Should punters take note of his reservations on Brown?
For the most stinging criticism of the way Downing Street sought to bury yesterday’s news about Tony Blair’s police interview you need go no further than Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun this morning.
For the hugely influential political writer for Rupert Murdoch’s best-selling daily paper has no doubts about the spin operation that Number 10 mounted to try to bury the news and he is really gunning for those involved.
This is how he reports it:- “We all guessed weeks ago that this would be the perfect day for Mr Blair to invite the police in – the day the world would be transfixed by the report by ex-Met Police Chief Lord Stevens into the death of Princess Diana.As it turned out, there was even more news about to bury the story.The biggest manhunt in recent history was in full swing for the killer of five Suffolk prostitutes..Post Offices were being closed across Britain..Prisoners were to be given the vote..As it turns out, the cash-for-gongs interview was not as big a tale as it might have been..But instead of being a damp squib, the story has now exploded into a conspiracy to keep the media in the dark..Mr Blair flew to Brussels tonight for an EU summit. Instead of walking past waiting hacks and TV cameras, he avoided the main entance to the building..This leaves a very bad taste.”
For Kavanagh must be the only leading political writer now not to be taking the “Brown is a certainty” line – and when he is out of step everybody should take notice
Earlier in the week he argued strongly that Labour succession is not “a mere formality”, a walkover for Gordon Brown.
“..Mr Brown is not as self-confident as his stern manner suggests. Watson was caught visiting him at home in Scotland 24 hours before issuing his letter calling for Tony Blair to quit…That left a seriously bitter taste among those who are not necessarily anxious to see Blair stay, but worry about Gordon Brown as a political operator…That applies in spades to MPs with small majorities who were scared sockless by the summer poll showing Labour could lose 75 of its 100 most marginal seats to the Tories…Nothing would give Tony Blair greater pleasure than to see John Reid – or almost anyone else for that matter – suddenly storming out of the traps to snatch the party crown from the Chancellorâ€™s fingers.”
It’s been known for a long time that Kavanagh was not always comfortable with the pro-Blair line that his paper has followed for the last decade. Is he now being given the licence to show his true colours? Given his influence and the role of the Sun this could have political significance.
The Gordon Brown price is currently 0.2/1. If it tightens up a bit further it might be worth risking a lay bet.