Brown-Blair feud: An apology
- 10 June 2011
- From the section UK Politics
To all those who said journalists were making up, exaggerating or speculating about the rift at the top of the last Labour government it's long past time for an apology.
Having said that the Telegraph's haul of documents chronicling Gordon Brown's endless machinations do not reveal a new "plot".
They confirm that after Tony Blair declared in 2004 that he would only fight one more election as Labour leader the negotiations over when and how he would go and hand over to Gordon Brown resembled those between warring states suing for peace.
Trust between the two men was so minimal that everything had to be written down and the wording haggled over in series of meetings between the rival camps.
Gordon Brown's frustration springs from the pages of the Balls file - most notably in his characteristic felt tip pen annotations to a Blair note - "shallow…inconsistent…muddled…bad judgment".
There were certainly plots to remove Blair earlier than he wanted to go - the historian Anthony Seldon referred to three in 2006 alone. They certainly did poison the last years of New Labour.
Ed Balls and Ed Miliband were, undoubtedly, Brown's key lieutenants at this time. But, then, we knew that didn't we? Or were you one of those who thought the media were spinning and should take politicians denials at face value?