He can’t be much enjoying it at the moment, after all. My take on this, for what it’s worth, is — Blair’s desire to go into the record books as part of that select number who’ve been PM for 10 years apart — that he and the senior people in the Labour Party realise that the worst thing he could do — at least as far as either his successor or the Labour Party are concerned — is to stand down this side of the local/Scottish Parliament/Welsh Assembly elections.
Consider the timetable. I don’t know how long it takes to organise a leadership election in the Labour Party, assuming it is a contested election, but it’s going to take several weeks — during which time, of course, the government would be even more ‘paralysed’ than are the Conservatives complaining it is at the moment. Incidentally, I think the present government’s being ‘paralysed’ is no bad thing; I’d far rather they were incapable for a while of doing anything they’re likely to do.
Anyway, assuming it doesn’t take a ridiculous amount of time to organise a contest, virtually the first thing with which a new leader, whoever he is, would have to deal would be the pasting that Labour will inevitably receive in the forthcoming elections. A new leader, whoever he is, wouldn’t save them from what’s in store come May.
Better by far, a least from Labour’s point of view, is for Blair to step down after the forthcoming debacle, effectively taking the blame for it and thus giving his successor the chance to try to present himself as offering a fresh start. It’ll also mean the leadership elections and subsequent cabinet reshuffle take place during the comparative peace of the summer recess and that the new leader can start the new parliamentary session after the dust has settled and with a severely chastened Parliamentary Labour Party, who realise that they’re in dire danger of losing the next election if they rock the boat too much, behind him.