Peter Hoskin

Brown and Blair, together again

Brown and Blair, together again
Text settings

Strange that there's really only one major political point arising from Gordon Brown's interview in the Standard today.  But, then again, maybe that is the point.  Like the PM's interview with the News of the World a few weeks ago, the emphasis is far more on the personal than anything else: his relationship with Sarah Brown, the death of his daughter Jennifer, his upbringing, and so on.  We even learn why his handwriting is so bad ("due to the way he was taught to write at school," apparently).  And with a TV appearance alongside Piers Morgan in the schedules, it does seem that Brown is keen to present a more human front.

As for that political point, it's Brown's confirmation that Tony Blair will play a "major role" in Labour's election campaign.  You can debate the merits and demerits of that, from Labour's perspective, all day long.  The former PM is certainly better in front of the cameras than his successor, but might a reunion of the Old Crowd be too much for voters to bear?  I suppose only time will tell.

For now, it's striking just how far Brown is going to suck any poison out of the story, particularly in relation to Iraq.  He spends a chunk of the Standard interview stressing how the war on Iraq was a collective decision – even if he does then draw a distinction between what he calls the "military side" (where he says he wasn't, but Blair was, involved) and the "financial side" (where he was).  You wonder whether that distinction – the mental image of Brown's hand on the purse-string – will come to hurt him by the time he appears in front of the Chilcot panel.    

P.S. When it comes to unmerited sanctimoniousness, few politicians can top Brown.  This, from the Standard interview, is a gem:

“But I am not going to get into personality politics. It is not what I have done in my life.”