How much does this add to the problems of Darling and Brown?
In terms of public interest the main story in the Times this morning will probably have less immediate impact on public opinion than last night’s news of the rejection by the commons of the proposals to deal with MPs’s expenses.
But if the paper, which appears to have this as an exclusive, has this right then it will, surely, be another hammer blow to what used to be Brown’s main USP – his record of economic management.
According to the paper: “..Mr Darling is fighting a bruising battle with the National Audit Office (NAO), which is unhappy at the way that the nationalisation of Northern Rock is being treated in the Treasuryâ€™s books. The annual report from No 11 was published yesterday but, in a highly unusual departure from normal procedure, without the departmentâ€™s resource accounts..A Treasury spokesman confirmed the delay but denied that the spending watchdog had threatened to qualify its accounts. The books must be published before the parliamentary recess in three weeksâ€™ time…”
Most people probably cannot fathom the detail of this but the simple phrase splashed all over the front page of the paper “Watchdog rejects Treasury accounts” has the potential to be very damaging – particularly as it harks back to the Northern Rock crisis.
It also gives a taste of what we could expect if Brown went before the election. A new leader would have to find a rallying call for the movement and dumping on the outgoing office-holder might be an answer. This is after all how most of life operates – predecessors always seem to get the blame.
Maybe this is a reason why Gord will carry on?