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

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

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions