The Telegraph has an absolutely astonishing attack on Gordon Brown tomorrow by Charles Clarke. Sorry guys, but I'm breaking your embargo... Here are the direct quotes from Alice Thomson's interview...
Charles Clarke could be forgiven for feeling a sense of satisfaction about Tony Blair's week from hell. It is only four months since he was sacked as Home Secretary - just hours after the Prime Minister had promised him his full support. "I was furious," he tells says
"I'm not working in league with Tony Blair or Number 10. I'm trying to give a reasonable, dispassionate view of what I think the issues are... The picture gave an impression of satisfaction with what he had done. I think that was unfortunate... It's not relevant whether Gordon organised it. Gordon ought - as Chancellor and as putative prime minister - to have condemned it from the outset. Why didn't he? That's a very good question. It damages him immensely.
There's a deep weakness at the core of this, which is that Gordon somehow believes that Tony might try and do him down - when the only person who can do Gordon down is Gordon. Can a leopard change his spots?... There's a massive wish and a prayer going on. For Christ's sake, let him show what his quality is. If he doesn't, that becomes a very difficult situation... Unfortunately, after the last 48 hours, people are saying: - Jesus, why did he have to behave like that? I talked to three or four former Cabinet colleagues yesterday, and anger doesn't express it.
They are people who are delighted to have been in a Blair Government; they don't want to cause a lot of crap; they believe they can do something in a Brown Government. But they were steaming at how he behaved this week. He doesn't need that - so why does he do it?... [Many Cabinet members are] very cross with Gordon. Very, very cross. They know Blair is going, they would like clarity about when that is going to happen, but they don't like the Brown agitation and coup-type stuff. They are very dissatisfied. I don't think there is a great enthusiasm for Brown.
He has to win the support of the party. He - not anyone else - has to win the active support of people like me and his Cabinet colleagues. I don't think that is an impossible task, but he will have to try extremely hard to do it. It is not all about patronage, but it is the way you conduct Government. ... It's a controlling thing - he thinks he has to control everything. He is totally, totally uncollegiate. Can he change? That's the question. Can he delegate? I am told by people in his Treasury team that he has delegated and can delegate. I have not seen it myself. From my own experience of dealing with student finance and ID cards, it was very, very difficult to work with him - very difficult indeed.
It was the control-freak thing. His massive weakness is that he can't work with people. Gordon and the Arctic Monkeys, and Gordon watching England playing in the World Cup with the Mail and all the rest - that is a mistake. You have got to be true to yourself - what people are looking for is some sense of authenticity. Because there is so much television and you are on show 24 hours a day, if you purport to be what you are not, you will soon get discovered...It is Tony's great genius to come across to people in different ways. Gordon has to start having confidence in the kind of man he is. What's so stupid is that he should have confidence: the values he represents as the son of the manse are values that people would respect.
They are not hostile necessarily even to a rather puritanical, rather rigid and severe person. Gordon's not touchy-feely - that doesn't matter. But it does matter if he's pretending to be something he is not. People don't want someone with an image of slipperiness...We just don't know what he thinks on a whole range of issues. What would his foreign policy look like? Will he pull troops out of Iraq? He wants to produce rabbits out of a hat after he becomes leader. I think he's got to produce his rabbits now.
He's got to explain what his vision is...Gordon is a very self-confident, intelligent, cultured politician - why should he have anything to fear from a discussion? Perhaps there is a psychological point... People who purport to lead the country have to be able to deal with these things...He is a perfectionist, but that's a real danger in politics because, at the end of the day, perfection isn't there. He's going to have a far bigger portfolio. He can't micromanage everything any more... He's not a risk-taker, and that matters - you've got to be a risk taker in politics. As a prime minister, there are many things about which you can't be certain.
The easiest thing can be not to act, but what is not understood is that not to act brings costs as well. You can't be cowed and worried. You can't have endless reviews. You have to act. The courage question is a big thing for Gordon...The reason I always supported Tony as a leader rather than Gordon was that only Tony had a vision about where to go. Plus he was ready to use determination and skills to bypass the processes stopping you from getting there... We assume Gordon won't bottle it now, but maybe all this is about making sure there is no contest so he can't bottle it...Gordon had the view that he somehow ought to have been leader and, through his bigness of spirit, he gave it up. That is completely false. Gordon would have been humiliated in the election in 1994. But that has coloured their relationship for years.
It is a complete delusion in Gordon's mind that if he had only run, he could have won...In his mind, he's the heir presumptive. Other people accept it mainly because of his record as Chancellor, but he doesn't have rights in this - he has to earn them. If you're a putative leader, you don't need an endorsement from the existing leader. You should make your own case. The conference will be much harder for Gordon than for Tony because he will have to explain what kind of leader he will be," Mr Clarke says. If he carries on with that grin and a sense of having been involved in an attempt to destabalise and depose Tony, then people will be very cross - even if he tries to deny everything...He could yet be the right person to stand against David Cameron, but whether he will be is up to him.
I think we can win the next election. But Gordon will have to change. He will have to allow the positive sides of his personality to come out... I think it is likely that Gordon will be the next leader, but not inevitable. I reckon now it's about 80 per cent - but it will go up or down depending on how Gordon conducts himself. It's his to lose. It could be Reid, Johnson, Miliband - we just don't know...I think it is unlikely I will go for the leadership, but I still have a career in politics."