Fraser Nelson

Inside the Brown operation: the loathing, the cluelessness and the sulks

Inside the Brown operation: the loathing, the cluelessness and the sulks
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Remember Peter Watt? No one in Team Brown did either –and that, it now turns out, was a big mistake. As general secretary of the Labour Party when the Blair-Brown handover happened (and cash-for-honours was in the air) he was in a brilliant position to know what went on. And, after being abandoned by all of them, he has a motive to tell. His revelations are pretty explosive, but this jumps out at me the most - from Douglas Alexander, the man everyone thought was Brown’s little Mowgli raised by a fellow son-of-the-manse in the jungle of politics. This is what Alexander (the would-be co-ordinator in the election that never was) had to say to Watt in 2007:

"The truth is, Peter, we have spent ten years working with this guy, and we don’t actually like him. We have always thought that the longer the British public had to get to know him, the less they would like him as well.”

When Brown took over, Alexander also confided that the Brownites were without a clue:

"You’d imagine that after ten years of waiting for this, and ten years complaining about Tony, we would have some idea of what we are going to do but we don’t seem to have any policies. For God’s sake, Harriet’s helping write the manifesto!"

And another wee gem – this from a dinner party Watt attended with his wife Vilma:

"While Sarah pottered around getting the meal ready, Gordon began showing people to their seats but was interrupted by one of the No10 staff, saying he had an important phone call.

He disappeared, leaving Vilma and two others seated, and the rest of us awkwardly milling about.

After a few minutes, we all started to feel a bit silly, so decided just to sit ourselves down.

When Gordon finally reappeared he was aghast to find us all at the table. ‘I didn’t sit you all down,’ he exclaimed angrily.

It was hugely embarrassing and some of the guests started mumbling about getting up again.

‘No, no, you might as well stay where you are,’ he replied huffily.

He sat at the end of the table and swivelled in his chair, so that he almost had his back to everybody, and leaned his head on his arm.

For the rest of the meal he was monosyllabic, sulking because he had lost control of the seating plan.

The plates had not even been cleared when suddenly, without saying anything, he just got up and left.

As Sarah had also disappeared by then, we all showed ourselves out. ‘He’s bonkers,’ Vilma whispered, as we trooped out.

I wanted to disagree – but she was right."

Read the rest here. And enjoy.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.