Friday, October 20, 2006

Short Fuses

I'm not sure what to make of Clare Short's decision to resign the Labour whip today and continue as an independent MP. If I were a Labour supporter I would be furious at the kick in the teeth she has administered to the Party which made her. And she does it at the very time that Tony Blair is on his way out. I would have more respect for her if she had done it much earlier, but she was of course very happy to earn her Cabinet Minister's salary for six years and keep Blair's patronage.

I expect she will now be omnipresent on our TV screens as she seeks to carve out a post parliamentary media career a la Michael Portillo. What I look forward to now are the anonymous Labour briefings which will now be given by the "People who live in the dark". She will be traduced from all sides and be treated like a French Nazi collaborator. Expect some fireworks.

38 comments:

I give ID all his best ideas said...

The obvious thing to do then is get her at number 18

Odessa Calling said...

I thought she had already resigned the Labour Whip.

AnyonebutBlair said...

Ah yes, but she was in the fateful cabinet meetings. I know Blair treated the cabinet with utter contempt and told far more to Murdoch and to Trev Kavanagh, but she might have some interesting snippets. She clearly thinks the official secrets act a joke given she spilled that GCHQ & the NSA were bugging Kofi Annan. So will she spill the beans, or save it for the next installment of her memoirs that she has to rush out while Blair is still there? Still think she should have quit with Cookie to rescue some of her integrity of which there is little left

Mark WIlliams said...

MPs who resign from a party should be forced to repay their share of the election expenses of the party that worked to get them elected, or stand down from the seat. Ms Short will spend the rest of this parliament on a fat parliamentary salary plus perks, due in part to donations made by Labour supporters. If she wants to sit as an Independent she should resign and stand again as an Independent.

Praguetory said...

There is nothing surprising in what she has done today. Her recent critiques of Labour have been powerful. Of course she wanted to get kicked out (as that would have caused NuLab the maximum damage) and when this didn't happen (a few days ago) this is the next best option for her. You couldn't really expect her to continue to represent Labour, could you?

Colin said...

It would have been much more honest of her to have resigned her seat and stood as an Independent so that her constituents could have a choice of voting for her or for a Labour candidate. This way, barely 18 months into this Parliament, they are lumbered with an MP who has changed her avowed political spots. Not much of an advertisement for the species.
And did the volcano-devastated islanders of Montserrat ever get their golden elephants, i wonder?

cynic said...

I'm looking forward to "the Rejects", a roving band of political failures seeking media employment. Founding members, Portillo, Widdicombe, Short, and of course Charlie Kennedy.

machiavelli said...

"She will be traduced from all sides and be treated like a French Nazi collaborator"
What, elected President a la Mitterand...?

newmania said...

The arrangement whereby politicians prepare for their media earnings whilst still, supposedly politically active is most odd. Is a bit like Frank Bruno doing pantomime before he has left the ring.
Politicians attempting to appear normal humorous and rounded is always doomed to failure. They aren’t. They are obsessive goody goodies who have not expressed their true opinions for so many years they do not remember what they were.
There is one shining example, one beacon of sanity, one messiah for human beings everywhere. His name is Boris Johnson and we must crown him Deputy Prime minister at the first opportunity. Coincidentally he wrote a very flattering dedication to me in his book and his gorgeous PA looked after me for a couple of hours the other night. Nonetheless heed my words our public life will be empty until Zadok the Priest and quite possibly Nathan the prophet anoint Boris , King . Or “appoint” him in this context

On the box is Michael Portillo is either 8 or 9 times as impressive as Dianne Abbot. I can’t decide ?

Anonymous said...

I can't stand the woman. As you say, she turned on the party that made her what she once was. I can't stand her hypocrisy either. She spent the Tuesday of the Labour party conference spouting off to Andrew Neill about Brown and Blair's 'self indulgence'.

What about your self indulgence back in 2003 Clare? What about that? I still believe Blair could have been hit very hard if Short had stood by what she said she believed in and went at the same time as Cook.

But no, she decided to continue to let the ministerial money roll in instead of standing by her supposed convictions.

Guhh.. Horrible person.

jimthechimp said...

Clare Short says she's thoroughly ashamed of this Goverment but I think really she's ashamed of herself. But for her support of going into Iraq, Robin Cook would not have been the only dissenting minister and it could, just could, have transpired that Blair didnt get a majority of Labour MPs on his side jeopardising not only the policy of going into Iraq but also his permiership.
BUt she didnt. She voted with the PM becuase he played to her massive vanity and promised her a part in the "clean up." What a self deluded egotist she was - like the Americans or Iraqi's cared.

