Check out the Steve Bell cartoon based on the “Stalinist Gordon Brown” story (http://www.guardian.co.uk/cartoons/stevebell/0,,2038878,00.html) – it’s funny, I guess, but not nearly as funny as the tale itself: that former Treasury Permanent Secretary Lord Turnbull told some hack on the Finangling Times that Gordon Brown is as ruthless as Stalin was before he died (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/story/0,,2038856,00.html).
Listening to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning, it soon became apparant that Turnbull hadn’t been misquoted but had perhaps been taken out of context. Turnbull thought he was having an “off the record” chat with the FT reporter, and so was maybe giving a bit of “colour” rather than seriously suggesting that the Treasury has a Gulag. At least, I hope that’s the case for poor old Turnbull – I think he might be a little too long in the tooth for the Gulag treatment.
I mean, “Stalinist ruthlessness” – the old Communist had regular purges, liquidating anyone who piqued Stalin’s paranoia even if the victim was a true believer of the Pravda line. Can anyone really imagine Gordon purging Labour with show-trials and defenestrations and bullets through the head? Politics has always been a dirty game, only a fool could argue otherwise. But comparing Brown to Stalin is just daft.
There are just a couple of problems here. One, the FT obviously believes this crap. If anyone Brown dislikes dies in the next ten years, we’ll know exactly what’s gone on. Mess with Gordon, your ass is grass. And two, no one with even the slightest sense will ever again give a Financial Times hack an off the record briefing. You tell the Finanglers anything, no matter how other-wordly, it’ll be on the FT front page the very next day – and you won’t be referred to as an “anonymous source” – they’ll stitch you up, kipper-style.
Gordon Stalin. Jesus Shitfire. And to think I used to call the Sun “the Beano”. The Sun’s brimming over with journalistic integrity compared to the fucking Finanglers. Thank Ronnie Biggs I’m not a real reporter.