Hutton’s resignation reflects Labour’s despair
The John Hutton resignation is not a naked political attack, like James Purnell’s. But it is symptomatic of something even more serious than Labour’s divisions – Labour’s despair.
John Hutton doesn’t rate Gordon Brown that highly – his private comments on Mr Brown are legendary and profane. But he can’t quite see the point of joining James Purnell’s uprising.
He is going because he thinks the game is up for Labour. He might as well try his luck in the outside job market before a rush of other ex-Labour ministers try to do the same.
That same despair – a feeling that Labour’s difficulties can’t be turned round – seems to inform the backbenchers’ mood too.
The plotters are not where they would like to be on numbers in large part because Labour MPs aren’t sure anyone can lead them out of their difficulties.
Alan Johnson has not been a Heseltine figure painting a picture of a bright alternative future under his leadership. People have been left to dream that up for themselves, and the dream’s not really fired them up.
They’re not sure anything can really turn things round and they dread the early election which they think a change at No.10 would make unavoidable.
In a mood of despair many MPs will simply think of how a May election gives them a few more months’ employment than a September one.