So, Tony Blair has finally lost a vote in the commons. It has been a long time coming but was pretty spectacular when it finally arrived with 49 of his own MPs voting against the motion. The bill that the members were voting on was an extension to Britain’s existing anti-terror laws and in particular to increase the time that the police can hold a suspect without charging him from the current 14 days to 90.
What struck me was the complete arrogance of the man after he had lost. There was absolutely no attempt at being gracious in defeat, in fact quite the opposite. From the interviews I saw Blair was adamant that the “rebel” MPs had got it wrong and had not followed the will of the people. This is forgetting, of course, that all MPs are elected representatives of the people. I am also not convinced that Blair has got it right about the will of the people. Talking about the plans with colleagues and friends no-one came out strongly in favour for a 90 day rule. In fact the main feeling you got was one of indifference, but that could just be the company I keep.
There are many styles of leader and being a pig headed, autocratic one, in my experience, tends to breed resentment amongst the masses and only leads to rebellion and downfall. Blair has already announced his intention to leave – episodes such as this can only place him under pressure to go sooner.