First minority governments, now Mean Girls-style back-stabbing: British politics continues to steal from Canada

First minority governments, now Mean Girls-style back-stabbing: British politics continues to steal from Canada

Former British prime minister Tony Blair has a biography coming out this week, and in it he compares his poisonous relationship with Gordon Brown to the drama that dominated so much of Canadian politics for about 15 years: the on-again, off-again rivalry between Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin. According to the Globe, Blair explicitly compares a scandal late in his career to the sponsorship scandal here in Canada, saying Brown was worried he had been given a “ticking time bomb.”

This isn’t even the first time this year that Canadian events have provided inspiration for British politicians—their election gave the Brits a hung parliament just like ours—which left us wondering: what other things have politicos in the U.K. been lifting from Canada without our noticing?

• Childbirth in office: Current PM David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, welcomed their fourth child into the world last week, continuing a new British tradition of PMs having kids in office. Tony Blair and his wife welcomed their youngest during the early part of his tenure at 10 Downing. But both Cameron and Blair are pikers compared to Pierre Trudeau, who had three sons while he was PM during the 1970s.

• Annoying the Yanks: Recently, Cameron has been making noises about pulling all British troops out of Afghanistan by 2015. While this sounds a lot like Canada’s current plans, when it comes to annoying the Americans, our favourite story is the one where Lester Pearson pissed on the president’s rug.

• Drinking: Elsewhere in his biography, Blair says he increasingly came to rely on alcohol to get through his days. This is no contest. Mr. Blair, we’d like to introduce you to John A. MacDonald, a politician who made thirst part of his campaign speeches.

• Entitlements: While Blair and Brown may have finally broken up over “cash for peerages,” the most recent big scandal in British politics was over MPs misspending their allowances in ways that were pretty cheerfully bad, like moat cleaning. There are some words we’re remembering from David Dingwall.

We’re still waiting for the British version of busty hookers, though. At this rate, it won’t be long.

• Blair’s memoir reveals how Chrétien-Martin fuelled his split with Brown [Globe and Mail]
• Iraq war an ‘understandable error,’ Blair says in new book [Toronto Star]