Would Brown be better off with new Balls?

Would Brown be better off with new Balls?

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    Is his former special advisor out of control?

After all the controversy over the role of schools secretary, Ed Balls in hyping up the early election date speculation there’s an intriguing account of some of the goings on between Number 10 and Number 11 during the final year of Tony Blair.

It comes in a serialisation of a new biography of Blair by Dr Anthony Seldon the first part of which is published in the Sir Paul Dacre’s “Mail on Sunday” today. Dacre, of course is a close friend of Brown’s.

One extract is very revealing about Balls. “..it gives a revealing insight into the tensions in Mr Brown’s inner circle with a series of venomous disclosures about one of the Prime Minister’s closest allies, Schools Secretary Ed Balls..The book claims that Mr Blair protested: “I feel like an abused and bullied wife,” after Mr Balls was “astonishingly rude” to him during talks between the camps last year over when he should leave No 10..According to Dr Seldon, out-spoken Mr Balls also turned his fury on Mr Brown when he refused to step up the pressure on Mr Blair to resign..The book claims that when Mr Brown returned to his office after failing to trigger a full scale revolt against Mr Blair in a radio interview, Mr Balls reportedly told him: “You bottled it.”

Taking the early election speculation a few weeks ago and these extracts you get a sense that one of Brown’s key henchmen might be out of control. To turn on Brown and accuse him of “bottling it” says an awful lot about the two men’s relationship. It’s almost as though Balls was in charge.

Is it any wonder that he felt empowered to act in the way he did during September? For it was the Balls briefings that kept the early election story on the boil.

Since all that went pear-shaped Balls has been singled out by many as a main culprit. Will it stop him in the future? I doubt it even though the consequences for his boss have been quite serious.

Balls is so aggressive that you feel that he could land Gordon in it again at any time.

Mike Smithson

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