Privatization Dancer

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LONDON: Now the Thatcher revolution is complete. In a major policy reversal, Labour leader Tony Blair announced Monday that his party, long the champion of nationalization, is ditching its official opposition to privatization. "Gone are the days when Labour represented one side of industry and business found itself automatically on the other," he told business leaders at London's Corn Exchange. "There should be no dogmatic belief. What counts is what works." What's more, if Labour regains No. 10 Downing Street after the May 1 election, Blair pledged that his party will end its regular consultations with trade unions -- no small promise given the unions' role as party founder and prime financial supporter. The move is more bad news for embattled Prime Minister John Major, who has seen his ratings plummet as Labour successfully co-opts his ideas on everything from crime to government spending. A frustrated Conservative Party Communications Director Charles Lewiston joked that the Labour leader wears an earpiece during interviews so that party handlers can give him updates on Labour's latest policy position. But Labour says Major's the one with a credibility problem: "Tony Blair is trusted, John Major is not," a Blair aide told The Guardian. With polls showing that he would lose the election if held today, Major is running out of time to turn around that perception.