Sunday, April 08, 2007

Britain delivers damning verdict on Blair's 10 years

As Blair prepares to leave office, the poll of more than 2,000 adults shows that people believe the country is a more dangerous, less happy, less pleasant place to live. There was a negative response to nearly all of more than 40 questions the public was asked about trust in politics, how they felt about their own lives and whether public services had got better.

Despite some independent evidence that services have improved and the economy has performed well compared with other industrialised nations, the poll shows how damning the public's verdict is on Blair and his government.

The poll, carried out for The Observer for a special supplement on his decade in power, will increase concerns among Labour's high command that the party is facing electoral defeat in the crucial national elections in Scotland and Wales and the local elections in England next month. It could also mean that Gordon Brown, if he wins the subsequent leadership election, will be handed an almost impossible political legacy to deal with.

The poll reveals that almost half of voters consider the outgoing Prime Minister as out of touch, untrustworthy and overly concerned with spin, while 57 per cent think he has stayed in office too long. And despite the billions of pounds poured into health care, more than half rate the government's performance on the NHS as poor or very poor in a sign that even Labour's traditional strengths are becoming dangerously eroded.

The harsh verdict appears to quash hopes that Blair could bow out with the 'crowds wanting more' - as a now infamous leaked Downing Street memo suggested only last autumn - and will renew some Labour MPs' fears that anger with him is contaminating the image of the whole party. It will reopen questions about whether he should be fronting the current election campaign.

No comments: