Glenda Jackson has a piece in the Grauniad today which is astoundingly vituperative in its assessment of Blair. She claims that his entire leadership has been based on distancing himself from the party at large, and that this is to blame for the loss of seats last week, both because of its policy implications, and because of its effects on the willingness of the membership to go out and get involved in the hard slog of canvassing, with the consequence that he has to go, now. Indicative of the general tone is this quote:
Of course, it may well be that Tony Blair and those around him will be able to reach out to the disaffected. David Blunkett's savage attack on "the self indulgent" voters who expressed disquiet over trivial issues like the death of 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians may well herald the dawn of a new progressive centre-left consensus - but I have my doubts.
Now, Jackson has, in the last parliament, been a fairly consistent rebel against the government on issues like tuition fees, the war, and PFI, but she isn't really a member of the angry brigade: she was a minister in the first Blair government, and uses freely in the article terms like 'progressive' and 'centre-left' which are strongly associated with the reformist wing of the Labour Party. Her vote did collapse in Hampstead and Highgate, with the LibDems picking up large proportions of it, so we might put this down to wanting to shore up her position by appealing to the kinds of concerns which probably resulted in that loss of support, but the openness of this condemnation, the disgust which drips from every word, was hardly necessary to achieve that end. This is a scathing attack on the Blairite project as a whole, not as it has manifested itself in particular decisions, from someone who I am fairly sure it would be seriously misleading to describe as Bennite, and if it is remotely indicative of the feelings on the backbenches, the government could soon find itself in very hot water.
Update: Backword Dave points out, no link. Link created (although, it's not that hard to find things on the Guardian's site).