When I read in the papers on the way back from Portugal and Euro 2004 about a new book by Derek "who" Scott, my immediate thought was that it would be about as accurate as a David Beckham penalty.
Most people didn't even know that Tony Blair had an economic adviser, and for good reason: the Prime Minister wisely leaves all such matters to his Chancellor. I can honestly say that, in all my time at No 11 Downing Street, I never even saw Derek Scott. What he knows about their relationship could be written on the back of one of Philip Gould's memos, yet Scott will apparently devote a whole book to it.
Gordon Brown is rightly furious that one of Blair's aides has decided to cash in with a book. Still, what do you expect when you employ someone who once belonged to the Social Democratic Party? It was thanks in part to my friend and fellow NS columnist Paul Routledge that the good people of Castleford didn't end up with him as their MP. Paul made sure that Scott was asked during the selection meeting if he'd ever stood for parliament: he had, as SDP candidate for Swindon.
Scott's prospects for winning the nomination evaporated. Not that he had much chance; he was up against Yvette Cooper, who romped home.
It is really quite pathetic to see Sir Andrew Turnbull, head of the civil service, again coming to Blair's aid by threatening to block the book. Why on earth didn't the PM stop Scott from writing it in the first place? It once again shows just how desperately the people around Blair want to undermine Brown. It won't work. The Chancellor will almost certainly become Prime Minister - sooner rather than later, most Labour MPs hope.