英伦广角British Vision(5):布莱尔首相四面楚歌

Fighting on the right, questioning on the left, the candid Tony Blair admitted today that he's battling on all fronts to get his way on public sector reform. At his last regular Downing Street press conference of the year, Mr. Blair told journalists he felt confident, and was enjoying the fight, but as well as reinvigorated Conservative Party, he is also facing a revolt of his own party over his education reforms. Our political editor Gary Gibbon takes a look at what the new year might bring for the prime minister.

Gary Gibbon: This was the prime minister's chance to say how he sees the coming year, to kill off any notion that he is flagging, oppressed by his critics, likely to throw in the towel, to persuade his audience that 2006 will not be the year his premiership ends.

Tony Blair: I feel a tremendous sense of confidence. I've never felt more confident. We should be confident. I feel very confident. I thought I 've never felt more confident...

Gary Gibbon: But is the prime minister confident that he can get his way, or confident he can keep his job? There're signs of Westminster that he won't necessarily be able to do both. Normally, reliable supporters of the government determined not to let prime minister have his way on education reforms. They sense the government's offering a compromise, perhaps tightening the rules on selection, but they're determined to make a stand against what they see as a drastic reform of local education authorities."

"You've got a te....for loosening the LEA's control over secondary schools and rethinking it."

Gary Gibbon: The rebels are demanding a rewrite of the bill that would tighten local government's grip on schools.

"...would it be worse passing an education bill that in some cases strengthened the LEA's control and largely left it unreformed?"

Tony Blair: It won't. No is the answer. If...if...if what it does, actually hobbles schools from moving forward in the way that they need to."

Clive Betts: I don't want to speculate on the end of the prime minister's premiership, because ..um.. you know..there..he has just won the... a thrid term...um.. as I say, the, there has been a great success in our education program so far in raising standards (but) and building new schools (but), but I just wish he would listen on this issue.

Gary Gibbon: In this week, the prime minister have to deal with public attacks from a man who says he just doesn't do that sort of thing.

"But when we do disagree. I don't wish you out and issue a press release or brief the newspapers."

Gary Gibbon: But that 's what he just did, swacking the prime minister where it hurts. He said he was critical and not totally convinced of Mr.Blair's cherished education plans.

Tony Blair: ...you know, in respect of John's comments on, on education, I doubt any of you are particularly surprised that was his concern,..um...and, you know he, he does this.."

Gary Gibbon: And Tony Blair is entering a new year in which the polls are moving in the wrong direction. An average of polls after the election showed Labor within an 8 point lead. This month Labor's down. The Tories for the first time in 12 years could be getting a sustained lead. Mr. Blair said Labor could come back, if it's stuck with public sector reform. He sensed David Cameron's conservatives wanted to paint Labor the party of the state, and that trap must be avoided.

Tony Blair: If there is an arguement that the Labor party has got to be careful of, it's this arguement that we are more interested in the state than we're in people.

George Osborne: Tony Blair is right to identify this is a problem for the Labor party. Uh, the only thing I'd say he has been prime minister for eight years and he's not done much about it, ur, the Labor government's solutions and also its public service reforms have tended to be top-down solutions, and of course there is this, other person in charge of the Labor party Golden Brown, who explicitly rules out..Um.. greater transfer of collective power to a community away from the state.

Gary Gibbon: Mr.Blair warned against high-octane sensational headlines predicting his imminent demise, but he knows he is entering a year that many in his own party hope will be the closing chapter of his leadership.

The prime minister also insisted he didn't want to add fuel to claims that CIA planes can, prisoners onboard, may have landed in Britain before moving to countries to practise torture. Last weekend, the US Secretary of state Colin Paul said that rendition is not new or unknown to my European friends. Well, I ask the prime minister, now that he knows, is he going to investigate the allegations?

Tony Blair: I, I have absolutely no evidence to suggest that anything illegal's been happening here at all, and I don't want to start ordering inquiries into this stuff or the next thing well if I've got no evidence to show whether this's right or not, and honestly, you know, it's like all the stuff about camps in Europe or something, I don't know, I've never heard of such a thing, I can't tell you whether such a thing exists, because I don't know

本期难点

1. throw in the towel: give up; admit defeat.

2. the LEA: Local Education Authority (UK)

3. swack: vt. [苏]重击; 鞭打; 猛掷

4. Tory: A member of a British political party, founded in 1689, that was the opposition party to the Whigs and has been known as the Conservative Party since about 1832.

5. high-octane: High-powered; dynamic

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