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Downing Street Baby First In 150 Years Born To Serving Prime Minister

Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has given birth to a baby boy.

According to the early edition of The Times: “The baby is the first in more than 150 years to be born to a serving Prime Minister. The last time it happened was in 1849. On that occasion, on July 11, a third child was born to Lady Frances Elliot and her husband Lord John Russell who had been Prime Minister for just over two years.

“The birth of Francis Albert Rollo Russell went almost entirely unrecorded in the newspapers of the day, as did that of his elder brother the previous year.

“The Blair baby has another Downing Street precedent besides the Russells. Viscount Goderich occupied the highest office for barely six months in 1827-28, but managed to sire a son during his brief tenure, and indeed to have it born on the premises. George Frederick Samuel Robinson, the child in question, entered the world at No 10 on 24 October, 1827.

“The new baby is expected to be baptised in about two months, towards the end of July, at about the time that Parliament rises for the summer recess.

“Although Tony Blair is a member of the Church of England, and has no plans to convert, Cherie Blair is a devout Roman Catholic and their other three children are being brought up as Catholics. Like them, the new baby is also expected to be baptised and raised a Catholic. The Blairs take their religion seriously and they will be looking for godparents who will be prepared to fulfil the baptismal promises they make during the service.”

The paper suggests that Peter Mandelson, Labor Party enforcer and Blair confidant, may become godfather.


How Important Is The Election Campaign In Determining Voter Behaviour?

Assessing the 1997 British election, The Economist magazine had this to say in its April 24, 1997 edition:

On the evidence of elections before this one, most campaigns are relatively unimportant.

The majority of voters decide in advance whom they will support (and waverers mostly cancel each other out). Voting decisions are based on voters’ social origins, political preconceptions, personal philosophies and rating of the relevant policies and performance of the contenders for office.

During campaigns, like it or not, they sensibly turn off politics in droves, making most of them immune to the hocus pocus of the likes of Mr Mandelson.

The fact that voters are sceptical of politicians and their blandishments is not a threat to democracy. It’s how democracy, in the real world, really works.

[Read more…]