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April 05, 2005
BRIAN MICKLETHWAIT ON THE BRITISH ELECTIONS:
Many of my friends, such as regular Samizdata commenter Paul Coulam to name but one, have said to me that Blair is about to be re-re-elected with a similar majority to last time around, just as Thatcher was. Coulam certainly said this to me a few weeks back. But governments take a long time to unravel, and what does seem to have happened is that the metropolitan media of Britain have got bored with Labour. They are now more bored with Labour than they are disgusted and embarrassed by the Conservatives, which was not true a year ago. Michael Howard may disgust many Samizdata readers by being just another opportunist political hack, but he is nevertheless, I would say, a much more impressive and consequential figure than his two predecessors at the head of the Conservative Party.
I don't know how it will turn out, but I have a prediction about the spin: If Blair loses or does badly, the press will say that the election was a referendum on the Iraq war and Bush. If Blair does better than expected, the press will say that the election was about local issues of no greater significance. (Either way, resentment of the Blair government's position on the EU and immigration will be largely ignored.)
UPDATE: Iain Murray, who's going to be blogging heavily on the British elections, predicts that Blair will do worse than most expect, leading to a British version of the 2000 elections in the U.S.