Thursday, December 16, 2004


In the end it came as a surprise. I had spent the day telling myself that David Blunkett would survive; that despite controversy that had engulfed him for weeks, my local MP would be like his greatest ally, Tony Blair, to be made of Teflon.

But in the end, it was dignified. David Blunkett went when he knew he was beaten. And he was right to go.

I completely agree that an MPs personal life should not be the focus of debate in the press or parliament, but when the line between personal and public life is crossed there can be no second chances. Blunkett was in the 3rd highest office in the land.

Those who know me are well aware that I have wanted nothing more than to see Blunkett out of office, yet I still find the entire situation mixed with sadness. Unlike those delusional Blairites who sincerely believe he has left office with his integrity intact and expressed anger at his hounding in the press, I feel no such thing.

My sadness comes from being unable to fathom how a decent, left-wing, plain-speaking Labour councillor could have become one of the most authoritarian Home Secretaries of modern times. I know what I sound like... a soft liberal... a pacifist who would have let Hitler 'get away with it'...

That's not the case.

I'm not soft. I believe in justice, and in tough punishment for repeat offenders, and in not bowing to tyrants. But to support a man who believes in abolishing jury trials, or preventing your political opponents from gathering to protest, is to lose sight of democracy and justice itself. David Blunkett fully accepted the false ideology of Tony Blair, that a climate of fear was a good thing to keep the people safe.

That we now live in a country were people are more afraid of terrorists than ten years ago when bombs were going off in Manchester, Warrington and London is the true legacy of Blunkett. That we now live in a country were people have less of a right to protest than the people of the Ukraine is the true legacy of Blunkett.

David Blunkett sold his very ideals for the price of being a key ally of Tony Blair. That he was brought down by his personal life is a sad tale, but I for one will not shed a tear for a man who so easily shed his constituents when they became unimportant.

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