The chickens are coming home to roost, to employ a well-worn phrase, for Blair's New Labour. Until now it has been premature in the extreme to pen this creature's obituary. An electoral machine made up of contradictory, disparate forces, it has surprised even its own acolytes by lasting this long. As I write, the polls have closed in the local elections. For Tony Blair 1997 must seem like decades ago.
A bizarre, yet toxic trinity of Clarke, Hewitt & Prescott has reduced Blair's government to a laughing stock. OK, so Clarke's incompetence at the Home Office over foreign offenders (what a boon to the BNP in the local election campaign, expect them to make gains tonight) is not to be treated with levity. It does, however, remind me of a bumbling, overwhelmed middle manager, woefully out of his depth, yet dementedly babbling to his boss, & anyone else within earshot, that all is well, apart from one or two "operational difficulties".
Time was when local election night would have seen me calling on confirmed Labour voters to ask if they had voted, or if they needed a lift to the polling station. How times change.
STOP PRESS: A blog written by the political editor of the New Statesman, Martin Bright, tonight contained new revelations about one particular released prisoner which will probably drive the final nail into Clarke's coffin.