Thursday, 24 January 2008

Peter Hain has resigned

Peter Hain has finally gone, months after forgetting to declare the hundred thousand pounds donated to him. After a period of silence his cabinet colleagues have finally found their voice, and are saying he will be back when he has cleared his name. Without wishing to prejudge an investigation, its difficult to see how he can be innocent when he has admitted already to making the mistakes, and came up with an lame excuse of being too busy to get those minor details correct!

The sad thing is he was one of the better members of the cabinet, with some bravery and an individual voice. He built on others success in Northern Ireland. I recall a question time when he condemned Guantanamo Bay, Blair later agreed with him on this. Of course this was too little too late, but it was an improvement on being Bush’s poodle, as we were seen to be up till then.

Some of the people defending Hain are surprising choices, Geoff Hoon is the man that was minister of defence during the Iraq war fiasco. I’ve also heard Keith Vaz mentioned a few times, but he will be remembered as one of the more corrupt ministers under Blair. An inquiry in 2002 ruled that Mr Vaz should be suspended for one month for "serious breaches" of the MPs' code of conduct, and a contempt of the House of Commons. I recall they got rid of the head of that independent inquiry soon after.

The home secretary Jackie Smith said it wasn't safe for a woman to go out on her own, but then backtracked and claimed to have bought a kebab recently in London. This rather contradicts Labours claim on crime reduction. Its true that perception of crime has increased, but they can't disguise a gaff that borders on incompetence.

This all leaves Brown looking more like John Major, after all his talk about a moral compass he now seems to be overtaken by events, the New Labour juggernaut has been derailed and is heading for a cliff. Even his record as Chancellor is at last being called into question, with the economy grinding to a halt. His golden rule seems to have been a piece of spin, he rarely explained what is was but used it to ‘dazzle’ innocent journalists. Perhaps the real meaning of the rule was like the proverbial eleventh commandment, ‘don’t get caught’. Now he has been caught out, he is a rabbit in the spotlights with nowhere to hide.

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