June 19, 2004

Why Has Britain Become Less Cool? Iraq, Of Course!

"Every British prime minister faces dark hours, but for Tony Blair it seems as if time has stood still at the nadir of his political career. The slump in his popularity brought on by the war in Iraq stubbornly will not come to an end.

Mr. Blair bounded into the top floor conference room at No. 10 Downing Street this week, radiating his trademark charm and sunny disposition to 100 reporters gathered for his monthly news conference.

"Iraq has dominated the agenda over many months and there is no point pretending otherwise," Mr. Blair told them pre-emptively. "But I should say to you that I believe every bit as passionately now that rogue states, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction are indeed the security threat of the 21st century, and we have to confront them."

It was an assertion that did not carry the weight it did 16 months ago when he took the nation to war....

...The era of a cooler and hipper Britannia seems now lost to the rancor of a thousand political battles, but most overwhelmingly to the war in Iraq."

An op-ed in the Guardian?

A "news analysis" over at the Times?

Nope, just a straight piece of news reporting from Pat Tyler.

Note the (somewhat awkward) use of the word "pre-emptively."

Cute, huh?

Iraq isn't only to blame for making the U.K. less hip.

It also "pulls like the millstone around Mr. Blair's neck, and its weight has undermined his role as the pivotal prime minister, one whose leadership in Europe was supposed to give him more leverage over the Bush administration, and whose influence in Washington was supposed to strengthen Britain's hand in Europe."

Memo to Pat Tyler--it's not quite all that bad over here for Mr. Blair.

After all, polls wouldn't have Blair easily winning a third term if all were so doom and gloom.

But you wouldn't know that sitting in the Upper West Side perusing the "news" in the New York Times, would you?

Posted by Gregory at June 19, 2004 11:01 PM
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