When Ministers Vote With Their Feet 38

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.

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38 thoughts on “When Ministers Vote With Their Feet

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  • eddie

    sjb Ireland is not a good example. Their economy is in meltdown and they face more severe economic problems than most European countries. If you know anything about house prices in Ireland you will understand the root of the problem, boom and bust.

  • dreoilin


    Our present economic situation has nothing to do with Ireland being independent, and doesn’t in any way advance your argument that Scotland would, “come running back to the English for help after a few years”.

    We are suffering the same fall-out as the rest of the world since the sub prime mess in the USA. Try not to take cheap shots. They rarely get you anywhere.

  • eddie

    Not a cheap shot at all. Ireland is in a far more parlous state than the UK or most European countries. It was not me who raised the independence of Ireland in fact. See above.

  • Leo Davidson

    “The misogyny tag was aimed at Craig becasue he has a habit of singling our women politicians for attack. Not just today.”

    Craig wasn’t singling anyone out for attack yesterday. Blears singled herself out by being the only person to resign from the cabinet.

    Should people ignore it when a woman resigns — one who happens to be hated by many people for reasons that have nothing to do with her sex — just because she’s a woman? *That* would be sexist.

    You make yourself look like an idiot who is desperate to make a point even when the evidence you cite has nothing to do with it.

    You are either trying to assert something you know not to be true or you and so obsessed with the idea that you see correlations where there are none.

    Either way it seems clear your agenda is to apologise for New Labour. That makes you either evil or stupid. You can’t apologise for killing a million people while those responsible are still free and powerful.

  • eddie


    Perhaps you don’t understand. I said “not just today” – i.e. Craig has a track record of singling out female politicans for abuse. Read previous threads for evidence of this. I wasn’t talking just about yesterday.

    I would love to see your evidence that the Labour Party has “killed a million people” – the statement makes you look either stupid or worse.

  • Jon

    Leo/Eddie – the best estimate of the number of excess deaths in Iraq stands between 0.8 and 1.3 million, from the Lancet, peer reviewed. Of course there is considerable pressure on the authors and on that journal to retract, but it is the best estimate we have AFAIK. Much better than the well-meaning but much less well reviewed Iraq Body Count, which is in any case just based on media reports.

    So, using the shorthand of “one million” is probably not unreasonable, especially when that figure may be letting them off the hook. In fact, these days, I’d say that repeating the (ancient) establishment claim that 30,000-100,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict would be more likely to be repeated by the gullible. Leo meanwhile appears to have been doing his homework, as any cynical news consumer ought.

  • Hypnos

    Good riddance to cynical resignee Hazel Blears – Certainly no Snow White, but quite ironically of a more poisonous ilk …..

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