In defence of Hazel Blears

Odd timing, you might think. Blears herself has noted that this is the lowest point of her political career, and there is good reason for this. But, the campaign against her is indicative of the rot at Westminster – the tribal political urges that only ever lead politics into the mire.

Blears flipped her home three times. For a while she wondered what it’d be like to live in a boutique hotel in Clerkenwell. At £211 a night, presumably it was pretty good. There’s no denying that she stretched her expense allowances.

The 17% who voted for the BNP in a recent by-election in her constituency no doubt agree. The polling figures look even worse when you contrast 606 Labour votes for 276 to the BNP. There was only a 17.5% turnout so we can assume many felt the same as is being said up and down the country – that there’s no-one to vote for and major parties can’t be trusted. Listen to John Pienaar’s podcast this week as an indicator of public opinion: pavement political reporting at its best.

Yet public opinion is, as usual, being manipulated – both by the press and those they require connections with. ‘Smeargate’ – the Damien McBride emails – exposed the government’s way of dealing with the press. It did not cure it. Despite both Geoff Hoon and James Purnell avoiding capital gains tax on the sale of their homes – furnished at taxpayer’s expense – they have had an easy time of late. So too has Alastair Darling, who flipped his second home but lived in a grace-and-favour pad. Why the focus on Blears?

Blair'z Babe Blearz

Blair'z Babe Blearz

Because Blears brought it upon herself. She dared to criticise Gordon Brown in the Observer and knew the consequences of this. First, she damaged Gordon Brown’s credibility. After all, the phrase ‘YouTube if you want to’ was very witty and bound to stick, although if anyone thinks Brown’s disastrously comic video was anything other than an absolute failure, they mustn’t have seen it. Do please see below.

Second, she angered the Brownite cabal which was never enamoured with Blears the Blairite. The group of advisors surrounding Brown have always been effective at dispatching political enemies and excel at party infighting. Read the rest of this entry »