The Thick of It


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Captain Darling's weapon

Anthony Seldon's article in yesterday's Evening Standard was spot on in its analysis of Gordon Brown's strengths and weaknesses, in the news again following the release of Alistair Darling's book.

Darling has told us that Brown had no plan for government after spending years focusing on ousting Tony Blair. Brown was a nightmare to work with at times. Most of the cabinet except Ed Balls wanted Brown to quit but didn't force him out. This much we know. He also reacted to the global financial crisis superbly and led an international response. This much many of us knew and many dispute for political reasons.

Darling's book is interesting because he is such a reserved, measured and careful politician. Anything he says has to be taken seriously. Though there doesn't look to be much revelatory content in his book it does bring the Brown years to live in even more detail. It also gives the Tories a bit more mud to sling at Ed Balls who has again been heavily implicated in much of the negativity attributed to Brown.

Politically Labour still has work to do to establish economic credibility. That Darling and Brown disagreed with be played out as Balls making the wrong call. Balls is big enough to deal wit the blows he now expects to receive. It is going to be interesting to see how this is played out in the polls and whether voters really care about arguments that bother those in the Westminster bubble.

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