Alex Massie

Honour amongst plotters

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Meanwhile, back in Blighty, former Home Secretary Charles Clarke says Gordon Brown is toast and the PM should "stand down with honour". Just what Labour needed as the conference season looms! Iain Martin's column in the Telegraph today is an entertaining survey of the current, hapless state of the Labour Party: adrift on the high seas, all faith in the skipper lost, but no idea how to organise a mutiny, let alone brave the consequences of such an insurrection:

In their plotting, the PM's internal enemies have adopted one of their target's worst traits: procrastination. If Brown declines the opportunity to resign with honour, then Clarke promises that "we" - a group presumed to include former cabinet ministers such as Alan Milburn and Stephen Byers - will take action as yet unspecified. Clarke thinks the Cabinet might do something, or not. They may not be quite ready yet. But let's see. You never know.

If this is an attempted coup, it is shaping up to be the most badly organised since Simon Mann looked at Equatorial Guinea on a map of Africa and thought: that looks worth a shot...

The rebels are trapped by indecision, just as their party is rendered inert by the terrible thought that it is probably stuffed with or without Brown. There is a reason it looks as though nobody involved knows what to do next: they don't.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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