Pick yourself up, brush yourself down, start all over again

December 17, 2004 ,

IT has been described as a modern Shakespearian tragedy.
The resignation of David Blunkett resonated through Westminster this week.

If it is like a Shakespeare play then I unwittingly performed a small walk-on role in the drama.

Each year at Christmas there is an event called the ‘Works Outing’.
Backbench Labour MPs have Christmas dinner and a sing song in the upstairs room of a local Westminster hostelry.

The atmosphere is more Old Labour “Wheeltappers and Shunters” than New Labour wine bar.
The event is particularly popular with MPs from Wales, Scotland and the North of England.

Everyone attending is expected, if called upon, to do a turn.
Some sing songs, others recite poetry, and there is communal carol singing.

It is not unusual for Cabinet Ministers to attend. Margaret Beckett is a regular who can always be relied on to sing.

So it wasn’t that strange on Monday evening for the Home Secretary to come along, or even to sing a song.

But in the context of the pressure he was under, it was a surprise that he wanted to sing the old Sinatra number “Pick yourself up, brush yourself down, start all over again.”

I was asked to accompany him on guitar, and contrary to some reports he got a warm reception with many joining in.

But it might not have been the wisest thing to do.
It was bound to get picked up by the media who would have a new excuse to report David Blunkett’s troubles.

In the end though he wasn’t brought down by a song, or even his personal life.

Enoch Powell once said there are no true friends in politics.
That is not true, but David Blunkett’s criticism of his Cabinet colleagues hurt his friends at his own greatest time of need.