Blair “ruined” Brown’s life? – aka – “allowed him to work next door for far too long”

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    25th February, 2010

    In the middle of the coup, the former welfare minister Frank Field went to No 10 to plead with Blair not to give way to Brown. “You can’t go yet. You can’t let Mrs Rochester out of the attic,” he said. Rawnsley writes: “Blair roared with laughter.”

    [Ref this: ‘Mr Rochester bitterly admits this, explaining that his wife is a violent madwoman whom he keeps locked in the attic…’]

    I can’t help thinking that despite his normally generous approach to others, Mr Blair is roaring with laughter right now.

    There are only a few new phrases here in Wintour’s choice of extract from Rawnsley’s book below. The rest we’ve read before, many times.  But still worth a re-read if only to remind us of the ‘passion’ with which Brown grappled with Blair. It also reminds us what it was like having a level-headed prime minister. Oh, the memory, the fading memory …


    Mr Blair is, presumably, rushing to finish his book in long hand – not by pooter – wisely.  Since we have never heard him talking in personally insulting terms about others, opponents or colleagues, I am not expecting him to come out with much of what was said between him and the neighbour from Hades in the summer/autumn of 2006. Thus we have to take the words of others.  But versions of these stories are already legion.

    Aside: I know there are some regular readers here who will be annoyed with me over my dwelling on this. There are others, outside of Britain, who can hardly believe that a highly placed British politician would use the foul language which is frequently ascribed to Gordon Brown.

    Well, sorry, kind of. But this is not a site set up to support the Labour party come what may.  It never was and it never will be. I am still a floating voter; honestly I am. That is how much I am inspired by the leadership, vision and policies at present on offer to me –  not to mention the characters.

    Ahhh, the characters. And they tell us politics should have nothing to do with personalities. They only say that because these days many of want nothing to do with our personality-vacant politics. There has to be some excuse for our lack of interest.

    (My emphasis in the below, and my thoughts follow each paragraph in grey.)

    Gordon Brown shouted ‘you ruined my life’ at Tony Blair

    By Patrick Wintour at The Guardian

    Brown shouted in final confrontation that accelerated Blair’s resignation as prime minister, according to Andrew Rawnsley’s new book

    Gordon Brown eating fish and chips with Tony Blair

    Tony Blair eating fish and chips with Gordon Brown in 2001. Photograph: Martin Argles

    Gordon Brown repeatedly shouted at Tony Blair “you ruined my life” in the final confrontation that forced Blair to agree to announce a date by which he would stand down as prime minister, according to Andrew Rawnsley’s new book.

    The revelations in the Observer journalist’s book, The End of the Party, raised fresh questions this week about the [sic] Brown’s character and prompted him to deny at prime minister’s questions today he had ever sanctioned briefings against his chancellor, Alistair Darling.

    The latest disclosures detail the extent to which Brown manoeuvred to oust Blair. Rawnsley describes how in a two-hour morning meeting in early September 2006 Brown insisted not only that Blair step down, but that he fix it so no one stood against him. Blair said he could not deliver that promise. Brown’s insistence to Blair that he become prime minister unchallenged is at odds with public proclamations that he would welcome a contest.

    Honestly, honest Gordon!? “Fix it”?

    The book also says Ed Balls, then City minister and Brown’s closest ally, was the driving force behind the coup launched in autumn 2006.

    You don’t say?

    In the final showdown between Brown and Blair, against the backdrop of a backbench letter urging Blair to stand aside, Brown demanded not only a ­public declaration that he would hand over power but also to work as his partner in the interim.

    And they both worked happily ever after.

    The book says Brown demanded: “Who do you think is better than me? Do you think there is anyone who is better than me?” John Reid was “far too rightwing”. Alan Johnson was “a lightweight”. David ­Miliband was much too young. Was Blair saying, Brown demanded, that any of them was better qualified to become prime minister?

    ‘ABG – Anyone But Gordon’.  Remember that, Gordon?

    This face-off came to an end without a resolution. Talking about it afterwards to close allies, Blair described this confrontation with Brown as “ghastly” and “terrible” and told them: “He [Brown] kept shouting at me that I’d ruined his life.”

    Your fault, Tony. As always. You life-ruiner, you.

    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.

    He was really only making sure Cherie had remembered her equipment.

    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.”

    I DO hope Her Gracious Majesty wasn’t listening in on the extension.

    Drawing on witness accounts from within No 10 and the Treasury, Rawnsley also discloses that Balls, in effect, forced Brown into pressing on with the coup. At one meeting at the Treasury, Brown said he needed more time to think, but Balls interrupted: “It’s too late. It’s all in place. It is going to happen.”

    What? Cold feet, Gordon. Just as well you had hot Balls handy. Or was it? His fault – he’s ruined your life!

    Balls was referring to the fact that Tom Watson, then defence minister, was about to hand in a letter of resignation from the government that called for Blair to quit.

    Balls and Watson – a treacherous pair of nonentities.

    Rawnsley writes that at one meeting Balls was vehement Gordon had been “too weak for too long”. Balls said: “Blair is never going to go. He has to be pushed. You mustn’t be weak. You’ve been weak for too long.” 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.

    Correction: Balls advised Brown to LOOK as though he was staying out of any move to oust Blair. Yes, we know. We noticed.

    Jonathan Powell, Blair’s former chief of staff, tells Rawnsley the Brownite coup “fitted with a pattern of behaviour over 13 years“. Baroness Morgan, Blair’s director of government relations for four years, says Blair knew Gordon was behind it.

    Powell and Morgan knew and know, as did and does Blair.

    In the middle of the coup, the former welfare minister Frank Field went to No 10 to plead with Blair not to give way to Brown. “You can’t go yet. You can’t let Mrs Rochester out of the attic,” he said. Rawnsley writes: “Blair roared with laughter.”

    Frank Field also knew and knows. Will he add to this any time soon?

    By the way, hasn’t Peter Mandelson gone quiet?

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    One Response to “Blair “ruined” Brown’s life? – aka – “allowed him to work next door for far too long””

    1. F M Wiseman Says:

      Methinks Blair protests too much – isn’t it time he showed a little dignity – as Gordon has done throughout. Mr Blair is a bully and, like all bullies totally lacks integrity.

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