Anyone who's read a newspaper over the past couple of day has been fed two distinct headlines from the BBC interview with Gordon Brown. The first is, "it weren't me guv!" in relation to the attempted coup. The second is that Brown offered an olive branch to Charles Clarke. Why am I commenting on this? Well having read the transcript in this morning's Times I'm left questioning both claims.
At one point in the interview, Andy Marr says "to be absolutely clear, you didn’t know about the letter, you didn’t know...". Brown intejects and says, "No, as I say, during the course of this week there were so many rumours, letters, meetings, all sorts of things." Now, feel free to correct me if you like, but isn't he admitting in that response that he did indeed known about the letter[s?], and what's more he had meetings about it?
The question is then followed by Marr saying, "A lot of your colleagues believe there was some kind of coup". Gordon quickly responds, "No, I don’t think so. But I think there was a huge amount of speculation". Well that's right, there wasn't a coup, there was an attempted coup. They are two very different things. One is successful, the other isn't. Brown's response is factually accurate, but he doesn't deny the presence of a plot.
When the subject of Charles Clarke comes up the responses get all the more interesting. The part of Brown's response which has been played up in the press is when he said of Clarke, "I’m not going to hold against him statements that he made." It all sounds pretty clear cut until you take a look at the sentence that immediately follows it though. Brown says, "But I’m not going to [hold it against him] because I’m neither the leader of the Labour Party nor the person choosing a Cabinet." Translation? "I will hold it against when I am in charge".