Rawnsley’s new revelations in The End of the Party, like Peter Watt’s in Inside Out, come as no great surprise. Guido has been pretty remorseless over the years in his characterisation of Gordon Brown as the “Prime Mentalist”. As we come closer to the dénouement of this government more and more will come out confirming the truth of this characterisation. The increasingly manifest weirdness of the man means that his acolytes are now reduced to excusing him as a “poor communicator”. Poor communication skills do not explain the widely reported acts of violent rage, poor communication skills do not explain the bizarre behaviour, the appalling mistreatment of junior staff or the violent Nokia chucking abuse towards aides.
The demented dithering of Downing Street’s dysfunctional operation is now well known throughout Westminster and openly recognised in Whitehall. The decision making processes that determine the strategic direction of the country have almost broken down. This stems in large part from the personality of Gordon Brown.
When Brown has gone after the election it seems inevitable that we will eventually have a Khrushchev moment, where a senior Labour figure articulates what everyone knows. It will be devastating. Gordon Brown is a malevolent, deeply damaged and unpleasant human being. He is at the centre of a culture of political bullying that has been unhealthy for the Labour Party and the government. The loyalist cabal around him are unpleasant people who have no place in a healthy political culture, they are as secretive and malicious as they are vindictive and vicious.
Damian McBride was his anonymous assassin, destroying the careers of Brown’s enemies. Nick Brown, Gordon’s tough enforcer is now the party’s chief whip. The charmless Ed Balls plotting on his master’s behalf owes his position entirely to his loyalty to Brown. Charlie Whelan is another Brown bully with a bit more charm and humour. Nick Cohen recalls Charlie Whelan lambasting Martin Bright’s wife, telling the mother of his children that the then political editor of the Staggers should be sacked for disloyalty to Brown. Whelan is now suing the editor of the Speccie for calling him a bully, probably because he couldn’t bully anyone into sacking him. Those around Brown are unpleasant people of necessity, because leaders like him who can’t inspire only hold on to power through fear.
Many people in the Labour Party who know all this stay silent, they despair or they have given up. It would have been better for them all to have had a coup before the election rather than a Khrushchev moment after. Look at the evasiveness and the body language of the people who deny the truth of the allegations about the Prime Mentalist. Truth will out in the end.