Norwich North may well be the end of Newlabour as we know it.
Dozens of Labour MP's are tainted with the expenses scandal.Some very senior members,like Geoff Hoon,hazel Blears and Jacqui Smith are all deeply involved.
Brown promises to clean up, and the NEC create a 'star chamber' to root out the bad'uns.
Astonishingly only three NEC members make up the quasi judicial panel and the names of the accused are put forward by Nick Brown the Choef Whip and Ray Collins,the Party's General Secretary.
Si far a magnificent 5 members have appeared before the 'star chamber' and all have been instructed to stand down at the next election.
One of them Dr Ian Gibson, a well liked an competent local MP appeared before only 2 members according to press reports.
His offence was frankly on the lighter end of the scandal, but he was chopped, and as a decent 'sort of guy' resigned his seat.
Nothing has been said about serial house flippers such as Hoon and Blears, and I suspect most people were outraged when the grinning muppet flashed a huge cheque when she went to pay back! Contrition, embarassment,humility-Naw! Just her trademark inane grin!
So Gibson was sacrificed and the labour Party lost a good if somewhat radical member, and they then lost the by election in humiliating style.
A great deal of humbug has dominated the airwaves since last Thursday but there were two significant factors:
1.Traditional Labour voters didn't troll out and vote for alternatives,70% of former Labour supporters stayed at home.
2.The party had troble getting enough enthusiastic volunteers to leaflet the whole constituency.
Wonder where that vast cohort of MP's were during the election campaign?
Charles ClarkeMp for Norwich South described the defenestration of Ian Gibson as "arbitary,unfair,incompetent and unjust".
Absolutely right-but why didn't Clarke speak up ages ago and challenge the careerists who now run the Party/
If he had made his views known, and threatened to resign with Gibson in an act of solidarity-then things might well have been very different.
Trouble is most MP's would rather moan about Big Gordon than realise that the problem is not just a poor leadership.It is a problem of a party that he longer has a political vision and a party that has lost,one way or another,most of its active footsoldiers.
The ieony of Norwich North is that the Tory winner,Chloe Smith,looks and sounds like your average Blair Babe circa.1997.
In the papers today there are hints that other Labour MP's might quit to force other by elections,their purpose is to force Brown out.
A forlorn hope-they had their chance to show solidarity with Ian Gibson months ago, but they fancy hanging on to their parliamentary salaries for a few more months.
NewLabour has done more that simply weakened the ideological base of a once genuinely radical party,it has destroyed the real enthusiasm for socialist ideas and filled its upper echlons with a bunch of careerist numpties.
Truth to tell the next very small PLP will resemble a few dozen Chloe Smith's and not much else!