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Surprise resignation paradox

September 8th, 2006

Tony Blair’s announcement that he will resign within a year, but that he won’t say when, is one of those absurdities that seem to be inevitable in politics, a variant on the Galbraith score. There doesn’t seem to be any satisfactory way of handling this kind of situation, since most leaders want to be seen to be making their own choice to leave, but few are willing make that choice until most of their followers already want them to go.

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  1. stephen bartos
    September 8th, 2006 at 23:07 | #1

    the best example of resignation tactics I’ve come across in recent years was the resignation of Jean Chretien in Canada. He was facing enormous pressure within his party,and was about to be forced out of office via a vote at an upcoming party conference by his Finance Minister Paul Martin. So he resigned. However, he exploited a loophole in the party rules – he forward dated his resignation for almost a year later. (ie “here’s my resignation, with effect from…) He could not be ousted, because he’d already resigned, but he was still hanging around! Neat eh?

    Paul Martin eventually got the job, only to lose it in this year’s election.

    I’m not sure of the exact procedural details, I suspect it was one of those situations where only a simple majority was required to vote him out, but a super-majority of some sort was needed to overturn the loophole that he’d found: if there’s any Canadian watchers of this blog they might know.

  2. September 8th, 2006 at 23:39 | #2

    Yep, it’s a hoot. A study in how absurd things can get. Blair had lots of things, but never had much dignity.

  3. brian
    September 9th, 2006 at 01:07 | #3

    How soon can we expect to see Blair in the old Milosevic cell at the Hague!!!

  4. taust
    September 9th, 2006 at 14:41 | #4

    if you regard politicians as a welfare group it is obvious we are just seeing how difficult it is to get people off welfare payments.

    Perhaps we could recommend a system of obligations that failure to perform would lead to breaching.

  5. September 10th, 2006 at 09:53 | #5


    I think it’s called an election.


  6. taust
    September 10th, 2006 at 16:57 | #6

    I think if I was a defaulting welfare recipient I would favour an election process over the current process for breaching.

    Get together a group who rely on your patron or are your friends for the month to vote whether you are in most cases 99% sure of receiving largesse rather than being breached.

  7. Razor
    September 11th, 2006 at 13:12 | #7

    taust – you won’t get any support on this site for getting welfare recipients off welfare – sacre bleu!!

  8. milano803
    September 14th, 2006 at 11:30 | #8

    It is an odd site, watching the most successful Labour politician in British history, 18 months or so after winning a third term, be hounded from office by his own party.

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