Charles Clarke – Voice of Britain! (7 September 2008)

Our most perspicacious politician (his description) shares his thoughts on the state of the nation, the destiny of continents, the world economy, but, principally, on himself

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