A Foggy Day…
Well, it’s actually been a foggy two days in London-town, and already I have a scoop–or, at least, a divergent point of view from the consensus that British PM Tony Blair is a shoe-in for re-election later this week.
Based on a highly unscientific survey of one London cabby, plus scads of hostility bursting from the front page of nearly ever newspaper on the stands from South Kensington to St. Johns Wood, Blair will get the boot.
I have used a similarly unscientific survey to accurately predict British elections once before–nearly tweny years ago, when Maggie Thatcher won in a landslide shortly after whipping the Argentinians in a battle for a rocky outpost called the Falkland Islands and thereby restoring a measure of British pride.
The week before that election, I asked a London cabby who would win, and he said, over his shoulder and without hesitation, “Maggie.”
When I asked why, he turned to look at me and said (and I quote): “She’s the only one’s got balls now, isn’t she?” So I take discussions with cab drivers seriously, and en route to visit Abbey Road, where the Beatles recorded…well, Abbey Road–the driver and I talked politics. And he told me “the only side of Tony Blair I’d like to see’s his backside.” While much is being made in the rabid British press of how Blair’s stance in favor of the Iraq War is hurting him, it seems–according to my highly unscientific London cabby survey–that the disquiet with the longtime PM stems more from his immigration policies, which are supposedly too lax, and a general disquietude with things around the UK.
Which is odd, because things around the UK–if crowded restaurants, busy museums, packed shops, bustling streets and a frenetic Heathrow Airport are any indication–are booming.
This sort of malaise could be a bad sign for Republicans in the 2006 mid-term elections back in the States, where consumer confidence is slipping despite record low interest rates, record high home prices, high stock valuations and decent employment gains.
Whatever happens in 2006, and regardless of the election outcome here on Thursday, there will be no malaise tomorrow night, at least not inside Royal Albert Hall. First to guess why I’m here in foggy London-town wins precisely nothing of value except your name in the headline of my next blog, which will not be until Tuesday. If I’ve recovered from Monday night, that is. Jeff Matthews I Am Not Making This Up