Fraser Nelson Fraser Nelson

A load of Balls

Let’s rewind back to this morning, and Ed Balls’ appearance on the Today progamme.  It was such a classic demonstration of distortion and buck-passing, that we’ve decided to give it a fisk, Coffee House style.  Here’s the transcript, with our thoughts added in italics:

James Naughtie: Talking about bad behaviour, there’s been a bit of it going on in government, hasn’t there?

Ed Balls: Well, I’ve, um, seen the reports in the Sunday Times on Sunday and I think those emails were vile, horrible, despicable. I think there’s no place in politics for that kind of stuff. I think it’s awful.

Fraser Nelson: Balls is shocked, shocked to find it going on.

JN: You must feel this quite, er, personally. You had a very close working relationship with Damian McBride, both in the Treasury and subsequently, didn’t you? I mean, you knew him very well.

EB: I worked with him in the Treasury and, um, I obviously worked with, um, all the people in Downing Street as we all did as Cabinet Ministers. Um, I can’t explain or excuse this…

FN: Balls, McBride, Michael Ellam, Sue Nye, Ian Austin and Ed Miliband are the six remaining members of the ‘Octet’ outlined by The Spectator in Sep06. Brown is defined by his inner circle. Balls knows them all intimately, has done for years.

James Forsyth: I love the idea that Balls, the man who chairs the Wednesday meeting, has just the same kind of relationship with Downing Street and the Brownites as any other Cabinet minister.

JN [interrupting]: ‘Cos you were close, um, I mean, two things, you were close to him, you were a close colleague of his in the Treasury. You also know as a minister, don’t you, what the code of conduct says, for Special Advisors?

EB: The reason why he resigned on Saturday – because that conduct was inexcusable.

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