An interesting non-story in tomorrows Sunday Times claiming that Ed Balls has been running the No. 10 smear campaign for his own political gain.
I was a little stunned when I read the articles opening salvo -
"ED BALLS, the schools secretary, used Damian McBride, the disgraced spin doctor, to smear ministerial rivals and advance his own ambitions, a Downing Street whistleblower has claimed."
It goes on to make a number of claims based around Balls' leadership ambitions and his tactics of attacking cabinet rivals, stating he:
— Engineered McBride’s move from civil servant to special adviser
— Repeatedly protected McBride when colleagues called for him to be sacked
— Was in constant contact with McBride, sending him up to 20 e-mails a day
— Instructed McBride to brief against cabinet rivals
— Exploits a weekly “strategy” meeting, which he chairs at Downing Street, to shore up his power base.
The really interesting part comes much further in to the piece:
"There is no suggestion that Balls was aware of McBride’s plans to spread scurrilous rumours about David Cameron, the Tory leader, and George Osborne, the shadow chancellor. But Labour figures smeared by McBride believe the education secretary was behind their treatment."So the Sunday Times is explicit about the fact that Ed Balls has no links to the McBride/Draper smeargate scandals. What it is reporting on is that he is briefing against cabinet colleagues. Now I'm not a total cynic, but what else is new? Cabinet colleagues have briefed against one another for the advancement of their personal or political agenda since the dawn of politics.
Of course it is dissapointing that there are high level internal divisions within the Labour government, but this is simply an obvious attempt to link Ed Balls to an ongoing scandal by mere association.