Clare Short thinks she's being a thorn in his side. Her problem hwoever is that she was Blair's play thing whom he brilliantly used and discarded. She was out foxed by a political wizard; only her vanity stopped her from seeing the elephant trap he was escourting her into.

History, if it remembers her at all, will say her contribution to politics was to help save Blair on his dodgiest of dodgy policies: the fk up in Iraq.

Clare Short doesn't matter at all; we just dont care what happens to her. That is her tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Could not your comments Ian be construed as being from someone worried about an obvious competitor in the "Let's have some vacuous comments from someone we might not have heard much about' slots on political TV." slots?

Anonymous said...

Abbott 'n' Portillo

Short'n'Dale

No contest really?

tom_r said...

Strikes me as yet another example of someone who dared to speak their mind in the Labour Party and ends up being pushed out - Clare Short, Mo Mowlam, Robin Cook etc.

I'm not saying they were the best politicians but they should be able to speak their mind without risking their jobs and careers. I hope Cameron doesn't rule his cabinet like that because he won't win any fans.

Noel Slevin said...

She's a traitor to the Labour Party - they'll not miss her at all. In fact, man Labour MP's will be glad she's gone.

Helen said...

Lucky Labour Party. Any chance of her resigning from all our lives?

Anonymous said...

I had the dubious honour of bumping into her at Victoria underground station a few months ago.

She said she was pleased to be recognised by a member of the public.(I didn't declare my candidature from last year).

Perhaps our assignation may have triggered off some thought processes, or I suppose she feels she's been "outmediaed" by another Birmingham MP.

Of course, if she had any integrity,she would take the Chiltern Hundreds and force a by-election.

(Silly me,one can't mention integrity and politicians in the same breath)

Shotgun said...

I've got no love or respect for Claire Short and see her as just the flip side of New Labour...however Iain, you are wrong, very wrong, to castigate her for a simple reason: late or not...on principle SHE HAS RESIGNED, and it is really just as simple as that.

She need not have, having decided not to stand again; she need not have said anything and still had a relatively successful prospective carreer in the media, but she did.

Her respect has risen in my estimation, from a very low point...but risen nonetheless.

Shotgun said...

Who are these mongs who say Short should resign her seat and stand as an independent?

Should Labour resign as the Government and hold an election because there is going to be a new PM? Should Labour hold an election because they had manifesto commitments for the last election, and then did the opposite?

Grow up children...Claire Short was elected, not the Labour party.

When and if we ever have PR, God forbid, then we vote for the party and that party is given seats to fill from their own lists, anyone resigning the whip should stand again, but with our current system she is right to stay.

Charlotte Corday said...

Why has nobody mentioned Hilary Armstrong's inept performance on "Question Time"? Is this because it is now the norm for government members to appear a laughing stock in front of an audience?

RobtE said...

Shotgun:

I'm not a mong but I nonetheless think she must resign and force a bye-election. What sort of liberal democracy allows a representative to be elected under one party's manifesto and then allows that representative to disavow that manifesto, change his/her political spots and continue to represent the people who elected him/her? It is dishonest, to say the very least.

Lynda said...

The thought of having that ghastly woman on the television even more fills me with dread !

Prodicus said...

Mark Williams:

Your mistake is looking for integrity here. Crossing the floor or resigning a whip is cheap, for one who expects no preferment. Independent thinking and real integrity went out when party machines took total control which was when electors stopped electing individuals and started voting for rosettes (so I agree that resigners should repay their expenses).

Remedy: prevent politics being a whole, well-paid career. Make MP a part time job only (smaller government - a LOT smaller... make the fewest possible laws), pay MPs a pittance and make them take all first real jobs as well. Full-time posts for the Cabinet only. Restore the principle of 'the people in office'. This would make parties real parties while relieving them of some of their distorting power and returning it to the people who elect MPs. Oh - and sack all the 'special advisers'.

The Laughing Cavalier said...

One is reminded of the remark "When Clare short wrestles with her conscience she usually wins"

Anonymous said...

I think that Claire Short has articulated the disquiet in her letter of resignation that a lot of people interested in Politics feel about the current system of loyalty to the party above that of the country and national interest. I was grateful for the member of the public who stepped in to 'save' Hilary Armstrong on question time when trying to defend the indefensible over Blair/Dannatt.

Vienna Woods said...

'Shotgun' you are absolutely correct in your observations. I too dislike Claire Short, mainly related to her past public performances, but I respect her decision to resign, rather than her to continue staring as a new-labour clone.

What do you do when your party changes out of all recognition from the party you originally joined. The New-Labour crowd are nothing more than a bunch of hijackers, without the courage to form a party of their own.

Trevor Ivory said...

