Gordon the Big Engine

I was fascinated by Lord Turnbull's unguarded remarks about Brown the Stalinist in the Financial Times.  Fascinated that the former head of the civil service should be so naive as to imagine that anything so sensational would stay off the record - assuming he was being naive...  And fascinated by the further insight into what a Brown premiership might be like.


I have had occasion to meet both men through my past working life - always in a junior capacity but I judge people by how they deal with their juniors. Andrew Turnbull was always charming and considerate. Gordon Brown always came over as rather a bully.  I am 6 ft 3 ins tall (I have never mastered my metric height). 

Whenever I have dealt with Tony Blair, we have always looked levelly at one another.  Whenever I have dealt with Gordon Brown, he has always seemed to look down at me, and I guess that's how he comes across to everyone. Certainly he has surrounded himself with would-be bullies at the Treasury.

I remember an astonishing and abusive phone call from one of his acolytes after one of my bosses had dared to criticise what Brown had done in a budget.  I was walking in the Chilterns and the acolyte was pruning his roses in between abusive phone calls - I marvelled at the awesome efficiency of the Downing St switchboard which linked us together. 

But I did not like the assumption that Government was there to shout at anyone who disagreed with them. My working experience has shown me that bullies create atmospheres where there is no proper discussion and debate, people keep their heads below the parapet, and bad decisions are taken.

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