Biographer and chronicler of the Brown years, Anthony Seldon, has a damning letter to Ed Balls in tomorrow’s New Statesman:
“The time has come for you to fall on your sword.
After 20 unbroken years at the heart of politics, quitting in the next few months until, say, 2017 would undoubtedly benefit your leader, your party, your wife and even yourself. Let me explain.
Ed Miliband would be a much stronger leader without you. Forgive me, but you stop Ed breathing fresh air.
With you close to him, his breath will always be stale and smell of a toxic brand. Without a prolonged period out of the public eye, neither you nor the party will ever rid yourselves of the opportunistic, negative and bullying image of the Gordon era.
Without you, Labour could present itself as a clean party, free of the factionalism and brutalism that so tarnished it when Brown was boss and you were his consigliere.
If Labour loses in 2015, you will be blamed and your career will be damaged beyond repair. If it wins, you would return to the front bench in 2017 a redeemed and respected figure. You might even one day become leader, your long-held ambition.”
Worth noting that Balls’ version of his 10p tax debate with Gordon differs markedly from what Seldon claimed in his book. A dangerously respected critic for Balls.