I am really sorry Peter Hain has resigned. Of course, part of me is delighted to crow at the exposure of yet another New Labour financial scandal. But other feelings overrule this.
Peter Hain was the hero of my childhood, who inspired my interest in politics, and helped cement my values, through his anti-Apartheid campaign. I joined the Young Liberals and was soon on their National Executive and a contributor to Liberator. Hain was a talented footballer, and playing against him at a Young Liberal conference in Great Yarmouth around 1975, the only way I could cope with him was to kick him in the bollocks and have him carried from the field.
There was an amazing parallel to this in 2000 when I was playing alongside him in a charity game in Accra, and broke my shoulder in a nasty tackle – he helped carry me off the field.
It was the existence of Peter Hain as a Minister which was one of the factors which led me naively and disastrously to believe for a long while in Uzbekistan that our government could not be knowingly receiving intelligence from torture, and it must be a low level operation. When the government in consequence of my interventions on this issue tried to frame me with false allegations, in a personal way it came home to me hard just how completely Hain and the other New Labour careerists had sold their souls.
Yet I feel sorry for him now, which shows what a sentimental old twit I still am.