Back in the days of old Fleet Street, The White Hart was the pub most used by Daily Mirror staff. It was better known to its habitués as The Stab-in-the-Back. The sneaky practice of doing in your colleagues and/or friends is by no means confined to the world of politics although it has a particular saliency there. Politicians are the dark lords of a night of long knives, or “sgian dhus” as the late Charles Kennedy put it when he lost his parliamentary seat in the Highlands after 27 years.In contrast to almost any other occupation, political preferment does not depend on qualifications or performance. A politician largely prospers by being in with the right clique at the right time. They may occasionally have to solicit votes from the public, but these come more because of the party banner they are selected to fight under than for any personal qualities. Most politicians’ careers wither because they fall out of favour with their own side.