Gordon Brown has written to the targets of the McBride smears expressing 'regret'. What he hasn't done is the decent thing and apologised. The reason he hasn't said sorry is probably because he isn't sorry. Brown's operation has a long history of spin and smears against anyone perceived as an enemy, both inside and outside of the Labour party. Boris Johnson writes in the Telegraph today describing another incident of McBride in action when he spun up a story at the end of the Beijing Olympics in an effort to damage the Mayor's office, and there have been plenty of other incidents going back for years. These from people paid for by the taxpayer, but working directly for Gordon Brown.
To an extent politics has to be partisan. Parties are coalitions of viewpoints bent to a collective view and within that view and effective party has to stick together. That does not mean it is necessary to treat other parties or the individuals within them as evil though, and the ends do not always justify the means even if you are convinced that you are right. Not everyone subscribes to that of course and we have a number of Labour councillors here in Basildon who will happily stand up in a Council meeting and say that because we are Tories anything that we are doing must be wrong with an almost religious fervour. Even the most partisan of politics is a long way away from peddling deliberate and disgusting lies in the hope of destroying people's reputations, which is what McBride and Draper and presumably the others copied into this email chain sought to do. What is different this time is that they have been caught out, and extent of the malice in no.10 has been laid bare. Now we have a couple of ministers breaking cover to try and help out, Alan Johnson looking distinctly uncomfortable and Hazel Blears, who was very dismissive about the whole thing. The person who has been absent is Gordon Brown. Think what Tony Blair would have done had this occurred on his watch. He would have dealt with it himself. He would have looked straight at the camera and apologised. He would have recognised that it was better to take it on the chin for a 24-hour battering in the news rather than let there be any uncertainty about the moral centre of his government. Gordon Brown doesn't do that, however. Whenever the pressure comes on, Brown disappears. He lets his underlings take the flak and he emerges a few days later talking about something else as if whatever it was had never happened.
And he wrote a book about courage.