Monday, April 16, 2007

For Whom The Bell Tolls

It's been a busy weekend (one party, a visit to Stirling and a Scots Independent article which needed written in a hurry). However, in the meantime, here's an interesting article written by broadcaster Alex Bell for, on the curious approach of the Scottish press to the current election campaign.

This afternoon, though, the bell tolling may be for Defence Secretary Des Browne, who has the unenviable task of explaining to the Commons why he allowed the 15 captured Royal Navy personnel to sell their stories to the press. The decision was wrong on so many levels it's difficult to know where to begin. However, it's hardly the worst strategic choice ever made by this government, so it's hard to fathom why Tony Blair has allowed the pressure to build up on him in this way.

Maybe to shaft one of the Chancellor's allies before he departs this political life? Who knows, but it seems unlikely. Browne is a fairly dull and dilligent politician about whom it is difficult to have any strong feelings. However, even less fathomable is the behaviour of Gordon Brown, who has refused conspicuously to stand up for his ally.

Is he now so terrified of alienating anyone on his way to Number 10 that he can't even muster up some basic loyalty for a friend in need? We all know that Brown has made a lot of enemies on his way to the top. But if he won't even ride to the rescue of Browne, just what sort of slippery, gutless, spineless creature are a small cabal of Labour MPs set to inflict on us as Prime Minister once Blair rides off into the sunset?

As Jeremy Thorpe once remarked, 'Greater love hath no man, than that he lay down his friends for his life'.

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