Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Falling Apart at the Seams

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Falling Apart at the Seams

Article excerpt

Perhaps worse, his resignation suggests a disillusionment at the highest level with the present toxic environment. This week's resignations are not over any point of principle: they are about the prospect of powerlessness and defeat. Figures such as Purnell will hope to strengthen their position for the leadership battle, whenever it comes; Labour politicians of his generation are still young enough to ride out a period in opposition.

Others, including Defence Secretary John Hutton, who resigned today, want to get out of politics altogether: his generation know that they are unlikely to be in power again after a general election defeat, especially a big one. The fact that Mr Hutton put his career first on a day when dead British soldiers arrive home from Afghanistan underlines the selfishness of such calculations.

Just how big that defeat could be will become clearer after today's local election results and Sunday's European ones. Local results so far are bad for Labour, while the European elections could realistically see them pushed into fourth place behind the rabble of Ukip. …

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