As I go among the people, in my constituency and certain quality but not unreasonably priced restaurants in this great capital city of ours, voices often say to me: "Charles, Britain is in trouble. The storm clouds are gathering. Are the dreams we all dreamed in 1997, when you were elected, to be trampled in the dirt?" And I say, yes, notwithstanding the indelible achievements of my ministries at Education and the Home Office, the inheritance I left behind is being squandered by dithering and a lack of vision.
And these voices say again to me: "Charles, Gordon Brown is useless. You have been in the political wilderness too long. Won't you return?" And I say to them, as I now say to you, my fellow citizens, that when I chose not to oppose Brown in 2007, I did so on the understanding he followed the path that I had set. It is incumbent upon me to point out that this solemn undertaking, sealed over a most agreeable bottle of red, has now been breached.
I have stayed my hand until now. But I feel it would not be prudent – nor, indeed, in the national interest – for me to do so any longer. I do not seek the highest office in our land, but, were it to become obvious – as it is to me – that there is only one man with the power and vision to restore prosperity to the country we all love, then I would – with all the humility that has marked my years of service – accept the responsibility.
Charles Clarke was talking to himself