Fraser Nelson

Blears weighs in

Blears weighs in
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Enter the iron chipmunk. Hazel Blears has given it straight to Gordon Brown in the Observer, including the immortal line "YouTube if you want to" - this lady is not for tubing. She's for campaigning, operating on a wavelength broadly approaching that of the British public. This shook up No10 which forced her to put out words of loyalty which (bless her) had all the sincerity of a hostage statement. "I want to make it clear that the Prime Minister has my 100 percent support," etc.

So, what's cooking? With Charles Clarke sending a coded message that Ed Balls should quit, and Kate Hooey sounding off, all this can be mistaken for a coordinated attack. But if it were, Hazel would wait until after the June elections and do in in tandem with other higher-ranking rebels. The force of a rebellion lies in its co-ordination. Brown survived last year by flushing rebels out one by one, denying them the chance to quit together.

I suspect the purpose of this is more to say to Labour activists: "if you're dismayed by this idiot and his would-be Mafioso thuggery, you're not alone. But Labour is bigger than Brown, and we have an election next month. I share your concerns, but we have a wider cause to fight for. So don't let Brown keep you away from the stump".

I rate Blears highly, especially the way she dealt with the so-called Muslim Council of Britain. Brown specialises in cutting down Labour talent, so it will be interesting to see how he responds in the June reshuffle. And Jack Straw is on Boulton later on, and I suspect he agrees 100 percent with Blears. So let's see how he plays it.

UPDATE: Margaret Beckett has just been on BBC One's Politics Show to say "What Hazel basically said in that article is something that she's said repeatedly at Cabinet". So ten marks to Blears. Anyone who hasn't read Matthew Parris's column yesterday should see this is the point he makes: why does no one tell Brown what's going wrong? Well, Blears does. Time for Iain Dale to get his "Nuts about Hazel" campaign going again.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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