Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Someone who was about to lose their job has resigned

24 hours is a long time in politics, or today it certainly is. The impact of Hazel Blears resignation on the media cycle seems out of proportion to our expectations. Talking about it to movers and shakers in the City at the CNBC studios, they seemed to take it more phlegmatically than Westminster. "Wasn't she going anyway?" said one CEO, rather unimpressed. He followed it up by asking "does she resign today then?". In fact not.
So you could look at it like this. Someone who was going to lose their job on Friday has resigned two days early.
Or you could look at it like this. A senior member of the cabinet has resigned - a huge blow to the government, less than 24 hours before the country goes to the polls.
Obviously the second is a better story, but given what happened yesterday - another ministerial resignation is likely adding a log to a large fire - stokes it up once more, getting those red flames licking up the chimney.
Hazel has cast off from the cabinet ship, taken to a lifeboat, and left a rather dangerous emergency flare behind her, and has done it with due deliberation, knowing the impact that it would make.
Michael White rather neatly calls it a stab in the front of the prime minister. A description that definitely makes a point.
All of this makes it increasingly difficult for cabinet loyalists - Hilary Benn (bless), Harriet Harman, and Jacqui Smith (despite her departure), to pretend that a leadership challenge isn't under discussion.
You have to feel some sympathy for them, really. After all what on earth can they say?


roym said...

they could say something truthful. perhaps along the lines of
"Gordon is an autocratic little sod, who never let us have any money when he was chancellor, and is surely leading the labour party into the political wilderness for the next 20 years, so he should really do the right thing and bugger off"

Matthew Cain said...

I think Hazel Blears' resignation was a real kick in the teeth to all the party activists she claims to represent: