If Blair thought that Brown was unfit to be prime minister – and there's now lots of evidence that this is precisely what Blair thought – he had an obligation to his party and his country to do something about it. At the very least, he should have, as he could have, ensured that there was a contest for the succession in 2007 rather than allow Brown to be crowned without proper scrutiny. It was one of Blair's most selfish acts and a gross dereliction of duty to swan off to make his millions while leaving his party and country to cope with the consequences of a Brown premiership.The implication from this is that by the time he had finally given in to the forces of hell unleashed by Brown in the form of Balls, Wheelan et al in 2006, Blair simply didn't give a toss about what happened next. A more damning indictment of the man as Prime Minister is simply inconceivable, even one involving his misleading the House of Commons, the country and the world over WMDs in Iraq. It's actually quite difficult accurately to describe a person like that, whose self-interest and vanity is only trumped by his greed and dishonesty. In some ways if one views it in the light of this unforgivable dereliction of duty, as Rawnsley rightly calls it, Blair ends up as an even worse national leader than Brown, difficult though that might be for some (like me) to swallow.
If you do accept Rawnsley's characterisation of Blair, it is, however, perfectly possible to argue that he was worse than Brown as a man and as a leader. The only difference between the two frauds being, therefore, that Blair was a far better con man than Brown ever could be, which meant that Blair was able to trick the country into believing him and then voting for him. By contrast, Brown was just Brown: paranoid, delusional, vicious, incompetent even in disguising his many falsehoods and, ultimately, a total electoral liability and a catastrophe for the nation.
The impact of these realisations on the Labour leadership campaign as I said should be massive. All the candidates are as discredited as each other for failing to make the decision Blair couldn't be ar*ed to make and stopping Brown once it was crystal clear he was utterly hopeless. As Rawnsley says, quite fairly and quite mildly in truth:
Andy Burnham was one of the nodding dogs who would declare to TV cameras that the cabinet had every confidence in Gordon Brown when the reverse was the case. Ed Balls ran the thuggish Brownite machine and the decade-long insurgency against Tony Blair to put his master in Number 10. Ed Miliband makes pious noises denouncing "factionalism" as if he is a saintly figure who never had anything to do with it. "The emissary from Planet Fuck" – as he was known among Blair's aides during the civil war – was at the heart of the Brown faction.It is a bit tricky for David Miliband. He was one of the senior members of the cabinet who knew Brown was taking them to defeat and failed to act before it was too late.So they all should be screwed - and rightly so. For all his hypocrisy, Mandelson doesn't really matter because he's not a leadership candidate. So, assuming (and this is a big assumption) the MSM ends its own version of Labourist dishonesty and begins to treat the rest with the contempt they should have coming to them for their pathetic behaviour in propping up Brown, the only untainted candidate in the Labour leadership race is, hilariously, Diane Abbott!
Either way, and this is essentially Rawnsley's conclusion, Labour is truly, deservedly and royally buggered. And in the end, of course, they themselves are the ones who are to blame for it. After all, Blair only gave us Brown because he'd given up, and that's how history will judge him. But the Milibands, Burnham and Balls (and Mandelson) are the ones who propped the disastrous loser up. That was unforgivable - and the country isn't going to forgive them, ever.
Now, thankfully, their past seems finally to be catching up with them. Soon there'll be nowhere left for them to hide any more and no amount of continued lying will save their collective political bacon. If the PLP is stupid enough to elect one of them, (and it's almost certain that it is that stupid) then they should prepare to be out of power for decades, if not forever. Mind you, exactly the same thing will happen if they choose bonkers Abbott.
Catch 22 for the Labourist wreckers - and music to my ears!