Amid all of the discussion recently about Labour’s plans to reintroduce the 10p tax rate, there was much comment (including on this site) about the obvious snub to Gordon Brown that this represented from two of his closest former advisers – Balls especially. Speaking in Bedford after the announcement, Balls went as far as comparing Brown to Osborne – which is about the most harsh thing the Shadow Chancellor can say about someone.
But it seems that the 10p tax debacle has long been a bugbear.
I’m told by someone who certainly carries no torch for Ed Balls, that whenever he had a difficult negotiation with Gordon Brown in the years after both men had left the Treasury, Balls would just say “Remember 10p”.
The implication was that he warned Gordon against 10p and held it over him afterwards.
Balls was always considered the most loyal of Brown’s lieutenants but last year he said “Nobody is going to look back at any point in history and say that Gordon Brown was a great prime minister” – and I’m told the two men rarely speak anymore.
Something caused a distance to open up between the two men – was it just the General Election and the fallout from it?
Or was it, perhaps, 10p?