Here is Conor Ryan agreeing with Iain Dale in a surprisingly agreeable way.
One think that our thick Kremlinologists have managed to do over the last few years is to remove all context and meaning from the word 'sleaze' - in itself, a fairly worrying development, don't you think?
On the wider point of this (Wendy's resignation) being another straw that is close to breaking Gordon's back, a few of my Labour-supporting freinds are beginning to smell a rat about Labour's unwillingness to even defend itself at the moment.
Have Labour decided that there is nothing they can do at the moment that could make things any better for them? Because, as they may be perceived as sleazy. they are also being perceived as incompetent at the moment with about as much fairness. Neither charge seems to take account of the most important counterfactual here - what would the Tories do differently?
I remember, somewhere, Evelyn Waugh explaining being at boarding school in terms such as (paraphrasing) “..usefully putting someone through a few years of hell at a time of life when it was going to be hell anyway..”
Is it the case that any government at the moment – what with the credit crunch, the fuel prices, the general global downturn – are going to be hugely unpopular whatever they do? What if Brown was a charismatic leader, one who know how to feel the public’s pain, one who made prompt firm decisions while – at the same time – was able to involve those around him in an even handed way?
I ask this because the Tories haven’t really managed to stick much of substance on Brown. The best they seem to come up with is that he didn’t ‘put money aside for a rainy day’ – hardly a strong suit for them given the pre-1997 record?
The arguments on civil liberties are being played without much confidence or consistency, and I don’t see any substantive counter-narrative being offered to nail Labour on its undoubted weak-suit: It’s inability to run a piss-up in a brewery – it’s failure to grasp that the 20-year-old assumption that the public and private sector can’t be managed in a similar or interchangeable way. This is, after all, an idea that they chose to inherit from the Tories.
If Labour weren’t run by someone as awkward as Gordon Brown, would they be much less than 20% behind in the polls?
And, more importantly, are Labour just playing dead? Have they deliberately decided just to lie back and take it for now?
Are Labour adopting Cloughie’s rule: Soak up pressure if you know how to do it. It only takes a second to score a goal...