Bloggers on Tony Blair's upcoming exit.

Bloggers on Tony Blair's upcoming exit.

Bloggers on Tony Blair's upcoming exit.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Sept. 6 2006 6:26 PM

Labor Pangs

British bloggers show sympathy for Tony Blair, who's just announced he'll step down in May. They also think Felipe Calderón's official victory in Mexico means Andrés Manuel López Obrador should stop with the protests already, and some are less amused at the latest prank on Paris Hilton than you might think.

Labor pangs: May 31 is the date Tony Blair has given for his departure from 10 Downing St., according to British tabloid the Sun. (Blair's camp refused to comment.) If true, this news would come in a week when seven junior aides have quit because of Blair's reluctance to set a timetable for his own withdrawal, and after months of complaining from fellow Laborites. Even Blair's critics find the hue and cry over the farewell unseemly.

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"Neil Kinnock described the Labour Party of the early and mid-80s as behaving like a javelin throwing team that had elected to receive. It seems some people have learned nothing," begins David Michael Brown at democratic socialist Harry's Place. "The sight of party members now agitating for Blair's hastened departure arrogating the mantle of 'worthy democrat only doing what is best for the country' is repugnant and disingenuous beyond description."

Lord Soley of Hammersmith writes at Lord of the Blog: "The PLP has great influence at times like this. If they decide the present position is untenable then frankly it will remain untenable and change will happen fast! The real danger for the Labour Party is that an enforced resignation creates the risk of continuing conflict based on personalities and groups. There are few deep ideological differences which may prove to be our saving grace."

At Blogging4Merton Laborite Martin Whelton is more disgruntled: "I feel very sad about everything that has happened, disunity is deeply damaging to the party and the current situation is not helped by the behaviour of some, it is clear that some Labour MP's in calling for his departure have created a climate of instability. The current position cannot continue and the only ones that stand to benefit from this disunity will ultimately be the Tories."

At the Guardian's CommentIsFree, Mark Seddon is a bit up and down the wicket on the end of Blair's leadership. On the one hand: "I feel sorry for the prime minister, surrounded as he is a by a pack of hyenas both in parliament and in the media, who have spent the best part of a decade hounding anyone who had the temerity to disagree with a New Labour project." On the other: "He will be best remembered for the catastrophe that is Iraq and for a disastrous misjudgement that he could influence the Bush administration."

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Read more about Blair's departure date.

Low in the Zócalo: Mexico's highest electoral court on Tuesday confirmed the election of conservative Felipe Calderón as president. Defeated leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador remains defiant, however, and promises civil disobedience to protest the ruling.

Conservative Jay Reding sees López Obrador's vow to form a shadow government as tantamount to a declaration of "civil war" in Mexico. Also, "Obrador lost in part because the Mexican people were worried that he would take that country in the autocratic direction of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela — and now it is clear that those fears were quite well founded. The Mexican electoral courts found no evidence that Calderon had in fact committed fraud, and the margin of the vote was large enough that it seems quite unlikely that fraud could explain the results."

Zendo Deb at armed and indignant TFS Magnum thinks "the Mexican Left is saying exactly what the American Left said in 2000, that judges stole the election. The little fact that [Obrador] lost the original count and lost all of the recounts is beside the point. … The Left - everywhere - is convinced that if you don't vote for them you are either brainwashed or stupid, or you must be one of the oppressive capitalists."

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"Idiot/Savant" at the lefty No Right Turn agrees with Obrador supporters that Mexico's electoral tribune has failed to conduct itself with complete transparency but has reservations about what to do from here on out: "It may be better for Mexico's left to wait until next time, and use this as a rallying cry, rather than risk pushing things now."

Read more about Calderón's victory.

Banksy backlash: Subversive graffiti artist Banksy has gone into British record stores and replaced 500 copies of Paris Hilton's debut album Pariswith his own "punked" version of the disc. The Banksy remix includes songs like "Why Am I Famous?" and "What Have I Done?" (Here are pics of the cover art.) While many of his fans are giddy, others are not so much.

"Paris seems a bit of an easy target," submits Jon at living brands, still a Banksy fan. "And attributed quotes like 'she's too dumb to get it' smack of the bitter intelligentsia (thought Banksy was meant to be down with the people on the street, not part of the art lovey set ... but maybe things change)."

But "Legba Rex" at online subculture node Barbelith Underground doesn't even crack the ghost of a smile and wonders if sexism wasn't behind Banksy's guerrilla art attack on Paris: "Anyone who thinks that punishing a woman for doing well in life, enjoying her sexuality (Gah! The nasty prostitute!), and, indeed surviving what could have been a terminal attack on her self-image and confidence (the sex tapes), by … exposing her breasts, is 'revolutionary' as opposed to 'wilfully misogynistic dickery', step into the ring."

Read more about the Banksy prank.