Rats and sinking ships spring to mind....

Tom Paine said...

"The party that made her". Give us a break, Iain. Did the Conservative Party make you? What an insult to those who brought you up, your friends, your family, your teachers, those who gave you employment, those who worked with you, etc., etc.

A Party should be no more than a club for political purposes. It has no heart, soul or personality. It is a tool - and a dangerous one; more a gun than a plough.

We are a Parliamentary democracy and MP's are elected by their constituents. They should represent their constituents - all of them. Clare Short is doing that this week, just as she was doing it last week - badly for the most part, but honestly and to the best of her limited abilities.

The Parties are far too powerful in Britain, subverting our democracy and alternately forcing or corrupting our MP's into voting for things they - and their constituents - don't believe in. It is a gang system that threatens democracy itself.

Clare Short is no better, or worse, inside the Labour Party or out. The Labour Party is worse with her out, because it is one more step to "democratic centralism" - i.e. think what the Leader tells you to think.

Imagine what a huge relief it would be for HIlary Armstrong, floundering pathetically as she was on Question Time this week, to recover the capacity to align speech with thought, poor thing.

Anonymous said...

They way Government Ministers are now treated on question time reminds me of the dying days of John Majors Government...

Anoneumouse said...

Its called conviction politics Iain. We vote for MP's to represent our views, not to blindly follow the Party Line.


"The notion that the House of Commons is made up of 650 MPs who individually reach carefully considered opinions and who act as a brake on the Executive is so far from the truth as to be ludicrous. The Whips are in absolute command. The Executive is in total control. What the government says goes."

Dr. David (now Lord) Owen MP. Mail on Sunday 3/6/90

Anonymous said...

An absolute disgrace. Check out her 2005 election leaflet here. I would be outraged if I had voted for her at the last election.

john bull said...

Bang! Bang!

What's that noise?

The final nails being hammered into the coffin of this Labour so-called "government".

Or David Cameron boxing up his belongings for his impending move to Downing Street.

Today is a good day, my friends. Nine years of pain coming to an end.

Anonymous said...

Guthrum, Hilary Armstrong is unsavable, being a member of the Blairite 'Undead'.

Blair failed to sack her as chief whip for failing to get the one vote in which would have made the difference - the vote of Anthony Lynton Blair!

Kris Brown said...

I don't agree with alot of what Clare Short has recently done but I have provided a different viewpoint on my blog:

www.cllrkrisbrown.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Giscard D'Estaing _was_ a French Nazi collaborator (he denounced people to the Vichy regime and ran errands for Petain) and he was placed in charge of composing a new constitution for Europe! Truth can be stranger than fiction.

Short is just another self-serving monkey; I think Iain had it right when he suggests this is all prep to enter the Portillo/Abbott circuit.

Shotgun said...

RobtE said...

Shotgun:

I'm not a mong but I nonetheless think she must resign and force a bye-election. What sort of liberal democracy allows a representative to be elected under one party's manifesto and then allows that representative to disavow that manifesto, change his/her political spots and continue to represent the people who elected him/her? It is dishonest, to say the very least.


If the Labour party doesn't stick to its manifesto commitments, as it did not on a raft of issues, why should Claire Short resign her seat as an MP when she did? What you are suggesting is that the manifesto is everything and the actual representative is nothing.

The people vote for a person not specifically a party, which is why we have names on a ballot, and locally an MP may campaign on many different local issues not covered in a national manifesto...and that is what gets them elected.

How many MP's agree with Bliar and the manifesto completely? How many voters agree and support a party based on their manifesto, and their manifesto alone?

Cliare Short should stay until such as she wants to go because she was elected.

Shotgun said...

Remedy: prevent politics being a whole, well-paid career. Make MP a part time job only (smaller government - a LOT smaller... make the fewest possible laws), pay MPs a pittance and make them take all first real jobs as well. Full-time posts for the Cabinet only. Restore the principle of 'the people in office'. This would make parties real parties while relieving them of some of their distorting power and returning it to the people who elect MPs. Oh - and sack all the 'special advisers'.

Like the way the House of Lords worked, and worked well, for centuries.

Quite soon the special advisors are going to be the only ones supporting this incompetent and sleazy, corrupt Government. Their own MP's are resigning the whip and their membership has fallen to all time lows.

In any other sphere the Labour Party would take a pistol and quietly blow its brains out...but that implies a certain amount of honourable intention.

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Iain said
"I expect she will now be omnipresent on our TV screens"
- I rather suspect that Radio 4's Today Programe won't give her the microphone anything like as much as Hezza was given it 10 years ago.
Such "Party split" stories just don't fit the broadcast media's political book when it damages the left not the right.