Watching PMQs today, you sensed that the House was girding itself to assert its authority. The tell-tale sign was the near silence from the Labour side as Gordon Brown attempted to defend the indefensible. His emphasis on how the country could not afford to allow the Gurkhas, people who had been prepared to put their lives on the line for this country, to settle here particularly grated.
One really does wonder about Brown’s political antennae that he didn’t see what an absolute PR and political disaster these mean-spirited proposals were going to be for the government. The test now is whether the Labour rebels will stand firm and vote the same way on a binding vote if the government continues to refuse to back down.
PS It says a painfully large amount about what is wrong with our culture that the first quarter of an hour of BBC News’ Five O’clock bulletin has been dominated by speculation about swine flu and not this vote.