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Crunch days for Brown

Don't say that Tony Blair didn't warn us. Gordon Brown was never cut out to be Prime Minister and anyone with an ounce of sense could have spotted the warning signs years ago.

Now, even those people who don't have an ounce of sense realise that the game is up. Our Prime Minister is on his way out. The only question is whether his demise will be long and agonising - mirroring the death-throes of that terrible Tory non-entity, John Major - or whether it will ultimately be quick and brutal a la Margaret Thatcher.

Many commentators have been quick to point out that the Labour Party simply doesn't get rid of its leaders. Fair comment. But it's not through lack of trying. There were campaigns to oust Wilson, Callaghan and - perhaps most notoriously - Tony Blair. In the latter case, the plotters weren't nearly as capable as the man they sought to bring down. But, then, of course the plotters were led by Gordon Brown.

I watched the PM's press conference yesterday …

It's not just the expenses that need to change. It's the MPs.

When I was first selected as a Labour parliamentary candidate at the age of 26, I won’t deny that an MP’s salary would have seemed a pretty attractive proposition. Even hard-done-by Parliamentarians tend to earn more than middle-ranking copywriters in ad agencies. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it that the cash wasn’t my primary motivation for thrusting myself into the political limelight.

My opponent was a gent called Sir Archie Hamilton – the then Chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee of backbench MPs. He had a rock-solid seat in Epsom, south-west of London, and wasn’t likely to be troubled by my challenge as young Labour pretender. (I did actually manage a swing of 12.4% against him in 1997, which wasn’t too bad. To the consternation of the local Liberal Democrats, I also managed to come second. But second, as we all know, don’t mean diddly squat. I didn’t give up the day job.)

The reason I’m dusting off this ancient and parochial piece of political history is tha…