.
    It's quite rare for President Bush to lecture reporters, but he did it Thursday morning to British reporters in a Rose Garden press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. When reporters for Sky News and BBC tried to suggest strongly that Blair was the lamest of ducks, President Bush upbraided them for "trying to do a tap dance on this political grave" and said Blair is a solid, respected leader, unlike some political players (in the press?): "There's a lot of blowhards in the political process, a lot of hot air artists, people who've got something fancy to say."

    After reporter Adam Boulton of Sky News pressed Bush if he's "partly to blame" for Blair retiring, a reporter for the program BBC Newsnight really stirred up the president:

    QUESTION: Mr. Blair, you outlined some very big policy areas there in your discussions with the president. Is it really possible, do you think, to make significant progress on them in the time that you have left? And, Mr. President, if I could ask you: Is this really still the right man to be talking to?

    BUSH: Yes. No question about it, it's the right man to be talking to. And, yes, we can get a lot done....[Blair offers long answer]...You know, it's interesting -- like trying to do a tap dance on this political grave, aren't you? I mean this -- you don't understand how effective Blair is, I guess, because when we're in a room with world leaders and he speaks, people listen. And they view his opinion as considered and his judgment as sound.

    And I find it interesting the first two questions are: Is this the right guy? Well, he happens to be your prime minister. But, more importantly, he is a respected man in the international arena. People admire him. Even if they may not agree with him 100 percent, they admire him a lot.

    And it's not just the American president who admires him. A lot of people admire him. And so he's effective. He's effective because his recommendations to solve problems are sound. He's also effective because he is the kind of person who follows through. There's a lot of blowhards in the political process, a lot of hot air artists, people who've got something fancy to say.

    Tony Blair is somebody who actually follows through with his convictions and, therefore, is admired in the international community.

    The earlier question by Boulton unfolded like this:

    QUESTION: During the course of this visit, it has been confirmed that Gordon Brown is going to be the next British prime minister, taking over in 40 days time. I wonder if I could have both your reactions to that. And in particular, to Mr. Blair, what do you say to those people who say now there's a new prime minister in place you should go sooner? And to Mr. Bush...

    BUSH, laughing: Lovely question, isn't it?

    QUESTION: ... however inadvertently, you once said that you would like Tony Blair to stay for the duration of your presidency. He's not doing that. Do you think you're partly to blame for that?

    BUSH: I haven't polled the Labour conference. But, could be. The question is: Am I to blame for his leaving? I don't know....He's going to finish the job that the people want him to do. And I'm going to work with him to do it. The meetings today weren't -- this wasn't like a farewell deal. This was, "How can we continue to work together for the common good?" And that's what we'll do. As to why things happen politically in Great Britain, I'd suggest you go over there and ask people. Nice to see you again. (LAUGHTER)

    BLAIR: You've kind of forgotten what the British media are like... (LAUGHTER)

    BUSH: At least he woke up to ask the question.

    BLAIR: ....I'll answer the question about the president, as well in relation to me. I mean, you can debate that as much as you like, but I want to say one thing to you since this will be the last chance I get to do this type of press conference in the Rose Garden standing next to President Bush.

    I've admired him as a president and I regard him as a friend. I have taken the view that Britain should stand shoulder to shoulder with America after September 11. I have never deviated from that view. I do not regret that view. I am proud of the relationship we have had. I am proud of the relationship between our two countries.

    http://newsbusters.org/node/12831
     
  10. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    Good post RSR. I watched the complete Blair-Bush Rose Garden press conference last night on C-Span. The behavior of the British "journalists" was astonishingly disrespectful to Blair. Bush immediately rose to Blair's defense. As usual, Bush could have been more articulate, but there was no doubt how he felt about Blair. The press conference ended something like this: Bush: "The world needs more courage. And Tony Blair is a courageous man." Then Bush shook Blair's hand, and they both turned and walked back into the White House.
     

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