Alex Massie

The Gordon Brown Style

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A couple of revealing entries from Chris Mullin's diaries that reveal the Prime Minister to be some ungodly (and unhealthy) combination of Uriah Heep and Lyndon Baines Johnson:

Wednesday July 4th, 2001:

Later, sitting on the terrace, I was joined by a member of the Blair inner circle*. Conversation soon turned to Gordon. I mentioned that following my departure from government, I had received a handwritten letter saying how much he had enjoyed working with me. It seems that every ex-Minister has received an identical letter. All the new Members have received letters too. He must have been up half the night writing them. No stone is left unturned. Gordon's machine churns night and day. My friend was scathing. "He's mad, quite mad."

And:

Saturday April 20th 2002:

To the County Hotel at Durham to address the annual dinner of the Crimewriters Association. Giles and Lisanne Radice were there. Lisanne told me that when the Treasury Select Comittee, which giles used to chair, published a report that was anything less than a perfect replica of the official position, Gordon Brown used to ring up Giles at midnight, incandescent with rage, f-king and blinding, demanding retractions, slamming the phone down. At times, she said, it was so bad that Giles stopped answering the phone when it rang after midnight because he knew it would be Gordon.

Labour MPs knew all this, and yet none of them was prepared to do the decent thing and stand against Brown. Frankly, Alastair Campbell's (alleged!) description of the PM as "psychologically flawed" seems but the half of it. That is to say that even by politicians' standards, Brown is unusually, er, "flawed".

*I suspect this is tactful editing and that the diary has been edited to remove a name here. Would be embarrassing for a member of the cabinet to be outed in this fashion...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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