Sunday :: May 7, 2006

Roundin' Up Them Varmints

by pessimist

Not long ago, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was electorily defeated and was forced to concede (such as it was) defeat, opening the way for victor Romano Prodi to not only take over the government, but to initiate criminal ivestigations of the charges levelled against Berlusconi while in office. prosecution was postponed due to an immunity law passed expressly for his protection:

... the Italian government ... passed a law that exempts Berlusconi and five other high-level members of his government from prosecution so long as they hold office. These laws have been drafted by legislators who also serve as Berlusconi's defense lawyers in his corruption trials in Milan. Berlusconi's two chief lawyers are members of the Justice Commission of the Italian parliament, and one of them is its president. Thus in his corruption case Berlusconi's lawyers fly from Rome to Milan to defend their client in court; then they fly back to Rome where, as members of parliament, they have helped write the legislation that has gotten their client off the hook.

These laws were later overturned, so it took strenuous effort by Forza Italia members to keep their leader out of the dock.

But with the change in government, likely fomented in part because Italians of all stripes were tired of Silvio's corruption and blocked his attempts to maintain power, he has nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Justice will be served. Cold.

Now, it looks like it's Tony Blair's turn.

Blair has long had troubles with his own party membership, but as they were holding on to a comfortable majority, Blair was able to escape the consequences of his Bu$hCo Killer Attack Lap Poodle actions - until now:

Pressure on Blair to step down grows
Saturday, May 06, 2006

LONDON: Pressure on British Prime Minister Tony Blair to resign following his Labour Party's stinging losses of 319 seats during local elections this week. The Liberal Democrats took 27 percent of the vote, ahead of Labour's 26 percent in the election that saw a voter turnout of only 36 percent. The Conservative Party under its new leader David Cameron turned out big winners of the election. The Tories won 40 percent of the vote to take 316 council seats, making it the strongest party at local level.

319 seats is a lot, and greatly reduced the narrow margin of victory to one slightly resembling that in the US Congress. Just as the GOP in america hasn't a clue, neither does the Laboour Party of Tony Blair - or its leader:

On Friday, Blair responded to Labour's [losses] in the local elections with a radical shake-up of his cabinet. Home Secretary Charles Clarke was sacked in the wake of a scandal over his failure to deport foreigners who had served time in the country's prisons, while Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was demoted to the post of leader of the house. In all, 13 cabinet and senior party posts changed hands in the reshuffle.

Enough is enough, just like when Newt Gingrich pissed off the Republican members of Congress with his personal immorality (I guess he wasn't considered necessary to achieve GOP ends anymore!):

The Guardian reported that a letter calling on Blair to step down had been circulated among a group of Labour MPs. As many as 75 Labour MPs may have signed the circular calling for Blair either to issue a clear timeline for an "orderly transition" or face a formal challenge to his leadership, the Guardian added.

"If Mr Blair does not bow to the pressure, backbench MPs intend to publish a letter, possibly by the end of next week," wrote the Guardian, which is considered an authority on Labour party matters.

I would love to have been the bug behind the lamp to hear this meeting:

[S]upporters of prime minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown were reported on Saturday to be calling for a clear timeline for Blair's departure. The BBC reported that Blair and Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown, long considered his designated successor, had agreed to meet for talks this weekend.

The clock is ticking, and the time for Tony to retire to private life is coming on fast. Once he's down, then all that remains as George's buddies, his world political Rangers if you will, will be John Howard and Junichiro Koizumi. . Maybe he didn't like Howard's testimony at the trial and thought he should stay out of Howard's government. As Japan is making plans to leave Iraq, maybe they aren't so sure Australians will allow their troops to remain in Iraq much longer either. Australians already don't trust their government's ethics, and two states have elections this year!

If Blair and Howard suffer reverses of their political fortunes, George, you will stand alone.

I can't wait!

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