"The Prime Minister cannot bear anyone who challenges him... People want the security of confidence about where we are going. They are fed up with a stop-go, chop-and-change approach, taking up things and then dropping them... Voters don't know where Labour stands.... I have to start a debate about all this because it is only two and a half years until the next General Election, and it is imperative that there is a discussion of Labour's future before it has no future and is obliterated.... At first, I had thought it unlikely he would give me a Government job, but then, when he became Prime Minister, he said that he had nothing personal against me and he asked me to be a special envoy to him in certain roles. I wrote to him about what such a role might entail and got no response. So, after about six weeks, I said 'no'. I told him my natural role was as a minister and not as his envoy.... Someone has to bring the subject up," he says. "We are conveying a sense of drift and uncertainty. Only Gordon can change this - if he is capable of doing so. Unfortunately, he hasn't the confidence of the country because of the things he has done.
He is a man who has to control. In a Prime Minister, this is not a good thing... I remember the picture of a batty Margaret Thatcher walking in St James's Park, picking up litter because she was on her litter crusade. She wanted the image to show that she personally could sort out all the litter in the country. But you can't. Gordon still feels he has to do everything. It's in his personal history.
I have heard that he shouts at people such as typists. He can certainly be very cold. I've seen him do that with Tony... Sadly, as far as I have learned, his relationship with the Treasury has not improved at all. The senior Civil Service, as a whole, is very pessimistic about the way he is running the country. This is something else he must address. The art of politics is about fast reactions. When something comes along, you have to respond very quickly or it runs away from you. You saw it with David Cameron over MPs' expenses when he was out, very fast, dealing with the situation. Gordon must stop being a ditherer. He lacks courage. He looks at his papers, dithers and isn't sure."
There is a very big problem in Gordon's mind. He is always thinking about Tony Blair. It's a strange, tormented thing. He is tormented by the idea of Blair. It's almost a love-hate thing. He wants to be anti-Blair, rather than post-Blair. He wants to revisit things that Blair did, like casinos and cannabis.
It's hard for anyone to change, especially at 56. This is the one million dollar question. The answer is: he has to change.