"You know my trouble? I’m just too generous to the government."
"Forgive me being a little slow but I’ve only just properly clocked yesterday’s revelation that 11,000 illegal immigrants had been permitted to become security guards. Why am I telling you about it now then? Because it’s dawned on me just how different these numbers are to what the Home Office claimed they’d be."
"Weeks ago, when this problem was first announced, I listened hard to the Home Office briefings, I tried hard to treat the news calmly and I calculated hard what the figures might be. On the basis of this guidance – I wrote that "based on the outcome of checks made so far the worst case scenario could be over 8,000… Ministers insist that it is impossible to be more precise than they have been so far since they will only have accurate figures once checks are complete in December and say that 5,000 is still the best estimate at the moment".
Perhaps next time I should not listen to the official guidance and think of a number and then double it!"
The author who is now less willing to listen to the official guidance is…
Nick Robinson, the BBC’s Political Editor and probably one of the most important people for a politician to keep sweet. Any politician with any sense, that is.
Mr Brown doesn’t appear to have that basic sense, however. It’s not the first time that he’s poked Mr Robinson in the eye. Remember this?