David Blackburn

Brown meets his Waterloo

Brown meets his Waterloo
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Lord Guthrie had it right with his well-directed expletive: Gordon Brown just doesn’t get defence. His record, both as Chancellor and PM, leave him vulnerable to criticism on the subject; but today, Brown has been confronted by a khaki-clad nightmare.

After suffering his first reverse at PMQs for months, beaten decisively by a beautifully executed Tory plan, former permanent secretary at the MoD, Sir Kevin Tebbit, informed the Chilcot Inquiry that Brown ‘guillotined’ the defence budget with annual reductions of £1bn. Geoff Hoon’s testimony disclosed the full effects of Brown’s single act of stringency.

The timing could not be better for the Tories, who have been intent on self-destruction of late. Chilcot’s witnesses have oozed malice for Brown, providing an extensive narrative suggesting his recent passion for the military has the same genus that inspired his sudden fervour for electoral reform: last gasp expediency. Brown’s disregard for soldiers deployed at his assent is a something of a John Terry moment: captains do not recover from such acts of betrayal.