Written by John Cavanagh
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Topics: Tony Blair, London

Monday, 14 March 2005

LONDON (AP) - "In a hard fought contest, it will be New Labour's natural ability to present a unified front, that will ensure us victory for a third time", said UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"I freely admit, there are times when Chancellor Gordon Brown is not in full agreement with everything I may say on a given issue; but let's be truthful, he always maintains strict professionalism, and effortlessly puts his best political foot forward for New Labour. When I am speaking in Parliament, aggressively taking on the Tories, Gordon Brown is always focused and on the game - he only seems to yawn intermittently now."

BBC political correspondent Shaun Ley says, "the Tories seem to be wracked with internal division and bickering, at a time when Labour is coolly going forward with a modern, passionate and progressive policy platform."

The Chancellor emphasised Labour's "collective spirit" and "the ease with which it can put aside personal differences for the greater good" as being "fundamental" to its winning chances. "Take myself for instance. I have to deal with this incompetent, swaggering, neo-Thatcherite on a daily basis; and that includes all of his various sputtering and aimless rhetoric - but you'd hardly know I'm upset by it. As much as I want to kill the guy, I just accept that he is part of this ship of fools I have to sail with; and I secretly adjust the rigging to ensure we travel in the right direction."

Brown insists that, "Blair appears to be obsessed with Rupert Murdoch and his fellow private-sector cronies. He really needs to start focusing on a fair society for all - not just a paradise for his rich mates. The Labour party should offer the British people more than just a modern collection of policies; we should be leading a wider crusade. However, this is probably beyond Blair's ability to comprehend."

Conservative leader Michael Howard believes that "Labour is now on the run. They just don't get it anymore. There's only one way to deal with a lack of unity in your team; and that's to censor it. The Conservative Party know all about censoring diverse and interesting voices; and channelling them into the single view that I am espousing."

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