Cal  Thomas

It isn't just the fallout from the Iraq War that concerns the Blair team (most Brits still believe Saddam Hussein did possess weapons of mass destruction), it's a lot of other things coming all at once. The National Health Service remains in need of reform as complaints about long waits for treatment and poor service at many hospitals continue.

There is also a continuing debate about the euro. Blair and his economic team had promised a rather quick decision on whether Britain should dump the pound sterling and tie its economic future to the euro. Now, Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has delayed a decision until a possible referendum next year. At a news conference, Blair acknowledged that he faced a political battle to overturn widespread public antagonism toward closer relations with Europe. According to the YouGov poll, a strong majority (61 percent) of the public would vote against the euro were a referendum held now. That's up from 51 percent opposition a year ago.

Worse, for Blair, the poll reveals 55 percent would trust Gordon Brown to tell them if, or when, the time is right for Britain to shift to euro, while just 12 percent would trust Blair's judgment on the matter.

All of this turmoil for Blair has Conservatives salivating. The leader of the Conservative Party, Iain (cq) Duncan Smith, seems to have gained new confidence as Blair's troubles have escalated. Smith's debating points are rammed home with more assurance during the weekly "Prime Minister's Question Time," and he smiles more often than in recent memory.

Blair may be in some political difficulty, but he is a politician of considerable talent. The British people don't like political infighting, and since the Thatcher days, infighting has been the chief characteristic of the Tories. If those conservatives can get their act together and if the members of the Labor Party continue to cannibalize each other, the Tory Party could have its first chance at power in more than a decade.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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