BBC BLOGS - Blether with Brian
« Previous | Main | Next »

Cassius strikes

Brian Taylor | 15:00 UK time, Tuesday, 16 September 2008

And so, virtually by the time I posted the previous blog, he'd quit.

David Cairns that is. (Apologies, incidentally, for being so dilatory earlier: I was otherwise engaged.)

In normal circumstances, the resignation of a junior minister (of two) from a sub-department of state whose reason for existence is frequently questioned would not cause much of a stir.

These are not normal circumstances. The prime minister is in deep trouble. Who now remembers the sundry parliamentary aides whose resignation forced Tony Blair to name a date for his own departure from office?

It is possible that, similarly, there will now be serial resignations in the run-up to the party conference. Gordon Brown may now find used against him the very tactic he deployed - or witnessed being deployed on his behalf.

Against all this, Team Brown has key arguments. Who would be better? Who would be better, particularly at a time of international financial crisis?

Most directly, they may point out that a second new leader within a single parliament would surely demand a General Election? Is Labour ready for that?

Not, I grant you, the cream of intellectual persuasion. But Mr Brown no longer has time for such luxuries.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

David Cairns, the Scotland Office minister, we are familiar with. David Cairns, the sometime combatant with SNP Ministers? David Cairns, the former priest?

This much we know, this much we understand.

But David Cairns as Cassius? OK, maybe not, no lean and hungry look. Brutus, then?

A co-conspirator against the dark, brooding Caesar who resides at Downing Street, 10.

It is said that a minister has been speaking, privately so far, of his disquiet with the Prime Minister and of his reluctance to serve further. It is said that Minister is David Cairns. Mr Cairns has said nothing. As yet.

Mr Cairns is a buddy of Siobhain McDonagh, the (now ex) whip who started the current round of speculation about the prime minister's prospects. He worked as her research assistant.

Further, Mr Cairns experienced the pain of the voters directly when he led the Labour campaign in the Glasgow East by-election.

Financial dissaray

He now has three options. He can declare undying loyalty to the PM. He can wield the knife by resigning from the Government.

Or he can attempt to dismiss speculation as unwarranted froth when global financial markets are in disarray.

Either way, don't think he'll be in charge of the Labour campaign in Glenrothes. Remember Philippi. And where's Mark Anthony when you need him?


or register to comment.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.