BRITAIN needs an effective Opposition. It patently does not have one.

What it has is a Liberal Democratic Party which, while doing its best under Charles Kennedy, does not have enough weight to compete with Labour's parliamentary dominance, and a dysfunctional Conservative Party which is steadily tearing itself apart.

Tony Blair himself would admit that his Government needs to be pushed to deliver; to be challenged to do better; to be forced to be more accountable. Instead, it is a Government which is cruising along without real political pressure.

That is bad for democracy, bad for the country, and it has to change. Iain Duncan Smith therefore has to go.

Yesterday he was faced with having to quell a rebellion within his own ranks over where the Conservative Party stands on adoption by gay and unmarried couples. He targeted those he perceives to be his enemies, accusing them of putting their own selfish ambitions before the needs of the party, but his choice of battleground and strategy backfired so badly that he is now mortally wounded.

The problem for the Tories, of course, is finding a credible alternative. Kenneth Clarke has long been the man the Labour Party fears but his support for the euro means he has little chance of succeeding, while Michael Portillo has made far too many enemies to be trusted.

Suddenly, William Hague's decision to resign in the wake of the election humiliation appears increasingly premature because he doesn't look like such a bad choice as leader after all.

Totnes Tory MP Anthony Steen came up with the phrase of the day by describing the Iain Duncan Smith as being "murally dyslexic" because he fails to see the writing on the wall.

The Tory leader chose instead to daub his own stark message on the wall: "Unite or die."

Given that his message served only to create more division, the logical conclusion must be that he has condemned his party to death.