It has been an unusually sombre British summer in political circles. First, Robin Cook died unexpectedly whilst walking in Scotland. Cook, a former Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House who resigned from the Blair team over Iraq, was widely tipped to be the Deputy Leader under Brown. More significantly, he could think.
Then, just a couple of weeks later, Mo Mowlam - former Northern Ireland Secretary - died of cancer. She had been fighting this for years, including her time as a Minister. She was feisty, popular, pragmatic (not an intellectual) and street smart.
Today, Gerry Fitt (Lord Fitt), founder of the SDLP in Northern Ireland, died of a long illness. He was also a street fighter, but this time in the cause of nationalism in Ireland with a socialist bent. Pugnacious, passionate, persistent and challenging, Gerry Fitt put a solid face on Irish politics at a time when all around was violent (SDLP was founded in 1970 at the height of "the troubles").
As Lady Bracknell may say, "to lose one is unfortunate, but three...".
It is surprising to me that there is not more political ideological conversation - these three pushed this conversation and I for one will miss them.