If Brown had been unseated by the actions of these unreconstructed Blairites – many, incidentally, deeply compromised over their expenses – it would have meant that Labour would have been dragged back to the neoliberal agenda that has eviscerated the party and which was firmly rejected along with Blair two years ago. Their triumphalism would have made the crucial repositioning that Labour now needs impossible, leading either to a split or the party imploding.
The democratic issue is perhaps even more serious. What we have seen is a well-planned and executed attempt, using people's quite justifiable anger over MPs' expenses to undermine the government in the lead-up to critical local and national elections. This was not evenhanded, as the Telegraph would like to pretend. It has been carefully packaged and presented to cause maximum damage to Labour – and allow David Cameron (also deeply compromised by his claims, though you wouldn't know it) to get rid of several bits of Tory dead wood.
And who is leading this crusade for transparency and to stop the taxpayer from being ripped off? A newspaper owned by two secretive businessmen; tax exiles who have probably denied the taxpayer 10 times the amount of all the MPs' illegitimate expenses combined.
Some truth here, both on the Blairites and the Daily Telegraph's agenda.