The longest goodbye in political history has finally come to its inevitable and anti-climactic conclusion.

To his credit, Tony Blair said his farewells to the House of Commons with a good deal of grace and humour that was self-deprecating at times.

It is a pity that the admittedly long-suffering but increasingly insufferable Cherie couldn’t depart Downing Street in similar style.

Standing by your man is an admirable quality, taking the limelight much less so.

Blair’s final day and Gordon Brown’s first as Prime Minister highlights the significant change we are about to see in British politics more than anything else in this protracted handover.

In the way he handles himself, controls his Cabinet, talks to the Commons, deals with the media and converses with the electorate, Gordon Brown is very much his own man with his own style.

He is no Tony Blair. But, of course, that is no bad thing.

Ten years of anything is time enough to bring about change – car, home, job, hairstyle, wardrobe.

Change can be good. Change can be our friend.

Whether Gordon Brown will be our friend as Prime Minister will only becoming apparent in the months and (he hopes) years to come.

Starting with his Cabinet reshuffle, we will see a much different approach from Gordon Brown.

How we adapt to that difference will arguably determine whether he sees off the challenge of the opposition parties in the next General Election.

Change can be our friend, but will it be Gordon Brown’s ally as Prime Minister?


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