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Friday, September 15, 2006

Who will rid Tony of this turbulent ex-Minister?

Labour's Chief Whip, Jacqui Smith, seems to have drawn the short straw in finally putting an end to the mutually-endured misery of Clare Short's membership of the Labour Party.

According to The Guardian she has referred Ms. Short's conduct to the Labour Party Chair. The complaint will then probably be referred to the party's national executive committee, with the suggestion that Ms. Short should be expelled if she does not withdraw or "illuminate" her remarks.

It is tempting to accuse Labour of once more seeking to suppress free speech and dissent within their ranks but frankly I cannot muster the indignation and the energy. Clare Short has a history of clinging onto lost causes longer than her principles should have allowed. Firstly, she failed to join Robin Cook in resigning from the Cabinet over the Iraq war, enabling the Prime Minister the political breathing space he needed to commit our armed forces to this illegal conflict. Now she is holding onto her membership of the Labour Party, despite the fact that she long ago became disenchanted with it, its leadership and its direction.

I fully understand why a longstanding MP might want to cling to the party in which she has been immersed for all her adult life, but for once Clare Short needs to make a decision. She is either with them or she is against them. She cannot have it both ways again!
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