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For the sake of the country

The Guardian's Polly Toynbee has called for the prime minister to resign. While some would expect such calls to hail loudly from the opposition, the left has been unforgiving in its silence on the damage Gordon Brown is doing to their cause.

This was never going to be an easy premiership for the man who foolishly claimed he had ended boom and bust, not least because unemployment has now risen to 2.2 million and the UK is in the deepest downturn since the war. Yet it is utter incompetence, failure to communicate, inability to lead and sheer bloodymindedness that has seen him fall so low so fast.

Inequality has grown under a Labour government for the first time. Brown is unable to speak in anything other than pre-rehearsed soundbites, which in times of uncertainty simply won't do. This failing is compounded by the fact that America's leader bounces with confidence and easy mannerisms that Brown would surely kill for. His VAT cut has done little to stem the economic gloom and would have been better spent on tax cuts for the low paid. He has repeated Blair's mistakes of pressing ahead without common sense, on all manner of draconian and ill-thought out measures, from ID cards to attempting to extend detention without trial. Events of the past week, particularly the government's defeat over the Gurkhas, reveal a party out of touch, a government that is not listening and a leader in a bunker.

Continuing to cling to power will spell disaster of unseen proportions, not just for Labour but for all those who believe in equality and fairness. It will usher in, at the next election, a period of Tory dominance every bit as stingy as Thatcher. To avoid giving an open goal to the hidden nastiness of David Cameron's Etonian cabal, Brown must now deliver for progressive politics... and go.

Digestion takes time

The last decision.