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  1. Politics
28 January 2008

The curse of Wales

Bloggers are in self-congratulatory mood as Peter Hain is dispatched, but is the “Welsh Cabinet curs

By Owen Walker

In the week Peter Hain finally fell on his sword, Iain Dale salutes his fellow blogfather, Guido Fawkes, for breaking and persisting with the funding scandal story: “Bloggers do not exist to get political scalps. But when a blogger reveals possible law breaking and drives the media debate, as Guido has done, let’s recognise that as a good thing and give him the credit he is due.”

Dale was joined in his blog back slapping by scores of posters on Guido’s blog.

Reflecting on Guido’s self-congratulation, Cicero revisits the blog v mainstream media debate. Somewhat stoically, he points out: “Perhaps it is fair to say that people are also recognising the limits of blogs. They do not change the world, they may not be very influential, they are merely a medium.”

With William Hill having taken 7-1 that Hain would be out of the cabinet before the end of January, and 2-1 he would be the first to leave the cabinet, plenty of political punters were pleased to see the back of him, according to Political Betting. Five-to-one to see him return by the end of 2008 anyone?

Expecting a heady sense of panic in Westminster, Benedict Borgan is surprised to find: “The MPs, Cabinet ministers, junior ministers and political advisers I’ve spoken to all afternoon report the same thing: regret for Mr Hain, a sense of inevitability about his departure, and confidence in Mr Brown’s integrity. The political markets seem to have discounted this event.”

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Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray takes a nostalgic look back at the anti-apartheid campaigner who inspired him. While, Paul Flynn MP makes a case for Hain’s defence. This is derided by Nich Starling.

Mirror hack James Lyons expands on what he terms the “Welsh Cabinet curse”. Where once Ron Davies fell foul of Clapham Common, read Hain of Scotland Yard. Maguire also reveals: “Now [Hain’s successor as Wales secretary Paul] Murphy is being tipped to head a new department for regions and nations when Gordon Brown carries out a full reshuffle in the summer.”

The cutest line of the day comes from David Lindsay: “We all know that [Hain] stands no chance of being prosecuted. But just to be certain, he should now call for the police to be paid in full.”

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