Under a Brown premiership the numbers, more than a concern for civil liberties, will kill the legislation. Cost/benefit analysis has never been Blair’s strong suit. The problem now is worse than that. He fails absolutely to think his policies through.
I fear that the prime minister has become unhinged. He has always tended towards being messianic. Now he is more convinced than ever that he is right and everyone else wrong. Neither the views of parliament nor the home secretary count for anything. He courts unpopularity, outrages his supporters and has lost his instinct for survival. Logic plays little part in his calculations and economics none.
As recently as last summer I, like many others, believed that Blair was the man to lead Britain in a crisis. The alternative was Gordon Brown, once famously described by a Blair aide as “psychologically flawed”. While I do not dispute that description of the chancellor, the prime minister’s psychiatric advantage over his rival is clearly narrowing.