Yeah, the vote isn't yet official, but Tony Blair's re-election as Prime Minister of the UK is about as foregone a conclusion as Bill Clinton's election win in 1996. Some comments on the Tories (Blair's alleged opposition) and the election itself from those who get paid for this.
First, Max Boot in the article linked in the title of this post:
How can you tell if a political party is brain-dead? Easy. It spends an entire campaign denouncing the incumbent as a smarmy, good-for-nothing liar, rather than outlining its own agenda. The Republicans tried it against Bill Clinton in 1996, the Democrats tried it against George W. Bush in 2004, and now in Britain the Conservatives are trying it, with equal lack of success, against Tony Blair.
Such a tactic is beguiling because, to True Believers, the other side's triumphs are never on the up and up; they must be the result of hoodwinking the hapless electorate. The problem with this approach was pointed out to me by a political strategist last week: "Voters think all politicians are liars. So telling them that someone is a particularly effective liar doesn't work."
It especially doesn't work for the Tories because they're accusing Prime Minister Blair of duplicity on an issue about which they actually agree with him. Conservative leader Michael Howard says he would have supported the invasion of Iraq even without weapons of mass destruction — the subject of Blair's supposed dissembling.
Next, Mark Steyn on Blair and the Tories:
By the time this election was called, the British had fallen out of love with Tony Blair. Unfortunately for the Conservatives, they haven't fallen in love with anybody else. But, in the artful way of highly evolved political systems, the electorate are doing their best to signal to the prime minister that this Thursday's "five-year mandate" is in fact one year's notice. . .
That "one year's notice" means a more traditional Labour party head will likely take over for Blair next year, as Steyn notes:
Unlike U.S. presidents, British prime ministers aren't elected to ''terms.'' The Parliament the voters choose on Thursday can sit for five years, but the prime minister could be gone in one or two or three. Margaret Thatcher won her third election victory in 1987 but was bounced by her party in a grisly act of matricide after a turbulent few weeks in 1990. Maggie's 11-year run was the longest since Lord Liverpool 200 years ago. It's unlikely Tony Blair will hang around long enough to equal it. The main consequence of this election is that his designated successor, the more conventionally Laborite Gordon Brown, will take over sooner rather than later. That's bad news for Washington.
Finally, Andrew Stuttaford whistled in the breeze on National Review:
The Conservatives would, at least, be an improvement on Labour. They aren’t much, but they’ll do (come to think of it, that should be their slogan). After the traumas of recent years, they have been reduced to a rather tatty rump, led by a man sometimes compared to a vampire (well he has been endorsed by Christopher Lee), but, given the obstacles they face, this is inevitable. Nobody entirely normal would agree to take on the task of toppling Labour. That this is such a challenge is a measure of the Conservatives’ failure. Labour rule has been marked by sleaze, spin, economic mismanagement, relentless political correctness and a chaotic immigration policy, a record that, given more effective opposition, should be enough to ensure defeat.