Peter Hoskin

Brown v Blair: a comedy

Brown v Blair: a comedy
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First the tragedy, then the farce: if there was something dark, perhaps shocking, about last weekend's bullying allegations, then the latest Rawnsley revelations veer towards the hilarious.  They're centred around Brown's efforts to oust Tony Blair, and the Guardian covers them here.  I won't pre-empt your enjoyment of them, except to highlight this passage from the report:

"Rawnsley reveals that Brown rang Blair while he was staying with the Queen at Balmoral. He was furious that Alan Milburn, Blair's close ally, had written a piece supporting the prime minister's right to stay at No 10.

Rawnsley writes:

'The chancellor's fury was titanically demented even by his standards. 'You put fucking Milburn up to it,' Brown raged down the phone. 'This is factionalism! This is Trotskyism! It's fucking Trotskyism!' Blair was nonplussed. He had not even seen the article. After the call, he then read it and phoned Milburn to say it was excellent. They laughed about Brown's hysterical reaction.'"

And also this denial, today, from Ed Balls's office about his role in ousting Blair:

"A spokesman for Balls said these allegations were untrue. 'Mr Balls had always advised Mr Brown to stay out of any 'move to oust' Mr Blair,' he said."

Hm, I guess those Brownites don't do dirty, Trotskyist "factionalism," after all.

The Guardian also carries this stinging quote from a Downing St source, again denying the Rawnsley allegations:

"'This is historic and untrue,' a source said. 'Andrew Rawnsley's previous allegations completely fell apart. This book is ill-informed, rather desperate and prejudiced.'"

Seems to me, No.10 shouldn't be so eager to pick a fight with Rawnsley (and Rawnsley's friends in the media).  You suspect that there's plenty more where all this came from - and Brown could well do without it pouring out in the run-up to the election.