When Ministers vote with their feet, we should be allowed to vote with our ballots.
Gordon Brown is plainly now devoid of all moral authority, and despite the volatility of public opinion and its ever increasing tendency to be caught in waves of emotion, the coming New Labour electoral massacre will only get worse the longer he hangs on.
Hazel Blears’ announcement today is the most stunning act of treachery. The treachery to Gordon Brown is vast. She timed the announcement for just before a Prime Minister’s Questions, where everybody was already anticipating there might be one of those great parliamentary moments when it becomes clear that he no longer has the confidence of the House – and the Commons could thus recover just a tiny bit of its reputation as a democratic forum.
All Cameron has to do today is point to the New Labour benches behind Brown and open with the insouciantly delivered “Are you quite sure it is wise to show your back to those people?” Gordon will return with his leaden pre-written line about working to save the economy for hard-working families, and be lost.
Indeed, it is hard to know at present whether the nation finds the meltdown of Susan Boyle or the meltdown of Gordon Brown more fascinating. Are they perhaps related?
But Hazel Blears’ treachery is far worse than to Gordon Brown. That can be forgiven, as he was about to sack her anyway.
To announce a political resignation from the Cabinet on the very eve of a national election, is an act of betrayal of her own party so extraordinary that I really can’t think of any precedent. Here, I think the hideously ambitious right wing populist Blears may have miscalculated. A lot of New Labour activists, not to mention MEPs and councillors, who lose their seats this week, will not easily forgive her.
Becoming leader of New Labour is hopefully going to become irrelevant to government, but nonetheless that is where Blears sees her future, as witness her campaign for deputy leader. She was the most enthusiastic propagandist in the government for the “war on terror”. I found her lies to parliament on the situation in Uzbekistan especially galling, but plenty of others have reason to dislike her.
Blears continually talked up the BNP, and often seemed to argue that the way to combat them was to steal their rhetorical clothes.
I do not believe for one second that Blears wishes to return to grassroots politics as she claims. But happily, I think for the rest of her life she will get what she pretends to want.
Maybe she should give up on politics and take up property speculation. Now there’s something she’s good at.