I hold no particular brief for Claire Short, She has often appeared a bit naive - and has been a serial resigner form Labour's front bench. Nevertheless she is clearly an honest and well meaning sort of politician and does have a genuine following in the country. She is an all too human antidote to the machine politicians of both Labour and increasingly the Tories.
I was therefore rather struck by her comments as she announced that she will stand down as a Labour MP at the next election. Her contempt for Blair and Brown was obvious. She lambasted them both- not just for Iraq or for the mess of ID cards and the trespasses that they have launched against civil liberties and, perhaps more significantly on their failure to deliver PR- which she sees as a central question in British politics.
As for Cameron, she condemned him too as a shallow PR merchant.
Claire Short represents a significant faction in the Labour Party- a faction that both Robin Cook and Mo Mowlam were a part of. This is not an insignificant faction: Denis McShane, Bob Marshall Andrews, are public critics of the government, but over 100 other Labour M.Ps support electoral reform too.
The obvious anger that Short feels towards the Blair-Brown government have driven her to contemplate leaving the Labour Party and perhaps standing as an independent.
It strikes me, that the few pebbles that Claire Short is throwing around could start an avalanche.
The tide for political reform in Britain may be turning- it will be interesting to watch how other Labour figures react to this clarion call for reform.