Friday, 16 July 2010

No 10's Secret Room

Gladstone's Red Box
courtesy of the National Archives

Fellow blogger Old Rightie has periodically mentioned Gordon Brown's 'bunker' in No 10. Little did he realise his musings weren't far off the mark.

Iain Martin has uncovered another little historical detail that reveals quite a lot about the way in which No 10 was run under Gordon Brown.

To summarise: It has been tradition for ministerial papers to be placed in 'red boxes' by officials at the end of their working day. The red boxes are then delivered to the relevant minister for them to work through them during the evening until they are empty.

But this wasn't good enough for Gordon Brown. He had a special signing room set aside and officials would lay out on a large table the papers that various ministers, officials and departments wanted dealt with. Brown would then scan the selection, review those which caught his attention and sign them with his black marker pen. Other papers would just be left.

There is more detail on Iain Martin's blog. The fact that Sarah Brown requested a string of experts be brought in when she realised her husband was struggling speaks volumes.

More verification that Gordon Brown thought himself to be superior to all his predecessors. Is it any wonder we're in the mess we are if the then Prime Minister was picking and choosing issues instead of making decisions on everything laid before him.

Thankfully David Cameron has returned to the tried an tested tradition of receiving his red box each evening. A small change in government procedure from Labour's days, but a welcome one.


Jim Baxter said...

He does have eyesight problems, of course...

No, I don't think so either.

Re the question on a previous post about who is really Scottish: consider it from a narrower perspective. Who is really a Glaswegian? Being a Glaswegian is like being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. You are if you say you are.

Go to any primary classroom in the world, including in Glasgow, and ask the kids what they want to do when they grow up. Not one will say, 'I want to be a Glaswegian'. It's the same with being a Scot. Just believe them, therefore. And, yes, I'm remembering Rod Stewart.

Demetrius said...

And all the time I just thought they played musical chairs to make their decisions. Perhaps it was too difficult for them. Re music, enjoy No. 8 tonight.

Oldrightie said...

A replica of the bunker has been built in his Kircaldy cellar, Subrosa! It's presently full of around 500,000 copies of Pede Mandy's book!

Joe Public said...

So, Gordo's many cock-ups were actually only a proportion of the cock-ups he could have done?

subrosa said...

Ah Jim, profound as usual. My post was light-hearted because I didn't want to upset any rules laid down by those who own the Scottish Roundup site.

Is being a Glaswegian an occupation these days Jim or is it a hobby? I'm intrigued.

subrosa said...

Thank you Demetrius, I certainly will.

subrosa said...

Ah, so he's the salesman-in-chief. Must be money in it OR. :)

subrosa said...

There's the other way of looking at it Joe. The fact he neglected many issues he should have ensured he knew about.

Remember the Iraq inquiry? I'm not sure, he said so often. Nae wunner.

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