The more that comes out about how Tony Blair and Gordon Brown behaved (or perhaps more accurately, how Gordon Brown behaved towards Tony Blair) the more you wonder quite what world they were living in.
Here, courtesy of The Guardian’s Nicholas Watt, is one of the latest revelations of the sort of behaviour that would get most people the sack but didn’t stop Gordon Brown getting the Premiership:
During tense negotiations over Britain’s EU budget rebate in 2005, the former prime minister became so exasperated with the Treasury that he kidnapped its man in Brussels.
Jonathan Powell, Blair’s former chief of staff, relates the hilarious story…
“Given the Treasury’s refusal to share information with us, we had real trouble working out what the financial implications for Britain of the Luxembourg proposal would be. In desperation, we kidnapped the Treasury’s expert at the UK mission in Brussels and took him with us to Luxembourg so that he could explain to us what the offer really meant.
“He was enormously relieved when we finally let him go. He didn’t mind that he was being dumped in Paris, the next stop on our trip, without a passport or any money. He just wanted our assurance that we wouldn’t tell the Treasury that he had been travelling with us: that would blight his career for ever.”
It’s not quite all a matter of ancient history now as Ed Miliband was one of the inner Gordon Brown entourage for years. He has somehow managed to avoid being burdened with that record in the way that Ed Balls has, even though he keeps on cropping up right at the heart of the Brown operation in the memoirs that have appeared since the election.
But it does leave a very big question mark over the judgement of Ed Miliband (and many others) that none of this was enough for them to think that backing Gordon Brown to be Prime Minister was the wrong move.