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Charles Clarke – Voice of Britain! (14 September 2008)

The leading political thinker of our age (his description) shares his ideas on nuclear physics, personal duty and the burden of leadership

As you would expect, I have kept my counsel this week. I thought it important that someone with experience of government at the highest level should pay close attention to the risks of sub-atomic black holes at Cern and the dangers for our Continental partners of being isolated by the closure of the Channel Tunnel. However, I understand that some of my colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party have written an article entitled "Labour needs a bold new narrative", and that others have been on television to claim that they had the foresight and judgment not to nominate Gordon Brown for the party leadership last year.

I am bound to speak frankly and say that this is just not good enough. I do think that it is rather more significant that a former home secretary refused to sign Mr Brown's nomination papers. And I am puzzled that I should not have been asked to advise the article's authors, as it would have had more impact if it had been headed "Why Charles Clarke is right to say that the Prime Minister is useless".

I would not have wished to go public in saying this, as it is normally better to deal with such things behind closed doors, in the smoke-free rooms that Tony Blair personally intervened to legislate for in the days when Labour governments actually did things that were popular and right. But I do think that the time has come when it is incumbent on senior figures in the party and, in particular, those who are also members of Her Majesty's Privy Council, to say that they are prepared to take up the trusty sword of British fair play and assume the leadership of the party and the country that we love.

Charles Clarke was talking to himself