Quote of the day - time for the men in white coats
Comment by a Labour backbench MP on the Prime Minister's speech on Friday, quoted in today's Sunday Times.
"The man has lost it. If he genuinely believes that this is not doing serious and lasting damage, we don't need the 'men in grey suits' to tell him to quit - we need the men in white coats."
There have been a lot of comments and speculation on one side about how much information the police have unearthed in the "Loans for Honours" inquiry. One group of journalists and politicians are speculating and spinning about whether any close colleagues of the Prime Minister are likely to be charged, while the few remaining friends of Tony Blair are engaged in attacking the police, suggesting the whole thing is a storm in a teacup, etc, etc.
There are two things about which we can be absolutely certain - the first is that the interview by the police of a serving Prime Minister and the arrest of some of his close colleagues is almost unprecedented in British politics and looks terrible. The second is that either the people making the wilder speculations about what might happen, or the people who are openly criticising the police and suggesting that this is all smoke without fire, are going to look very silly.
If I was assessing matters purely as a Conservative, I now think that the longer Blair hangs on the more damage he does to his party, and the greater the party advantage for us. But I am also concerned as a British citizen that while Blair stays in office we have a paralysed government and he is discrediting not just the Labour party but the whole political system.
Another quote for today comes from Cromwell.
"You have sat here too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, Go!"