David Blackburn

Brown the victim

Brown the victim
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As Pete points out, the longer the bullying story runs the more chance there is that the public sympathise with Brown, as they did over the Jacqui Janes story. Now Ed Balls is playing the sympathy card for his mentor, saying that Brown has been deeply hurt by these false allegations. Whatever next? Damian McBride breaks his retreat in a seminary and says: “Brown’s the loveliest man I’ve met, never hurt a fly guv, honest.” The preposterous and the distasteful hang above this latest twist, but Downing Street’s spin operation remains terrifyingly focussed.

Yesterday saw the destruction of Christine Pratt’s credibility - she didn't deserve such a barracking but most of her problems were of her own making; discretion would have been the better part of valour. Downing Street’s imaginative narrative now needs a victim and today Brown will be sold as the target of a malevolent journalist, a line that briefly emerged yesterday. Brown as the self-pitying innocent is clever smoke and mirror politics, obscuring the central issues: his behaviour and his government’s ineptitude. He may even gain some support.

Something is awry though. If Brown has been libelled why doesn’t he sue? As Peter Mandelson said, it’s not as if he’s a shrinking violet…