Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gone At Last

All the normal news outlets can be used to pick up news of Peter Hain's resignation because police are now investigating him. He certainly has more support in resignation from Labour colleagues than he had in hanging on to office.
One of the perennial political questions is 'when should ministers resign?'. The honest answer is probably along the lines of 'when the heat becomes too much', although purists might prefer it if the old principle of ministers going either because their department made unacceptable mistakes, or because they themselves had been guilty of wrongdoing, still held good. Peter Hain left because the scandal became too great. He hasn't left because he admits any wrongdoing. He isn't the first self-justifying minister to be hauled out of office, and he certainly won't be the last, but we probably wait in vain for any repetition of a Lord Carrington-style resignation, back in 1981. Carrington, Foreign Secretary at the time, resigned because he accepted responsibility for the Argentinian invasion of the Falklands, which was a clear foreign policy failure. He was right to resign, and honourable for doing so. Perhaps we need more hereditary peers in government to bring a sense of honour back!

One footnote to the affair is the glee of the political bloggers - leading UK blogger Guido Fawkes is busy claiming credit for the Hain scalp, and is being lauded across the right-wing blogosphere. He's on Newsnight tonight, and it will be interesting to see if mainstream media agrees with his self-assesment!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hain was certainly right to go, but why is it not honourable? Surely it is, considering he has giving up everything to protect the interests of his party? The scandal has become too bad and was putting pressure on Brown so Hain in a sense has done the honourable thing for the Labour Party.

GM said...

Honourable actions require them to at least be taken on the grounds of personal integrity and decision-making. Hain held on for as long as he could, way after his misdemeanours - deliberate or not - were clear! Thus, it was not an honourable exit!