Talk about a house divided. In Tony Blair's new memoir, the former British Prime Minister disparages his former chancellor and successor Gordon Brown, painting him as manipulative and emotionally inert. Blair accuses Brown of undermining him during his Cash for Honours scandal and calls him "maddening." Additionally, in an interview broadcast Wednesday, Blair said his relationship with Brown was "hard going on impossible."
"The difficulty is when he was my number two, in sense, the chancellor to my prime minister, people maybe overestimated his capacity to be prime minister," Blair said.
Blair also blamed the Labour Party's demise on Brown. "In my view what we needed to do in 2007 was we needed to renew New Labour with vigour, take it to the next stage, being the party that reforms welfare and public services, carried on deepening those reforms. I think we somewhat backed away on them."
Assessing Brown's attributes, Blair wrote, "Political calculation, yes. Political feelings, no. Analytical intelligence, absolutely. Emotional intelligence, zero."
Reacting to Blair's criticisms of Brown and the Labour Party in general, The Guardian's Polly Toynbee questions his liberal credentials:
Was Tony Blair always really a closet conservative, or did he convert late in life? That's the puzzle of A Journey. His final chapter, a postscript written after this year's general election, reads like a floor-crossing declaration of support for the coalition's economic policies. He utters no word of alarm at the coming cuts that will sweep away most of what he has achieved. In a vote of affirmation for the new government, he says his party deserved to lose for moving too far from his New Labour template: the people got exactly what they wanted in the Cameron/Clegg blend.
Ed Howker at Britain's Spectator marvels at Blair's political views. "By far the most interesting aspect of the book is Blair's barely disguised hatred of the Labour left and, most of all, the left-wing intellectuals... Tony Blair, it is reasonable to conclude, does not like the Labour Party one bit."