OPINION: The truth will out and Brown will be vindicated

For the first time in ten years there was no Alastair Campbell at the Labour conference, and no one except Tony Blair missed him.

No Campbell has not meant no spin, however. As is normal, the Sunday papers were briefed in Bournemouth prior to the leader's big Breakfast With Frost interview and, for the second time in as many weeks, the briefing did not match the words.

At the TUC conference, poor old David Hill gave the words the Prime Minister told him he would use at his private meeting with the Brothers. Blair said something completely different, of course, leaving his new spin doctor looking pretty silly. This week, Hill again came armed with Blair's instructions about how he would be contrite and listen more, only to see his new boss do the complete opposite to what he'd promised. By the time we came to the eve of Blair's conference speech, something amazing happened. There was no briefing at all.

Normally there is a concerted effort by the Blairites to knock reports of Gordon Brown's speech off the front pages. This year they realised this would be futile. How could they compete with the Chancellor's direct attack on the Prime Minister? Even I was shocked with Brown's payoff line: 'This Labour Party: best when we are boldest, best when we are Labour.'

Last year, remember, Blair used the 'boldest' line; this year, Brown added the word Labour to the mix without even mentioning 'New'. That was one speech that certainly needed no spinning.

The delegates in the hall enjoyed Brown's rant as much as they did the Channel 4 drama The Deal, based around the infamous Blair-Brown Granita showdown. Apart from the fact that Dexter Fletcher, the actor who played me, isn't as handsome as I am, the makers made a fair bash at showing us the true relationship between Britain's two most powerful politicians.

The only thing they got wrong was the nature of the deal. Sure, Blair probably told Brown he wouldn't 'do a Thatcher' and hang around for more than five or six years, but the proper deal was that Blair would never stand for leader against Brown.

No one in their right mind would take seriously Blair's promise to hand over to Brown sooner rather than later, and Gordon Brown certainly didn't.

What actually upset my old boss was Blair reneging on his promise to support Brown as Labour leader. The fact remains that, despite this blatant stab in the back, Brown will never challenge Blair for the leadership. You will never hear the Chancellor say anything against his old friend in public or in private. He even encourages his mates to lay off the dear leader. Brown knows there is one thing the modern Labour Party won't stomach, and that's disloyalty.

Brown will never do a Michael Heseltine, who stood against Thatcher for the Conservative leadership. This will probably disappoint the Tories, who mistakenly believe they would be better off facing Brown than Blair.

This attitude ignores the fact that the voters no longer trust Blair, but do trust Brown. Even Brown's biggest enemies would never accuse the Chancellor of being anything other than straight. I was once with him when he mistakenly thought he had lied in a radio interview. I have never seen him so upset or angry. When Blair tells us there was 'no deal' you know he is lying because, when asked the same question, Brown just says he will never discuss private conversations h's had with the Prime Minister.

The truth will out one day, and Brown will be vindicated.

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