In the Baby P case, LibDem MP Lynne Featherstone falls into the first category whole local Labour MP David Lammy belongs in the latter. Three weeks ago I praised Lynne Featherstone for doing exactly what a constituency MP should. I wrote...
Lynne Featherstone hasn't just reacted to the current crisis. She broached Haringey Council's leader in 2006 alerting him to the problems within the Children's Services department, yet he did nothing. Featherstone hasn't sought to play politics, but she is clear where the blame lies and is demanding that those responsible are held to account for their decisions and negligence. She has shown herself to be a very adept politician on this issue and it is unbelievable that she isn't being used more widely by the LibDems. Nick Clegg seems to have punished her for running Chris Huhne's leadership campaign. If he has any sense he will give her a leading job soon. She has more talent in her little toe that certain other LibDem women have in their whole bodies.
I don't take back a word of it. Since then, you'd have thought that David Lammy might have followed his neighbour's lead. Instead, there has been a wall of virtual silence from him, apart from one or two remarks which have left him with a huge amount of egg on his face. Paul Waugh makes the point for me...
Where once he just seemed focused on attacking the Lib Dems for scurrilous slurs on his local council, he now appears to have miraculously changed his mind....
November 19, BBC Radio 4's World At One programme:
"Over the course of the weekend, 61 headteachers that have more experience than you or I, or Lynne Featherstone, have offered their reassurance that they feel Haringey has been protecting children."
December 1, BBC News 24:
"Clearly lessons have not been learned. I think it is right that there is new leadership in Haringey. This is a very dark and sad day for the people of Haringey. In relation to young, vulnerable children who need protection, there have been deep failures. The report was littered with the words, 'inadequate', 'poor', 'management failures'. Against that backdrop, we need change. Change that must now come as a result of this inquiry."
It couldn't possibly be the case that Mr Lammy is shifting with the wind blown by a Very Important Cabinet Minister. Could it?
Five years ago I tipped Lammy to be Britain's first black Prime Minister. Just goes to show. Never trust my tips! He has been a lamentable Minister. Labour MPs despair at his embarrassing performances in the Commons where he continues to make a complete arse of himself. I saw an interview he did on Sky the other day about his "best friend" Barack Obama and he spoke so slowly I wondered if I was watching him on 33 and a third rather than 45rpm (that dates me, doesn't it). Lammy's performance as a constituency MP has been terrible, and most of his party know it. He does not deserve to be a minister.
I don't know what Nick Clegg's previous view of Lynne Featherstone was. But he must be impressed by the way she has conducted herself over the Baby P case. If there is any justice in this world there will be great things ahead for Miss F.
I apologise to Hornsey & Wood Green Conservatives for praising the woman who they are no doubt trying to oust at the next election, but there are sometimes in politics when you should recognise - and say openly - that an opponent has done well and risen to the occasion. This is one of those occasions.