THE HEADLINES in the papers slammed Tony Blair as he set off this week to the US, Japan and South Korea. They reflect a now near universal feeling that his days are numbered. Just this weekend you could read 'We don't trust you: Tony Blair has lost the trust of the British people over war on Iraq' (Daily Mirror). 'Lost on the Third Way to nowhere. He's run out of drive and so have his policies' (Sunday Times).
'Senior ministers from the top down sense the game is up, but can't bring themselves to say it' (Independent on Sunday). 'Blair has run out of steam, it's time for him to quit' (Hugo Young's column in the Guardian). 'Fine words cannot hide the fact that Blair's Third Way has lost its direction' (Independent). It's easy to forget just what a change this represents. It's a world away from the gushing praise that Blair attracted as recently as last year.
Blair's response to growing criticism has been to blunder on regardless. He continues to insist, for example, that it really was true that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger - although even the CIA now says it was a lie! He tried this week to get his Third Way co-thinkers to agree to allow the great powers to intervene anywhere in the world, whenever they want. Blair is totally cut off from what ordinary people think.
No wonder an opinion poll on Monday revealed that two thirds of voters believe Blair fed them false information in the run-up to war. Just 22 percent said they were definitely going to vote Labour at the next election.
The most focused anger is against Blair's lies about war in Iraq. But New Labour's betrayals are not confined to Blair, or to the war. All the top cabinet figures dipped their hands in the blood of the Iraqi people. Disagree about detail They all joined in the lies over 'weapons of mass destruction'. They all lined up with Bush. They all continue to say the war was right. And they are all committed to the essential policies that Blair stands for at home.
There may be disagreements about details, but they all want more private firms seizing parts of public services, and they all believe in 'flexible labour', cuddling up to business and holding down wages. Blair must not be allowed to slip off the hook, but nor should we limit the battle to changing the New Labour face in Downing Street. Gordon Brown is not the answer. We need a total break from the policies which Blair represents. That means building a socialist alternative to Labour.
Hundreds of people gathered outside Downing Street on Monday to protest at the visit of Israeli leader and war criminal Ariel Sharon to Britain
'The international community should not, and cannot, tolerate a regime that proliferates chemical, biological and potentially also nuclear weapons in absolute defiance of international agreements.'
'People need to understand the comprehensive evil that is Saddam Hussein. He has got these weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological and probably nuclear weapons.'
'We are going to find the weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to the world and were used against other parts of the world. I think in the end history will judge that this was the right thing to do.'