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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Power Trip by Damian McBride – digested read

I've spent many years writing things for other people: heartfelt conference speeches about my bosses' triumphs. Where did it get me? Out of a job, pissed and a bit broke. So now I am writing under my own name. And if I have chosen as my publisher a well-known Conservative blogger, who will time the serialisation of my book to be as disruptive as possible to the Labour party, let me assure you that I in no way intend to be disloyal to the Labour party.

Looking back, you could say I've always been a bit of a bastard. At Cambridge, I betrayed friends and threatened others with physical violence. But all I can say in my defence is that I have always tried to act in accordance with my Catholic faith, and it's not my fault that being a macho liar and a bully are precisely the qualities that politicians most value.

If you'd told me I'd spend my early working life looking through VAT forms, I'd have said you had the wrong man – but thankfully, I was still able to fit in 10 solid hours in the pub each day. I was soon identified as a steady pair of hands by Gordon Brown and was asked to join his team at the Treasury as an adviser. It was here that I first met the two Eds, who now appear to have absolutely no recollection of ever meeting me.I always found Ed Miliband to be extremely considerate when it was to his own advantage, but Ed Balls was more my kind of man. I once woke up in his bed at a party conference and made a grab for him, thinking he was some bird I'd pulled. Happy days.

I will obviously have to pad out the pages with lots of boring details you will want to skip. But to me, it was so all-absorbing, I didn't realise I had been dumped by my girlfriend until a year later. The hard-ons we got from sitting around government offices talking about how exciting it was to be at the centre of power had to be seen to be believed. Just imagine how important it feels to get a sentence into a budget speech and get driven around by chauffeurs.

Some people have asked what it was I actually did in government. What I did was survive for nearly 10 years, briefing against Gordon's enemies and killing any stories that might be damaging to him. Governing the country was always a secondary consideration; what mattered most was not to let anyone else have a go at doing it. Besides which, it was far easier to leak a few stories to lobby journalists about how we were going to be doing something, rather than actually do anything concrete. Gordon always thought the highlight of my career was me telling the papers he was responsible for Pink Floyd reforming at Live 8.

I should stress that never at any time did Gordon or the two Eds have any idea whatsoever that I was leaking stories to the media or briefing against colleagues. Every time something to our advantage dominated the headlines, they would all three gasp with amazement and say: "Wow! What a brilliant coincidence. Aren't we lucky to have so many coincidences! Are you sure you didn't have anything to do with this?" And I would reply: "I know I've got a reputation for being a bit of a liar, but I promise I'm not lying this time. Believe me, if I'd known the minister was shagging his secretary, I'd have told the Mail ages ago." And they would say: "You're so sweet, Damian."

Eventually, we all managed to force… I mean, Tony resigned. But Gordon's time in office was not as happy as it should have been. Mostly because of Ed's shit of a brother. Sadly, I had to resign after the only two emails I ever wrote plotting to smear rivals were leaked to the Telegraph, but my strong faith and the advance for this book have been a great comfort.

Digested, read digested: Sic transit gloria mundi.

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