Has he gone yet? Oh blast, still 24 hours to go. His last words to Cabinet were ‘This is the right moment to go’. Tony, there’s never been a wrong one.
Of course, Brown’s still up his usual tricks. With Labour support falling, Brown doubtless believes he’ll need a Lib-Lab pact if he wants his tenure to be longer than a year or two, so offered a Cabinet job to Liberal Paddy Ashdown. When the Liberals said no, he called Paddy in for a meeting and offered him the job directly.
This mirrors the way Brown has operated at the Treasury – a constant campaign of I-know-best, undermining carefully-laid decisions by commissioning ‘independent spending reviews’ and the like whenever he wanted to cut off a Cabinet colleague’s plans. This underhanded modus operandi will be a lot more obvious when he’s in Number 10.
But I worry: Brown’s an intelligent guy and with this Ashdown thing, he may have realised he can’t behave the same way as PM. If this prompts him to learn the basics of teamwork and collaboration – i.e. he starts actually listening to people – we’re really in trouble, because it boosts his chances of draining the UK’s middle class dry for yet another five-year term. Don’t change, Gordon!