It is worth reading the account pieced together from witnesses to the mid-Atlantic back-of-the-plane confrontation between Brown and his press tormentors. The Mail on Sunday gives a pretty full account of Brown’s aggressive refusal to give the Lobby even an off the record acceptance that he is in any way culpable in the tiniest way for the particularly dire economic situation Britain faces.
ITN’s political editor Tom Bradby says that after an interview ‘Off camera, the mike was ripped off and we exchanged a few tart remarks… He has a bad temper.’ So it was mid-air with the off-the-record, no notebooks, no tapes, Lobby briefing turned rant:
Pressed to admit he had made mistakes, he said: ‘No, it was supply. If inflation is low, people are going to borrow money to buy houses. You can’t stop that. You don’t understand it.’
At one point the man from the Labour-supporting Guardian threw him a lifeline saying: ‘Can I just make it clear we aren’t all saying that?’
When another journalist tried to defuse the situation, Mr Brown refused to be diverted. ‘No, let’s sort this out now, let’s have it out now,’ he said, jabbing his finger.
Not exactly the bonhomie of the Blair Force One days on the return flight. The Mail’s report does not identify the cringe-makingly obsequious Guardian hack doing the journalistic equivalent of bringing teacher an apple.