Ex-Brown loyalist Jackie Ashley puts the knife in
The daily press get their first chance this morning to mull over the McBride-Draper smear campaign and for me there is one column that stands out – not the least because it comes from someone who was once one of Brown’s most vociferous media cheer-leaders, Jackie Ashley.
In her Monday Guardian column she describes the tactics that over the years that have characterised the Brown style. She writes of “the ideologically serious, morally driven statesman” who “has lived his life with a sinister twin, spinning and dealing.”
Ashley goes on: “..The chancellor, Alistair Darling, wakes up to discover that key aspects of Treasury policy are being second-guessed in No 10 and that his decisions were really Gordon’s. There are the stories, in cold black and white. But whose fingerprints are on them? They are a little too smudged to be sure. Labour’s deputy leader, Harriet Harman, is rubbished as useless in stories which seem to have No 10’s marks on them. But Gordon can smilingly deny any involvement…
A press operation can also be a silent assassination squad. All that makes this aspect of the McBride tale unusual is he has been sacked for spreading malice about Tories; as one senior Labour person put it to me, “I could have fallen off my chair – most of his operations are against us, not them”…
..It’s too late for the prime minister to shrug off McBride with expressions of surprise and horror, as if he’d been walking around with a portly vulture on his shoulder for years without noticing. McBride was as inner circle as it gets. If the prime minister didn’t know what he was up to, he should have done…”
It strikes me that the biggest long-term impact of this Easter Weekend will be on the media. The Brown style has been known about for years but never given exposure like this. Now there’s a solid peg on which this can be reported and discussed.
The trouble is that along the way there’ve been many victims of Brown Central rubbishings. These people don’t forget and it’s my guess that this is how Paul Staines got hold of the toxic emails. Someone who had cause to hate the PM was instrumental in passing it on to Guido.
It’s hard to see the media narrative turning in Brown’s direction again before the general election and a Conservative majority government has just got a little bit more certain.
In the general election betting you can still get 1/5 on the Tories winning most seats. I’ve taken the 2/5 that was available on the Tories getting most seats in a 2010 election on the Betfair date and most seats market.