Andrew Rawnsley on the mask slipping:

Brown's problem is that this episode shows him acting not out of character, but entirely in it. It will be rightly taken as evidence of the less attractive dimensions of his personality. Note that it happens because he stresses over the trivial and becomes infuriated by anything or anybody that disturbs his idea of himself as a man in iron control....

We see also a glimpse of Brown's tendency to instantly assign fault for a setback to someone else.

"You should never have put me with that woman," he complains to his aides. "Whose idea was that?" This too fits a pattern common to many of the temper episodes that I revealed in The End of the Party. When he was accused of plagiarising Al Gore and Bill Clinton, he turned on his advisers. "How could you do this to me?" he raged. When Revenue & Customs lost the notorious data disks, the prime minister instantly saw himself as the victim. He grabbed his startled deputy chief of staff by the lapels and snarled: "They're out to get me!" ...

I found a constant theme among interviewees for the book, whether ministers, civil servants or No 10 officials. Those who work closely with the prime minister often feel too intimidated to be honest with him, too fearful of an ugly reaction to confront him with difficult truths.

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