Thursday, September 14, 2006

Selling herself Short

Unlike a lot of comrades who were bemused over her belated resignation at the time of the Iraq invasion, I have always had a lot of time for Clare Short. When it was difficult to get any politician, particularly a Birmingham politician, to take up issues around Ireland on any other basis than 'send more troops, increase repression, etc.' Clare would bravely appear at public meetings and make the case for Irish self determination. She was roundly condemned by many as dithering over her resignation around the Iraq invasion and falsely, I think, accused of putting her career before her principles. As many regular readers will know, I am frequently sympathetic to those who stay and fight their corner rather than indulging in gesture resignations. Whereas Robin Cook achieved Sainthood in the movement, despite presiding as Shadow Foreign Secretary and later Foreign Secretary of a Government which flew daily raids over Iraq and approved sanctions which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, Clare Short was lambasted for staying on as Overseas Development Secretary because she thought, wrongly, she could have more influence than George W. Bush over our Prime Minister.

On that basis, I am sorry to hear that she will not contest the next General Election... (well done to those bloggers who broke the story before the media), and I'm even sadder to see the fact that she wants to campaign for a hung parliament. As a Birmingham MP she only has to look at the state of almost total inertia in the City since the pathetic and clueless Tory administration, propped up by Lib Dems who would sell their grannies for a foot under the Cabinet table, took control of the Council three years ago. Think again, Clare. By all means campaign for a more progressive Labour Leadership, but not for a coalition of orange book yellow Tories and Cameroon chameleons.

UPDATE: If this story is correct it would appear that Clare has chosen to commit political suicide. Her meetings with the other Birmingham Lib Dem MP, local lothario John Hemming, would be well worth the price of the entrance ticket.