Friday, October 20, 2006

Bad Timing

I like Clare Short. Her timing, though, is dreadful. She didn't resign from the front bench before the Iraq war, along with Robin Cook, when she could have. I'm not so sure of this myself, but it's often commented that her resignation could have prevented the war. Perhaps. She managed to delay her resignation, however, until it would have minimal political impact.

It appears that, today, Short has resigned the Labour whip. The Guardian reports:

In a letter to the party's chief whip obtained by Guardian Unlimited, the outspoken ex-cabinet minister said that she wished to become an "independent Labour MP" and remained "a convinced social democrat".

Why now? Why not join the McDonnell campaign for goodness sake? McDonnell needs all the Labour socialists and social democrats - a radical thing to be in the Labour PLP these days - he can get. He's not going to win - we all know that, but he can push the case for social democracy/socialism - make it just visible again on the mainstream political agenda. Imagine the boost McDonnell would have got amongst the LP membership from a Short endorsement. She would have made much more of a political splash this way than by wandering off to become an independent. If and when the McDonnell campaign is defeated - that would be the time to go. The timing is all wrong. She just can't seem to do anything right.

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