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Labour may be stranded in the desert by Tom Watson's resignation

The MP's resignation letter couldn't disguise his disenchantment with Ed Miliband

As a politician hyper-alert to the years of denials and fake scents left by News International over phone hacking, no one can accuse Tom Watson of being slow to decode the difference between a front and what lies behind.

His resignation letter to Ed Miliband is therefore best seen as the public presentation of his exit. So what is being hidden? He had earlier posted an almost reflex exposé about what really lay behind his disenchantment with the current Labour leadership.

At Glastonbury, with a "bloke barely in 20s playing the guitar like a mid-west cyclone", Watson claims he finally understood what Labour is missing out on. In a review he wrote "Tony Blair marched us into the arid desert of pragmatism".

It has been opposition frontline politics that raised Watson's profile as a notable adversary. The tag of party disloyalty disappeared into the shadows when he made the hacking scandal box office. The politician who asked James Murdoch if he recognised himself as a Mafia boss already had a campaigning profile that Miliband couldn't ignore.

The imminent explosion of the Falkirk selection fiasco will have done little for Watson's belief that Labour has lost – though who, after Blair and Gordon Brown, has won is still up for grabs.