It seems that the machine Brown built up around him whilst at the Treasury was what helped him to bludgeon his way to the top unopposed. Anyone who stood out as a potential rival was simply bumped off in the middle of the night by a briefing with the press. Instead of inspiring respect and admiration, he propagated fear and in some cases loathing.
The same machine followed him into Downing St, becoming a loyal Prime Ministerial Praetorian Guard or a Brownite secret political police with files and information on everyone, free to fill those same files with any innuendo, misrepresentation and unfounded rumour they could get their hands on. And when the time was right, the contents of those files, whether true or false, could be released to destroy opponents.
Brown didn't have to know about what was happening. He didn't need to. All he needed was a system that got rid of turbulent opponents. And whilst the medieval practice of hacking difficult archbishops to death may not find favour now, the hacking to death of others' political careers is what the Brown machine excels at.
There is a certain degree of rough and tumble in politics. What someone says and does in public office is fair game. The Brown cabal not only over stepped the mark however, they pole vaulted across it. Brown may try to blame out of control individuals - and I have seen the damage out of control individuals in the Labour party can do locally to their own party - but he created the machine and he must carry responsibility for it.
Derek Draper - always a Labour ticking timebomb waiting to go off - and Damien McBribe may well have been cast out into the wilderness by Labour but there is nothing to suggest the machine itself has been dismantled. Brown's inner sanctum may well be an old machine that pumps out lots of poisonous emissions, but he does not look set yet to introduce a scrappage scheme for it.
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