There have been a number of occasions recently when I have heard cabinet ministers on TV and/or radio making complete idiots of themselves.
The reason seems to me largely because of Gordon Brown's incompetence or ridiculous political posturing. Here is an example:
On Radio 4's "Any Questions" this week there was a question about the Iraq Enquiry and Tessa Jowell tied herself up in knots. When questioned about why the government couldn't have taken the decision to hold it in public she insisted that it is not the place of a Minister to decide this and it must be for the inquiry head. However Jonathan Dimbleby pointed out to her that Gordon Brown had indeed decided on Monday that the inquiry had to be held in secret for "national security" reasons making a mockery of her statement that ministers cannot decide. The audience were unimpressed with jeers and even an attempt to start a slow hand clap. Jowell looked ridiculous and all because the truth is that Gordon Brown blundered by making the inquiry secret at a time when secrecy is a massively hot political topic. It should have been obvious to anyone advising Brown and Brown himself that a secret inquiry would never wash. It is political ineptitude of the highest order that this was allowed to be presented as the solution.
There are other examples too. Liam Byrne and Andy Burnham have both come across as blithering imbeciles in recent days as they have tried to argue that spending cuts are not spending cuts and refusing to answer straight questions. The reason for this is because Gordon Brown wants to be able to claim that the Tories will cut 10% whilst Labour will increase spending. The truth to anyone who spends more than 30 seconds with the figures is that Labour will have to cut heavily as well. In fact the 10% is from Labour's own figures! And yet Byrne and Burnham have been forced to go on air to argue that black is white and end up just looking silly.
And on and on it will go as Brown continues to blunder and try to map out non-existant dividing lines. Liam Byrne, Andy Burnham and many other cabinet ministers will be hoping to have long futures as politicians. But what I can see happening over the next year is what happened to almost all of John Major's cabinet. The stench of decay that pervades this administration will cling to all who are in it, especially the ones brave enough to go onto the media and argue Brown's distorted nonsense. The public will associate them too strongly with this rotten government and it will be impossible for them to dissociate themselves from it.
Brown will have no significant political future after the next election but by his actions he is now condemning the next generation of Labour politicians to many, many years in the wilderness as he taints them all with his poisonous politics.
It actually makes me wonder if James Purnell is smarter than the lot of them put together.