The book is particularly enlightening when Peston looks at Brown's early ideological battles within the party. On page 157 of the paperback edition Peston looks at the what he calls a symbolic "punch-up" with the centre-left Tribune group. In essence this is the group that is most likely to seize control of the Labour Party when Brown eventually loses the leadership, although the Compass fraction (marginally closer to the centre ground) will also be a serious contender.
As Peston explains, in July 1993 the Tribune group's "flamboyant" secretary Peter Hain had called for a £10 billion to £15 billion reflationary package to boost growth and tackle unemployment in response to the recession. Sound familiar?
Now read this: "The proposals were derided in the media by "senior Labour sources" as "kiddy economics". Brown still recalls the incident with annoyance, because it might have undermined his mission to reinvent Labour as a credible manager of the economy: Hain's call for increased borrowing, when the public finances were in a mess, reinforced a perception of Labour as spendthrift. As for Hain, when asked about this bruising encounter with Brown, he still winces."
I wonder if Hain still winces, or whether he feels he was right all along.