John O’Sullivan predicts that, regardless of what happens today, Tony Blair will be damaged goods by sun up tomorrow. Read why.

But he will be damaged goods. His party will continue restive. He will find his authority over cabinet and backbenchers weakened. He will be unable to push through the public-sector reforms that were his own test of success. He will face a stronger Tory opposition rising in the opinion polls. And he will realize that the British public — faced with such evidence as last week’s figures showing a 14 percent increase in crime — no longer believes in the cleansing myth of New Labor. Even if Blair wins the next election, which is still just about likely, he will no longer be the dominant figure who changed British politics forever. In Browning’s words:

Life’s night begins: let him never come back to us!
There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,
Forced praise on our part- the glimmer of twilight,
Never glad confident morning again!