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A razor-edge existence

Christmas is supposed to be a season of forgiveness. But, there is no such reprieve for the beleaguered Blair, writes Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Dec 21, 2005 20:11 IST

Christmas is supposed to be a season of friendship and forgiveness. But, there is no such reprieve for the beleaguered Tony Blair. He is at the receiving end both in Europe and at home. He is getting roasted by the media, which accuse him of surrendering British interests to compromise with France on the issue of farm subsidies. His rebels in the party and opposition leaders are blaming him for further burdening taxpayers for funding reforms in Europe.

I am quite sure he would love to cut the Turkey at the family Christmas lunch imagining he was putting the knife through his critics to silence them from hurling abuses at him. Some times one feels pity for him. He is surrounded by hostile European countries at EU sessions and has little option but to compromise if Britain has to remain a part of the Union, even if not fully liked by other members.

Blair was right when he said that it was 2005 and not 1945 and Britain was not fighting a war in Europe and it could hardly survive in isolation. But the problem is that his popularity waned because of the Iraq policy and since then his detractors have been sensing his political demise sooner or later. They are just trying to push him to the abyss. Will he be pushed? I do not think, simply because the prime minister-in-waiting Chancellor Gordon Brown would like to wait and watch for the next few months how the new charismatic Tory leader David Cameron keeps his present popular rating.

The present polls suggest that if an election were to take place now, Tories under Cameron would get 40 per cent votes against Labour under Brown. The forty per cent is the magical percentage to get a party into power. Brown would thus wait until Cameron's honeymoon ends or he gets into a crisis from which he comes out scarred and bruised. Unless of course Blair takes Labour further down, to such depths that Brown feels it will be impossible to salvage the odds for it to win. So the 2006 promise Blair a razor-edge existence.

Christmas survival kit

After many years there are no odds for a white Christmas. It will be cold and windy but there will be no snow anywhere in the country. But what is even more unprecedented is the repeated advise how to survive the festivity. Suddenly, there is realisation that the commercialisation of Christmas and New Year festivities has turned them into an ordeal, most now wish to escape. Umpteen warnings about family rows and credit burdens have cooled the festive ardour. Medical researchers have diagnosed that ingredients in the ritual Christmas family lunches are recipe for heated arguments, recriminations, whining and torrents of tears.

Over three million people face Christmas owing more than £10,000 each on loans and credit cards. A report showed 252,000 people owed £50,000 and 203,000 were on the verge of declaring themselves bankrupt. Londoners are worst hit with almost one in 10 having £10,000 debts. A research has also found that 60 per cent of families fight on December 25. Twenty-five per cent said rows peak soon after eating and drinking four or five glasses of wine and port. Food scientists said turkey dinner that contains high levels of salt used in stuffing and carbohydrates, which boost the body's blood sugar, make diners grumpy. Add alcohol, caffeine, sprouts and the sheer volume of food, it all is a volatile mix.

The same-sex marriage season

Even the hate for Tony Blair has been relegated to inside pages because of the rush for same-sex marriages. Led by Sir Elton John over 687 Mr and Mr got married on December 21, the first day that such weddings become legal. There was huge rush for the ceremony at Westminster in London. Companies and websites have got into the gay spirit and have been offering specialities for the newly wedded couples. One company is offering Mr and Mr towels and soaps. Another has cards for the craziest and queerest couples.

A car rental agency has offered stretched limousines, in bright pink colour. Sir John's hen party meanwhile made headlines with Bill Clinton sending him, a "happy forever" message and an invitee at the stag party getting drunk enough to bare himself. It was considered very exciting.

Sad experience of Beedie

The other day a popular Beedie, whose customers love to come and chat with him in his small shop, has had his eye blackened and chin cut by four teenagers. They barged into his shop and told him ' you are giving us free cigarettes'. Rather mistakenly Beedie thought he would not succumb to four dainty looking girls. He refused. But before he could wink his eyes, he was punched and pushed. Poor Beedie has now decided to move away and find another vocation. He has had so far teenage boys pestering and threatening him but now that girls have come round to doing the same, Beedie is no doubt frustrated and says no more corner shop business. He does not trust the police.

First Published: Dec 21, 2005 20:11 IST