Tony's Fall From Grace

The oil crisis has left Blair with far less clout

What a bizarre turn of events. In early September, Prime Minister Tony Blair was cruising along with some of the highest poll ratings in British history. Then, beginning on Sept. 7, a couple of thousand truckers and farmers blockaded fuel depots and refineries, jeering Blair and eventually bringing much of Britain to a halt. Now, after enjoying double-digit leads for much of his almost 3 1/2-year term, Blair is actually less popular than the much scorned Conservatives. An ICM poll on Sept. 19 for newspaper The Guardian shows Labour trailing the Tories by 38% to 34%.

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