There’s still news happening outside of Washington:
While Britain’s results in the EU vote will not be clear until Sunday, the local vote showed a stinging backlash to Blair, whose popularity has slumped amid lingering doubts about his judgment and truthfulness.
Blair’s Labour Party had been expected to suffer losses – the usual fate of governments between national elections. Instead, the focus was on the size of the loss, which appeared to be significant with results from 65 of the 166 local councils declared.
Labour was down 159 seats; the main opposition Conservative Party had gained 77 seats; and Britain’s third largest party, the Liberal Democrats – which staked its campaign heavily on it being the only major party to oppose the war – gained 68 seats.
The British Broadcasting Corp. projected that Labour would trail in third place with 26 percent of the total vote, behind the Conservatives on 38 percent and the Lib Dems on 30 percent.
Is this the beginning of the end for New Labour?
Blair’s New Labour has been a little bit Old Labour, and a little bit old(er) Tory. Given the choice between faux-conservatism, real conservatism, and one small (but genuinely anti-war) party, British voters seem to be chosing between the two real alternatives.
The national elections should be very interesting, indeed.