Tears for Blears
Hazel Blears took a lot of stick from the commentariat. She was regularly patronised for her gender, height, accent, hair colour and pitch of voice. She fouled up on her house flipping, for sure. But nobody can doubt her political courage today. Her eve-of-poll resignation is perhaps the penultimate nail in Brown's coffin. One more resignation and he's dead.
But there is a deeper issue here. In her resignation statement Blears said that 'The role of a progressive Government should be to pass power to the people." This is a theme that she has consistently pursued. Her intervention in the Observer on 3 May will be remembered for her putdown of her boss - "YouTube if you want to". But the basic message was her long-standing one about the redistribution of power (a theme the Tories are, of course, now making their own). She wrote that the recession "should be the catalyst for more decentralisation of power to citizens and communities".
It is striking that it overwhelmingly non-metropolitan, working class MPs and ministers who understand the role of Labour as being about giving people power, rather than hoarding it to a paternlist, centralising state: Blears, Blunkett, Milburn, Reid, Cruddas. Labour's crisis is not just one of leadership, but of animating philosophy. Her departure is a further sign of how far Labour has drifted away from its radical, republican roots.