Destroyed by a lack of courage

There is a great article at the Telegraph about a new book by Alistair Darling.

Beware the fury of a patient man. In keeping with John Dryden’s adage, the deferred rage of Alistair Darling has proved a more potent weapon than the invective and office furnishings hurled around Downing Street by Gordon Brown.

Some time ago, I met the former chancellor on a London Tube train and suggested that Tony Blair’s memoir, then newly published, had been unexpectedly acerbic about Mr Brown. Mr Darling remarked, with some feeling, that Mr Blair had not told the half of what went on. He has now obligingly plugged those gaps.

Tell all books filling the gaps left by others are always fun.

Although Mr Darling does not actually use the words “brutal and volcanic”, Mr Brown emerges as a lightly house-trained variant of Vlad the Impaler. In a climate of petulance and paranoia, senior figures apparently conversed, in the manner of Bertie Wooster’s aunts, like mastodons bellowing across primeval swamps.

I must get this book, sounds like a barrel of laughs.

Far from being testosterone-fuelled, Planet Brown was a bed of shrinking violets. The then PM’s timorous dithering, on issues from calling an early election to constitutional reform, found an echo among his supine satellites. The besetting sin affecting the Brown regime was not a shortage of temper but of backbone. That bravery deficit should weigh heavily on Ed Miliband as he prepares for his party conference. He will, if he is sensible, pay little heed to commentators urging him to linger over the smoking entrails of the past. The Blair/Brown hegemony described by Mr Darling as “almost a dictatorship” will not be replicated soon, if ever.

Striking parallels to the Clark years there. And there is a word of warning there for Phil Goff:

Crises do not come much larger than the breakdown of the economy, and of law and order. With the polls edging Mr Cameron’s way, Mr Miliband knows that he will have to show in his TUC and party conference speeches that he has a solution the country, as well as the party, can embrace.

Political history does not favour the noisy tyrant, the misleading caricature with which Mr Brown, for now at least, is stuck. But nor does it bless the quiet man. The unwritten lesson of Mr Darling’s memoirs is that political regimes do not die of hissy fits but perish for want of bravery. If Mr Miliband is to seize his moment, he will need all the courage he can muster.

Labour in New Zealand perished for a lack of bravery and they are still perishing from their lack of bravery in ousting Phil Goff.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.