SHORT FUSE

NYT reports that Clare Short finally got around to resigning today, and she did it in her inimitable bizarre style:

Even given Ms. Short’s reputation for feisty outspokenness, legislators who packed the chamber appeared startled at the personal animus in her statement.

“To the prime minister,” she said, “I would say that he has achieved great things since 1997 but, paradoxically, he is in danger of destroying his legacy as he becomes increasingly obsessed by his place in history.”

Mr. Blair was not in the House to hear her speech, but Foreign Secretary Jack Straw sat in the front row with a grim expression, and there were audible gasps and intakes of breath from the Labor benches at the ferocity of Ms. Short’s comments.

The resignation speech in March of Robin Cook, the leader of the Commons and a former foreign secretary, drew a standing ovation from the legislators. At Ms. Short’s conclusion, by contrast, there were only murmurs, and they seemed to be ones equally of astonishment as of approval.

Apparently, there was more than principle involved here:

Mr. Blair was widely reported to be about to remove her in a coming reshuffle of his cabinet, and that notion gained credence today when he was able to name her successor within an hour of receiving her telephone call saying she was quitting.

And, once again, one has to admire British humour:

“I am sorry to see Clare go out with such fury,” Chris Bryant, a Labor member and Blair loyalist, told the BBC. He called the speech “nasty and brutish.”

Quite.

FILED UNDER: World Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.