James Forsyth

Darling lifts lid on Brown’s chaotic government

Darling lifts lid on Brown's chaotic government
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Tieless, Alistair Darling appeared on Marr this morning to discuss his memoir. As with so many of these New Labour autobiographies, there was the strong whiff of a therapy session. At one point, Darling said "if Gordon is listening to this" before remarking that he still felt a huge amount of "residual loyalty" to him.

It is not news that the Brown government was dysfunctional. But it was striking that Darling did not dissent when Marr suggested that under Brown, Labour had  collectively  not been fit to govern.

In the serialisation of the book in The Sunday Times, the detail that stands out to me is that Darling and David Miliband met the weekend after James Purnell’s resignation in 2009 to discuss whether Brown could be removed from office. Darling writes that "we came to a pretty unsatisfactory political conclusion: that Gordon wouldn’t leave; that there was no alternative leader in prospect; and that there was an inevitability that we must just soldier on."

The former Chancellor said that he was "very pessimistic now" about the prospects for the economy. He also cautioned against believing that ring-fencing was the solution to the problem of banks being too big to fail.