Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
5 September 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:14am

Blair v Brown, chapter 94

General Sir Richard Dannatt says Tony Blair lacked the “courage” to deal with Gordon Brown.

By Jonathan Derbyshire

Hot on the heels of Tony Blair’s memoirs come those of General Sir Richard Dannatt, serialised today in the Sunday Telegraph. And the way the paper presents it, his story’s principal interest is as a footnote to the Blair-Brown psychodrama.

Dannatt accuses Gordon Brown, as chancellor of the Exchequer, of hobbling the Strategic Defence Review and thereby placing the expeditions to Afghanistan and Iraq “under impossible operational pressures”. As for Blair, Dannatt indicts him for cowardice and not standing up to his chancellor:

[Mr Blair] lacked the moral courage to impose his will on his own chancellor . . . To me it seems extraordinary that the prime minister, the number-one guy, cannot crack the whip sufficiently to his very close friend apparently, his next-door neighbour, the chancellor.

When it comes to “moral courage”, Dannatt, who advised the Conservatives on defence matters before the general election, thinks Blair compares unfavourably with Margaret Thatcher:

Select and enter your email address Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A quick and essential guide to domestic politics from the New Statesman's Westminster team. A weekly newsletter helping you understand the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email. Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

In the war cabinet that Margaret Thatcher put together in 1982 [during the Falklands conflict] there was no one from the Treasury. It’s tough to criticise lack of moral courage, but moral courage is what you need. Physical courage is a wonderful thing, but moral courage is actually doing the right thing at the right time.

Content from our partners
The UK needs SMEs to reach net zero
To truly tackle regional disparities, we need a new type of devolution
How smart meters helped a business thrive