Dylan Jones: 'Sarah Brown’s book could actually shine some light on the comings and goings of Downing Street

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The Independent Online

Some people have rather unkindly suggested that one of the chapters in Gordon Brown's forthcoming autobiography echoes a scene from The Shining: chapter 34 allegedly contains only the words, "It started in America," repeated over and over for 30 pages.

That's as maybe, but while Gordon might be determinedly bashing out thousands of words a day, the book that many are looking forward to is Sarah Brown's. Because while Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair have both gone out of their way to try and make history think more kindly of them, and while Gordon's will undoubtedly do the same – and why not? What else are they going to do? – Sarah's book has the capacity to actually shine some light on the comings and goings of Downing Street over the past 13 years, with perhaps less of a political agenda.

It's a little known fact, but the person the Tories were most worried about during the recent election campaign wasn't Gordon, wasn't Clegg, wasn't even Boris. No, the person they were most scared of was Sarah. She had – they thought – the ability to turn the election around, to attract enough positive press to maybe shore up her husband for longer than was convenient. Sarah is universally liked, and in hindsight, some in the Labour Party now admit that they should have tried to involve her in campaigning earlier; indeed, some believe Sarah's profile should have been amplified as soon as her husband took office.

Heigh-ho. With all the squabbling surrounding the veracity and significance of all the New Labour memoirs, there is a sense in the publishing industry that Mrs Brown's book could be the most successful of them all. It will be too late to hurt the Tories, although it could be just in time to positively contextualise the last administration.

Not only that, but the book could be one of the things that helps turn Sarah Brown into a brand. She will obviously attempt to reaffirm her husband's diligence and altruism – as we all would in her position – but she could inadvertently become a national treasure in the process.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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