So Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon have been suspended from the Labour Party. Bet that really upset Gordon Brown, eh?
It's hard to see why they've been singled out in this way. For evidence, let me cite that ever-reliable guide, the Register of Members' Interests.
Byers' entry lists no reference either to National Express or Tesco. Good old Steve, doing all that hard work for free!
But it does record the fact that he's the non-Executive Chairman of a water company. Maybe he's got views, as he's entitled to have, on water policy. Perhaps he communicates them from time to time - no reason why not - to Ministers.
Now turn to the entry of his old friend Alan Milburn. I see that Milburn is the non-Executive Chairman of a health company. (Just remind me now…wasn't he once, er, Health Secretary?) Maybe he's got views on health policy. Perhaps he communicates them from time to time to Ministers.
So why hasn't Brown suspended Milburn? (Which would upset him no less than suspending Byers, maybe more.)
Oh come on, Paul, I hear you reply. The Register is irrelevant. What Byers and the others did wasn't the point. The point is what they were seen to do. That's why Brown suspended them.
Exactly. And we all agree, surely, that Brown should be consistent – since what's fair to one must be fair to all. So I've a suggestion. Brown should suspend everyone who's brought the Labour Party into disrepute. You heard me – everyone.
Ok, I concede that this necessitates a very long list. So where to start? I say: at the top. Who's done more to bring the Labour Party into disrepute than anyone else? What about Brown's globe-trotting, sun-loving, yacht-tripping, directorship-acquiring, wealth-accumulating, fund-shifting, fee-taking, lecture-delivering, teeth-brandishing, dossier-fixing, war-starting predecessor? Let's suspend Blair! For starters.
P.S: Bet that would really upset Brown, too.