But, other than that, the timing of this particular Miller’s Crossing has been awful for the Tories. Putting aside the inevitable discussion as to whether Ms Miller jumped, or was pushed – Gary Gibbon over at Channel 4 News says it’s definitely the latter, and that Dave delegated someone to direct her to the room with the bottle of Scotch and loaded revolver – this has been a gift for Mil The Younger.
Let’s wind the clock back to immediately before the story of Ms Miller’s expenses broke: the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet, had just delivered his Budget, Miliband was being written off (again), Cameron was taunting the Labour leadership with allegations of infighting, the polls moved – slightly but certainly – towards the Tories, and optimism was returning.
Now it all looks so different: Cameron, by not only digging his heels in, but also exercising zero discipline over his ministers and their supporters in the party, has made himself look even more of a flim-flam man than most people already knew. When word should have gone out to Ms Miller and her entourage to keep their heads down, there was nothing. The result was not a happy one.
That shortcoming led to such avoidable events as Mary Macleod going on Sky News (“first for breaking wind”) to the delight of Kay “surly” Burley and everyone else at the channel. Rolling news channels are more than happy for clumsy politicians to indulge in incautious accusation live on air: otherwise, there would be no content, and very few people would look in.
Yes, the expenses investigation into Ms Miller was over the previous expense regime, and refers to a time before 2010, since when the system has been tightened up and abuse made that much more difficult. But she did overclaim, and by getting away with having a repayment of £45,000 reduced to less than £6,000, she has made her party look like a bunch of spivs (which some of them are).
On top of all that, the whole sorry affair will help not just Labour, but also Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his pals in their efforts to portray UKIP as “anti-politics”, despite his track record of trousering as much in expenses from the European Parliament as he can get his hands on. And Dave has nobody else to blame but himself. His party can’t exercise discipline, and the membership is in terminal decline.
The Tory victory party might just have been cancelled to save more embarrassment.