Blinky Balls is the Problem in the Brown Bunker

Matin Kettle joins the lengthening list of left-of-centre pundits now bemoaning the Brownies, he reveals this morning that bad-tempered Brown’s control freakery is asserting itself, that Miliband despairs of him and that Gordon has even fallen out with Bob Shrum. The article is worth reading in full, this extract get to the heart of the the problem with the Brownies;

One thing on which there is a lot of agreement is that Brown has got to widen the circle soon. Brown promised a different sort of government, but many of his worst and most controlling habits have reasserted themselves since things started going wrong. Cabinet still has some good discussions, but in No 10 the bunker is back. Brown, Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander talk every morning by phone at seven, meet every day at 10 to decide priorities, and are running the whole government. And, judging by the record, running it pretty badly.

The inner circle may have called off the general election but in their heads they are still positioning not governing, and thus letting Cameron off the hook. Relations between the key players at the top are worse than in the summer. Brown’s long hours and short temper – he lost his cool with Bob Shrum, his American adviser, the other day – shape a bad mood inside No 10. Some staff are leaving already. Others are having second thoughts about staying. Good people feel excluded. The animus against Balls in particular is very great. He should concentrate on being a better minister, they say. Michael Heseltine was right, says one veteran. The problem isn’t Brown. It’s Balls.

Balls and the rest of the second-raters in the bunker don’t govern in the national interest, they just position and spin for short-term political gain. Tactics that succeeded in leveraging Blair out are not an effective strategy for actually governing…




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