Next week, Dennis Kavanagh and Philip Cowley publish their long awaited book cataloguing the 2010 general election. It's not out for a couple of weeks but I think this passage from the book sums up perfectly the disfunctionality of Brown's regime at Number Ten...
No effective way had been reached of making Brown’s Number 10 function. Brown failed to define clear roles for his staff and was reluctant to delegate. As one of those departing complained, shortly before leaving: ‘Everything is so thoroughly disorganised. Politicians only turn to make the decision at the eleventh hour, and then only when they’re forced to, when there’s minutes to go … You start to feel deskilled working in here, you have to remind yourself that you’ve got good judgement, else it will soon suck all the confidence out of you.’ Or, as another put it: ‘It was distressing to work there. You’d look at it, and weep for the Labour Party.’
Complaints continued from other departments and MPs that Number 10 was not working well – ‘dysfunctional’ was the word used most often – and lacked leadership. One member of Brown’s team admitted, ‘We have a grid but we have no plan.’ ‘On every single issue’, complained one adviser, ‘there is a horrendous period of void, when the thing tumbles into No 10 … It’s like dropping a stone into a well, and waiting to hear how deep it is, and then realising it’s very deep – and anyway, your stone is now sitting on the bottom along with loads of other stones.’ A senior official who had worked in Number 10 under Blair and now advised Brown was aghast at what he found. Complaints about Brown’s personal style also began to circulate widely. Much of this behaviour, those who knew him well claimed, was born out of frustration, with himself, and his failure to achieve what he wanted. ‘There is’, one of Brown’s team claimed, ‘no worse critic of Gordon Brown than Gordon Brown.’ Or, as another of those to work in Number 10 put it: ‘I don’t think he can quite come to terms with the fact that he’s not good enough.’
You can order the British General Election of 2010 (Published on 30 September) in paperback by Palgrave HERE or hardback HERE.