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VOICE OF THE DAILY Mirror: We need you here, Mr Blair..

EVEN loyal supporters of the Prime Minister will feel a twinge of embarrassment today. His harshest critics believe he is sinking fast.

The pictures of a laughing Tony Blair enjoying a millionaire lifestyle in the Caribbean raise difficult questions when the country is on high terror alert.

If Britain really faced the risk of mass murder on a scale matching or surpassing America's 9/11, the PM's decision to remain on holiday looks complacent.

His fun in the sun also gives credence to sceptics who accuse the government of over-hyping the jet threat to justify the abolition of cherished liberties and strengthen police powers.

The political reverberations of the premier's frolicking on the catamaran Good Vibrations risk shaking public confidence in his once-legendary ability to rally the nation in a crisis.

He supposedly left John Prescott in charge but the Deputy Prime Minister appears frightened of his own shadow.

Home Secretary John Reid is clearly relishing his moment in the spotlight but he's been in the post only 101 days.

Blair's inaction seems curious when even President Bush took time out from playing cowboys on his Texas ranch to put on a suit and address the people.

To be leader of Britain includes displays of leadership at moments that may be personally inconvenient.
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 12, 2006
Words:213
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