Peter Hoskin

Maybe Hain’s the lucky one

Maybe Hain's the lucky one
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Matthew Parris' lucid article in the Times fuels my suspicion that Gordon Brown will come out of the past week in worse shape than Peter Hain.  Media outlets may have given Hain a kicking, but they've delivered an unprecedented broadside into the hull of Battleship Brown.  Parris outlines the main source of ire - Brown's indecision - nicely:

"Come on, Gordon, admit the truth: you did not have complete confidence in Mr Hain, you never cared for him much anyway, you hated all that “donor-gate” stuff, but when it came to giving this minister the chop you funked it, hoping events might fashion a peg on which to hang his removal: a peg other than your own decision. In particular you didn't want to appear as having yielded to external pressure.

This combination of stubbornness and vacillation is getting to look really creepy. Here is a chicken that flaps into the middle of the road, half thinks better of it, then, paralysed by a kind of furious vexation, stands his ground in the face of the oncoming truck. Winston Churchill once described Stanley Baldwin's Cabinet as “resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity and all powerful for impotence”. Speaking at the Mansion House in 2004, Mr Brown, then Chancellor, quoted the remark. Interesting that it had impressed itself on his mind. I remember thinking at the time that this insight went a mite close to home."

It's strange that we might consider Hain - a man who's lost his job under the threat of a police investigation - in some way fortunate.  Fortunate, that is, to have jumped ship when he did.