|Man Without Qualities|
Tuesday, March 18, 2003
Despite all the media hoo-hah about Labor Party "rebellions," the Parliament vote backing the Iraq liberation seems not to have been all that close. For example, the BBC reported: Mr Blair is facing a major backbench rebellion over plans to take military action in Iraq. But the motion backing the Blair government's position was passed by 412 vote to 149, where 165 Labour MPs would have had to rebel before Mr Blair had to rely on Tory votes. The dissenters include Lib-Dems, whose party did not back the government. The BBC also reports that rebels ... said 139 backbenchers had opposed Mr Blair compared to 122 at the last vote - but that appears to be a reference to a separate rebel amendment opposing the government's stance (defeated 217 to 396 - with as many as 139 of those voting for the "amendment" being Labour backbenchers).
So, while it's not immediately clear from the phrasing of the media reports, Mr. Blair carried his own "rebellious" party quite nicely - especially if one considers that there is an irredeemable nut of "Old Labor" types within the Labor Party who "support" Mr. Blair generally only under the most extreme duress of their understanding that the alternative is Tory rule.
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