Ever since Tony Blair announced he would not fight a fourth election, we have witnessed a slow ebbing away of his authority. But today, that process took on a new dimension with the comments by General Sir Richard Dannatt over the War in Iraq.
Contradicting everything Mr Blair has been telling us since the start of the conflict, Army chief Sir Richard said the continued presence of our troops in Iraq was endangering British security, that they needed to be brought home "sometime soon."
Ordinarily, a Chief of General Staff who made a comment so undermining of government policy would be summarily sacked. But Mr Blair cannot afford to make Sir Richard a martyr to the anti-war cause any more than he could have done in relation to Gordon Brown in 2003 (see previous post.)
Parallels are now being increasingly drawn with the Suez crisis fifty years ago. Few questioned then that withdarwal was the right thing to do, but it still cost Anthony Eden his job.
16 Oct Update: More in this vein on my Week in Politics Podcast which is now online. The full text version is available HERE.
* Apologies to my regular visitors for the lower-than-normal volume of posts this week. I do however have a busy "day job" which is completely unrelated to my political writing, and until the day when this blog can pay me a living (!) it must always come first.