Was it Â£200,000 well spent Peter?
For me Labour-leaning blogger, Paul Linford, sums up Peter Hain’s predicament best – “…the real reason he’s finished is because he spent 200 grand coming fifth behind Harriet Harman in the deputy leadership contest. However things pan out with the donations story, Hain has been living on borrowed political time ever since that dismal result and the only way is down from now on.”
To be be prepared to spend that sort of money on a campaign for one of the biggest non-jobs in UK politics seems absolutely crazy irrespective of where the funds came from. Quite what was he thinking about?
My sense is that the reason he failed to oversee the tidying up of his campaign properly was because the result was so painful for him. The former Young Liberal leader who defected to Labour to advance his career simply did not want to do anything that would remind him of the humiliation.
Now he looks doomed – the only real question being when. If you want to bet on these things William Hill have sent me an email to say that they are offering odds of 7/1 that he’ll be out by the end of January. That price looks quite tempting even though I think he’ll survive beyond that but not for much longer.
Meanwhile the Guardian takes Gordon to task in its main leader for not making the decision on Hain’s future himself.
“Gordon Brown is not the first politician to outsource moral judgement to an independent agency. But by leaving the Electoral Commission and the parliamentary commissioner for standards to decide whether Peter Hain should stay in office after what appears to be a sustained breach of electoral law the prime minister has taken the practice to a new level..He told yesterday’s Sun that “it would be a great loss if [Mr Hain] had to leave the government” but that “the matter must rest with the authorities”. This is a strange comment. In this matter Mr Brown is the final authority, a man whose claim to office rests on his good judgement and ability to take decisions rapidly.”
Specialist cycling safety note: If you are riding a mountain bike off road you should wear proper gear and certainly have bike clips on so your trousers don’t get entangled in the chain. At least he could have tucked them in his socks! Also using a mobile phone while cycling is not recommended.