Whilst Blair basks in his own halo, the economic driver of his good fortune, the British consumer, is finally pushed beyond endurance.
Economists said the CBI survey made grim reading. Howard Archer, of Global Insight, said: "The survey is disturbingly weak and will heighten concern that the slowdown in consumer spending is firmly entrenched." The survey has raised City expectations of further interest rate cuts.
Consumers have been squeezed by the series of rate rises before last month's cut; rising utility bills; council tax rises, and the housing slowdown. But sliding sales are not the sector's only problem: costs are soaring. House of Fraser's finance director, David Adams, said the chain this year faced a 4% rise in rents; a 6% rates rise, and utility bills more than 5% up on a year ago.
There is also pressure on wages - led by a rise in the minimum national wage next month - and big increases in distribution costs due to higher oil prices. Last week Tesco said steeper oil prices would cost it £60m - and pile further pressure on consumers to curb spending.
Britain appears to be more vulnerable to increases in oil prices than other economies, due to the rise in taxes and wages. If this translates into a fall in living standards, Labour's primary support, economic well-being, will erode very rapidly, as Blair's boast of stability is revealed as stagnation.