Leaked documents provide proof of involvement of ED Balls and Ed Miliband in plan to prepare Gordon Brown for premiership and over run Tony Blair out
of the office..
Project Volvo – the codename for the Labour coup to replace Tony Blair with Gordon Brown, as leaked to the Daily Telegraph – confirms the worst
suspicions the nation had about the last Labour prime minister.
It may be long after the events have faded from the memory, but embarrassingly for Ed Miliband, he and the coup's other ring leaders, Ed Balls and
Douglas Alexander, are the ones looking for high office at the next general election.
It is little wonder that they are running for cover, dismissing the documents as history. They reveal what insiders like the Mole knew all along -
that they were more interested in grabbing power from Blair than how to use that power if they won it.
The plot began on July 19, 2005, less than a fortnight after the terror attacks on London. Balls had only become an MP at the election in May.
A memo that day sets out the leadership campaign group consisting of six people close to Gordon Brown - Balls, Miliband [Ed], Alexander, Sue Nye,
Spencer Livermore and Ian Austin. They formed a "small group" which was given tasks by Brown.
Sarah Brown, Gordon's wife, was also asked to persuade senior women in Labour to back her husband.
The group was to develop a 'GB transition storyline' - a narrative to describe to gullible voters why Gordon Brown was to be the heir to Blair. Sue
Nye was tasked with bringing in 'New MPs/blood/women' to support his leadership campaign. Others needing a 'role' included Neil Kinnock and
Alistair Darling, both cheerleaders for Brown when he took over from Blair unopposed.
The Project Volvo name came from focus group meetings organised by Deborah Mattinson, Brown's pollster.
In February 2006, she sent a memo to Brown headed Project Volvo. It said voters saw David Cameron as a "Sports car, BMW," but they saw Brown as a
"Volvo, British Rover".
Mattinson said the "line on DC [David Cameron]" should be to attack his "posh background". However, this line of attack was "for others, not
That memo was to have a lasting effect on Brown's coterie of supporters. Ed Miliband will be accused of continuing to use its findings - especially
that Cameron is seen as 'posh' - to attack the Prime Minister at Westminster on his personal image rather than his policies.
But the most revealing memo is from Blair to Brown setting out Blair's proposals for a smooth transition. On it, at the top of the first page, Brown
scrawled (above) in the heavy felt tip pen he habitually used because his eyesight was so bad "SHALLOW, INCONSISTENT, MUDDLED..."
The letter from Blair says: "You (understandably) want me to go now.
"You need to be the candidate of continuity and change. The second will be
"The first, however, rests on a smooth transition. Critical to that is not merely the absence of disunity in the handover; it is also the visible,
clear demonstration that the person who most embodies NL [New Labour], ie me, is working hand-in-hand with the successor."
Blair suggests a five-point deal that includes Brown leading on party reform, democratic renewal and work to tackle Islamic extremism. The pair would
work together and Blair would then announce he would leave in summer 2007.
Blair concludes that "in return" he would need "full help and co-operation" in getting through his own reform agenda: NHS, schools, respect,
welfare and energy.
He ends with a warning: "Whilst I remain PM, the final decision has to be mine; and that cannot provoke a breakdown. I will try, at all costs, to
avoid disagreement, but there can't be stalemate if it happens."
In a draft of a deal document, which he prepared for Blair to sign, Brown wrote: "I propose the following: Across a wide range of areas you [Brown]
are put in charge of future working groups beyond economic policy so that Labour with you leading is seen as party able to meet big challenges of
"You [Brown] will however set out with my full support and that of my team, the agenda for beyond 2007 and for the next parliament."
Blair rejected Brown's draft. Brown hit back by letting loose his main attack dog Ed Balls on Blair, ordering Balls to take a "brutal" approach to
cleanse the Labour Party of Blair's influence.
In launching an internal war on Blair to get him out, Brown made it clear in other memos that he regarded Blair as a lightweight whose obsession with
spin destroyed trust in politics. He used the perception of "lies" over the Iraq War ruthlessly to lever Blair out of Number Ten.
The 30 memos and secret papers from the Brown camp leaked to the Daily Telegraph are now the subject of a leaks inquiry in Whitehall. It appears that
the box of documents was held back by a civil servant following Labour's exit from office last year and passed to the media.
Whoever did it should be knighted. He has done us all a big favour. For it reveals what a bunch of power-mad zealots were grouped around Brown, some
of whom remain in the power game today
Some links below.