This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
We look like a rabble
Jacqui Smith’s resignation was inevitable. She jumped before she was pushed.
But, I can’t help thinking it’s all ended a bit sadly for her. I was not her greatest fan. She made mistakes, like over the Gurkhas or 42 day detention, which could have been avoided. But the failure of these policies rests solely at the door of Number Ten and it would be wrong to blame her for the government’s troubles.
I hope she fights to keep her seat at the next election and is successful.
The resignation of Tom Watson is more interesting. One of Brown’s henchman, he was plotter in chief when an attempt was made to remove Tony Blair a few years ago. He may have personal reasons for quitting, but like Patricia Hewitt and Beverley Hughes perhaps he already sees the writing on the wall. Very few sensible people should mourn his departure.
And yet a reshuffle could be very dangerous. If Brown demotes Miliband and sacks Blears they could both go nuclear.
Blear’s credibility is damaged (perhaps irrevocably) but she would be a dangerous threat on the backbenchers and should not be counted out.
If Miliband refuses to be moved, there would be nothing to stop him from sticking the knife in.
It would also seem unfair to remove Alistair Darling – although I accept that this might be inevitable know. He has been steady and courageous in the face of very difficult circumstances and to remove him, might look like Brown is repudiating his own policies.
The effect of yesterday’s resignations makes the Party look like a rabble – leaderless, unfit to govern, incompetent.
Number Ten has no control over events. Ministers are making their own calculated decisions, MPs are refusing to act. Rather than doing what is necessary to save the Government and the Labour Party, they are thinking only about saving their own skins. Can anyone blame them?
An excellent editorial in today’s Guardian, makes it clear what needs to be done.
On a final note, the decision to stop Ian Gibson standing at the next election is a harsh one I think. I know he is an awkward maverick and annoys lots of people. His judgement and politics, at times, is questionable. But he is also one of Parliament’s few trained scientists, with a nationally renowned reputation in cancer medicine. He supports the work of many cancer and patient charities – who will miss him being around – and I can’t help thinking Parliament will be a worse place without him. He is certainly not corrupt.
But that is what the expenses scandal has done – ruined reputations and ended careers.