Simon Carr:

Simon Carr: Two slick operators, and no hint of wrongdoing

Sketch: Brown told us how he had set about cleaning up the moral squalor he'd inherited

Share
Related Topics

A tale of two chancellors, old and new, something borrowed, something blue. Both were up before Leveson one after the other to explain their crimes and many misdemeanours.

You may be relieved to know that neither Gordon Brown nor George Osborne have ever done anything wrong, anywhere or at any time. For Gordon it was "my religious upbringing". What is it for Osborne? His sympathy for "ordinary families, if I can call them that"? Probably.

Neither of these consummately political operators had ever paid any particular attention to News International. The Sun doesn't win elections, you see. What about Downing Street's acquisition of Andy Coulson? Counsel Jay asked the Mrs Merton question, but Coulson's wealth of News International connections were "not relevant". No, they'd probably have been a drawback.

And the appointment of Jeremy Hunt at the height of that unfortunate minister's Murdochmania? The Chancellor's solution to this was elegant and probably impregnable. Vince Cable in charge of the BSkyB bid had "declared war" on Murdoch. Should he be sacked, resigned or moved to another department – any of which would threaten the Coalition?

Osborne revealed it was the Cabinet Secretary (civil servant – impartial, non-political, a saint) who suggested the solution: moving this "politically inconvenient" bid to its logical home in the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

George Osborne has his critics (350 million of them) but even they had a moment's grave silence while this sank in. He smiled in a pointy way and rocked his head from side to side around the smile. But when alone and sunk in thought, his face settled into a fierce glare.

As for Gordon? He had never been influenced by Murdoch. The phone call in which he'd threatened to "destroy" the man – he said on oath it "never took place". Murdoch said on oath it did. They can't both be lying.

Brown continued by telling us how he had set about cleaning up the moral squalor he'd inherited. He'd no idea what his aides Charlie Whelan and Damian McBride were up to. A plot to undermine the Prime Minister, Tony Blair? If he'd heard of any such thing he would have told the plotters "to desist".

So why did his wife continue in her complex embrace of Rebekah Brooks, who had just put the couple on the front of her newspaper with their sick son?

Gordon produced his admiring, indulgent chuckle (a lot of work in that): "Sarah is the most forgiving woman I know." But he also said: "I'd rather be an honest one-term prime minister than a dishonest two-term one." And that was beyond commentary.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, Britain’s largest Immigration Removal Centre  

Thanks to Channel 4 we now see just how appallingly Yarl’s Wood detention centre shames Britain

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
 

If I were Prime Minister: I’d ensure ministers took mental health in the armed forces as seriously as they take physical wounds

James Jones
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?