Two related points, worth repeating. The first from Ben Brogan:
"Mr Brown is on surer ground on a narrow point, in that in all likelihood he did not explicitly order his Eighth Circle chums to unleash hell against Mr Darling. Then again, he didn’t need to. His reaction to the Chancellor’s Guardian interview will have had the required Henry II effect. If Dave wanted some sport [in PMQs], surely, he should have asked whether Ed Balls ordered his friends to undermine Mr Darling. He wanted the job after all, and as has long been realised, there was what amounted to a Balls operation within the Brown operation designed to promote his interests as alternative Chancellor and future Labour leader."
And the second from Sue Cameron’s superb Notebook in the FT, which goes heavy on the Downing Street "climate of fear" today:
"Yet while GB has set the tone, the worst of the bullying has often been done by his inner circle, including Ed Balls, now schools secretary – said in Whitehall to have been Mr McBride’s controller – and Charlie Whelan, onetime chief spinner at the Treasury. It was tongue lashings by Mr Balls that so upset former aide Spencer Livermore that he resigned."
The obvious problem for Balls is that his methods in government may well prevent him from rising any further in a post-election leadership contest. There’ll be plenty of people around Westminster who see something happily karmic about that.Tags: Alistair Darling, Damian McBride, Ed Balls, Gordon Brown, Scandal, UK politics