According to Benjamin Disraeli there was no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.
If that was true in the nineteenth century, Gordon Brown is likely to agree that its true today after his recent experience.
Although there has been a feeling for some time within the parliamentary Labour party that Gordon Brown did not set the pulse of the electorate. Despite this, most had come to the conclusion that now was not the time to get rid of him. Certainly not within months of a general election. And especially when there was some evidence that he was beginning to make a little inroad into Cameron’s lead in the opinion polls.
Then suddenly out of the blue comes Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt calling for a secret ballot on Gordon Brown’s leadership. Their attempt failed. Why? To succeed a number of elements have to in place.
What elements? Firstly, one would need to have more support than Tony Blair’s former supporters.
The Labour Party is a broad church and to succeed you need to have the support of the left wing as well as the right wing supporters of new Labour.
As the trade union movement is to a large extent the parties pay master, it was foolish to try to orchestrate a coup without the backing of one or two union bosses.
But their biggest mistake was to try to change the leader without an alternative leader in the wings. They needed a name. One of the cabinet. In the final analysis no one was willing or had the backbone to put their name in the hat.
Much to Gordon Brown’s relief, the plotters were seen as weak, and their dubious venture failed. The Labour party in all its history has never ever got rid of a leader and clearly it is not look likely it is going to change the tradition in the near future.
But the unsuccessful attempt has wounded our Prime Minister and made him look weak and damaged, yet again.
Before this their was a shimmer of hope for Labour. Cameron was looking shaky when accused of having a black hole in the cost of his policy proposals. And in the first Prime Ministers question time of the new year he was bested by Brown. All now to know avail thanks to the intervention of Hoon and Hewitt.
At the very time that Brown and his party should be united to fight the election, their shown to be like cats fighting in a sack.
And consequently Mr Cameron gains a further advantage.
The old adage is certainly true that your opponents are in the other parties. The enemy is within your own.