Andrew Grice: The Tories cannot promote Brown and attack his legacy

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David Cameron's attempt to stop Gordon Brown running the IMF is another stage of the Coalition's so-far successful campaign to persuade voters that Britain's record peacetime deficit was caused by Labour, rather than a global crisis.

It would be difficult for Mr Cameron to rehabilitate Mr Brown while continuing to blame him and his party for the mess we are in. Mr Cameron and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne also have their minds on the general election due in 2015. The Conservatives might well offer a choice between better times ahead with the party which cleaned up the mess and a risky return to the party which created it, under two "sons of Brown" – his former aides, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls.

Although Britain does not share the American tradition of presidents working with past presidents, it was a surprise for Mr Cameron to air his opposition to Mr Brown so publicly.

When John Major blocked Neil Kinnock from becoming a European Commissioner, he didn't rub his nose in it. Lord Kinnock had the last laugh and made it to Brussels eventually in 1995. It seems, however, that Mr Brown will find it harder to win the post he desires.