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Great insidery article by Rachel Sylvester in today’s Telegraph about divisions within Team Brown:

"For years, so much attention was paid to the TB/GBs that nobody noticed the GB/GBs, but now the splits in the Brown camp are starting to emerge. Downing Street civil servants, observing it all from the high ground of political neutrality, say, privately, that the inner circle is in meltdown.  Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander are all desperately trying to avoid being blamed. "They’re fighting like ferrets in a sack," says one senior MP.

One minister even thinks we are already seeing the start of a leadership battle. "This is all about themselves and not about the Labour Party at all, they are thinking Gordon will be gone soon and they’re the heirs, they’re acting like presidential candidates.  "One of the reasons this election stuff got so out of hand was because they all wanted to be able to claim credit for the victory."

There has, clearly, been a generational divide between the "young turks" and the "grey beards" over the timing of the election. More significant, however, is a genuine political disagreement between what you could call the Martians and Venusians in the Brownite solar system.

The first category, led by Mr Balls and backed by more junior figures such as Ian Austin, Mr Brown’s Parliamentary aide, sees politics as a fight to the death in which they must destroy their opponents. They operate through dividing lines and aim to use facts and figures to brilliant effect. It is no coincidence that Mr Balls’s Department for Children, Schools and Families is reviewing the way in which grammar school ballots are run – a clear attempt to exploit Tory divisions on the theme.

The Venusians, who include Mr Alexander and the Miliband brothers, are less macho. They wouldn’t mind killing off the Tories but that is not their primary aim. They have a more emotional approach to politics: they want to enthuse the voters with positive reasons to vote Labour as well. For them it is more important to convey a sense of optimism than to smash their opponents to bits.

The truth is that the tensions in the camp reflect the divisions within Gordon Brown himself.  He is both Big Clunking Fist and Moral Visionary."

After years of ‘Tory splits’ stories it’s good to see focus on Labour’s internal divisions.

William Hill has the betting on next Labour Leader: 1/1 D Miliband, 8/1 H Benn, 8/1 A Johnson, 10/1 E Miliband, 12/1 F Balls, 14/1 Y Cooper, 14/1 H Harman, 14/1 D Alexander, 14/1 A Darling, 16/1 J Smith, 20/1 J Denham, 25/1 D Browne, 33/1 R Kelly, 33/1 J Parnell, 33/1 A Milburn, 50/1 J Straw, 50/1 C Clarke.

There’s also the looming Huhne-Clegg showdown although Guido thinks we shouldn’t be talking about it.  So shush everyone!

23 comments for: ‘Labour’s inner circle is in meltdown’

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