The News of the World (which I read for the sport) has a report today that Bill Clinton is set to be the international speaker at this year’s Labour conference to “ride to Tony Blair’s rescue”. The thinking apparently goes that as Blair is facing increasing calls to step down, he will invite Clinton to give a lecture in not turning to the left, and that this will awaken sleep walking activists to the fact that only Blair can win future elections.
According to the paper, Clinton “will warn Labour that a lurch to the left will unravel the PM’s achievements and say that Chancellor Gordon Brown is the only credible successor”. This follows on from Clinton’s praise for Blair at an event in LA a fortnight ago when he said, “I am so proud of Prime Minister Blair on so many issues and grateful for his support”.
The real question is: can Clinton do for Blair what he did for Joe Lieberman? In late July, with Lieberman facing problems in his Connecticut primary, Bill flew in to speak at a rally for Joe and said, “Joe Lieberman is a friend of mine. I love him”.
We can only wait and see if Clinton’s latest endorsement of Blair will be as helpful as it was to Lieberman.