James Purnell has spoken for many in the Parliamentary Labour Party.
There is great affection and loyalty to Gordon Brown. He has been cruelly and often unfairly maligned. He has great strengths and some fatal weaknesses. The expenses scandal is a parliamentary crisis. But the public largely blame Labour. Some of the worst offenders have been Labour MPs but many Conservative offences have been shameless and colourful. But the spirited interventions of David Cameron and Nick Clegg have deflected blame from their parties. Gordon Brown has been heavy footed, inconsistent and defensive.
There is now a wide coalition of MPs from all wings of the Labour Party who are sadly convinced that a change of leadership in now unavoidable. It is hoped that Gordon will accept the will of the PLP and agree to a swift orderly exit.
The Labour Party has always been reluctant to drop leaders. The Tories brutally dumped Thatcher. But Labour clung on to Michael Foot in 1983 even though Dennis Healey would have been an electoral asset to us. For the sake of the millions who benefit from the work of the Labour Party in Government we must select a new national leader.
Rush to rant
It's enough to restore my faith in ranting.
Last night at a reception following the WEU meeting at the Palais D'Iena, I was aware of a group of young people edging their way towards me. They were strangers but we were soon in an animated conversation.
The secret in making good speeches is not to change the speech but to change the audience. The WEU Assembly had not previously heard my impassioned views on Afghanistan. The anger shows.
Originally I bastardised the Charge of the Light Brigade poem in March 2006. I was using hyperbole to warn that stirring up the hornet's nest of Helmand was a blunder equivalent to the most unforgettable calamity of the Crimean war. Now, we know, it's worse. 118 British soldiers died in the charge of the Light Brigade. Since March 2006 an additional 159 British soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan.
Again our soldier lions are being led over the abyss by ministerial and military donkeys. It's impossible to speak of these tragedies without emotion. The group of young people who approached me last night are all working for the Western European Union. They are very bright interns who write the high quality WEU reports. Politicians are the named 'rapporteurs' who receive the plaudits. In some cases they contribute little except to add their signature when the writing is completed.
Last night's group of five interns originated from three countries. All were enthusiastic for a fresh approach to the present war of futility in Afghanistan. They challenged the orthodox views on a war without end or purpose. Kindly they said that only LibDem Mike Hancock and I contributed fresh thinking to a debate clogged with ossified thinking and group delusions.
Thank you very much Juliet and friends. I promise more ranting
MPs expenses-next steps
Thanks to all those who contributed to the public meeting I called last week to discuss MPs expenses. Your suggestions will be used in my submission to Sir Christopher Kelly's Committee. Further ideas are invited.
Means Test: There has been outrage because many millionaire MPs have been milking parliamentary allowances for items unconnected with parliamentary duties. Payments in future should match individual MPs' needs or be incorporated at a reduced rate into salaries.
Lobbying must be cleaned up. Present arrangements allow influence to be bought. It is potentially corrupting - or worse. I am pressing for mandatory disclosures and transparency.
Double Jobbing: An MP's job is a fulltime one. Those who take outside jobs should have their moonlighting hours declared and their parliamentary pay reduced. Former ministers and top civil servants should be barred from taking jobs in the areas in which they served.
Pensions: MPs pensions are based on final salaries. Many other occupational pensions are declining in value. MPs should not have a pensions more favourable than everyone else.
MPs pay should be linked to the level of the state basic pension.
Heatmap (above) show levels of claims. the lighter the colour the more modest the claim. Newport West is the yellow one above the B in Bristol. Details of my past and current claims are available on www.paulflynnmp.co.uk
The LibDems are in front with the first Speakership campaign embarrassing error.
An engaging letter from LibDems aspirant Speaker Alan Beith arrived claiming that his manifesto was attached. Opening the attachment revealed a complete lists of members of parliament's select committee. Huh?
Within a hour the grovelling apology and the correct attachment arrived. The LibDems have not quite got the hang of this hi-tech stuff. The apology said how easy it is to 'press the wrong button.'
Never put them in charge of a nuclear war.