Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Gordon Brown in tactical blunder". By <strong>Charlie Chelan</strong>

Boring old farts such as myself like to read all the papers, particularly when a big political story breaks. I sometimes wonder why, though, given that so much of it is complete bollocks, particularly in the "unpopular press".

The Indy lost the plot years ago; its editor, chief political columnist and political editor all think Peter Mandelson can do no wrong. This leads to editorials questioning Gordon Brown's sanity after his long-overdue attack on Tony Blair. Meanwhile, at the Guardian, there's a political battle raging, with Blairites still apparently holding the balance of power.

At least the Guardian has some hacks who know a good story when they see one, such as Kevin Maguire's exclusive about Blair blocking Brown's request to go on Labour's NEC. Great stuff, until you read the next day's "analysis". Only Patrick Wintour could put his name to a piece without mentioning the real problem in Brown and Blair's relationship - Mandelson. The Guardian leader was even more embarrassing. "The Prime Minister deserves better support from his Chancellor," it laughingly claimed. Leaders are unsigned and you can see why. Who would want to be associated with this drivel? I'm told that Martin Kettle wrote it, so now you know.

You have to look to the Sun to see the real reason why Blair was forced to back down and agree that Brown could attend NEC meetings even without being a member. The Sun sensibly backed Brown and the PM could hardly afford to upset his last friendly paper. The uncomfortable truth for both the Guardian and the Indy is that the Sun is much more in touch with its readers' views than they are.