People have begun to speculate on what will happen to Gordon Brown when he finally becomes a bog standard MP again. No longer will the powerful machine that is Number Ten be able to shield him from civilians. Brown will have to be in the real world with real people and he may well be confused and disoriented when they do not clap and cheer wildly as he passes. Brown currently has dozens of people to do his bidding. This includes making sure that the interface between Brown and the real world is under very strict control. This is the first element of what is now known as spin. I shall never forget, on election night, in 1997, Mandelson being seen on TV, consulting his pager (no doubt being paged to tell him he was on TV). The media was locked down from that day onward, with journalists being carrotted and sticked to make sure the flow of information garbage was consistent with the line.
Occasionally there were cock-ups. Once in a while an email got out that exposed what was really going on and that pulled the rug from under the smooth operators that ministers liked to be seen as. One such occasion was Jo Moor's infamous "Good day to bury bad news" email on 9/11. Moore of course, worked for Stephen Byers. Byers quickly moved to distance himself from the comment and Moore took the bullet.
Not so now. The hapless Byers is so, in reality, credulous and stupid, that he cannot apparently spot a sting operation that would not bear the light of day if even a tiny bit of investigation had been done. In the old days, Byers would never have been exposed to the raw reality of the real world - his minders would have been paid to make sure that all encounters with the media were legit and friendly. Even the BBC's Question Time producer makes sure that those they answer to are given an easy ride.
Several Labour MPs have been caught, touting themselves like prozzies, claiming a hotline a to God and Tony Blair, in order to cash in on their dubious "status" and inside contacts. At the least, this is tawdry, at worst fraudulent.
What you now see is politicians in the raw, stripped of their minders, gullible and venal. The Sheik of Araby - without his pants on.