Spencer Livermore, Gordon Brown’s closest adviser for over a decade, has confirmed his departure from Number Ten. Livermore, once hailed by Pink Times as the most powerful gay man in Britain, will take up a post at Saatchi and Saatchi managing Labour’s PR activities in the build-up to the next election.
The departure of such a key lieutenant in the Brownite machine could hardly have come at a worse time for the ailing Prime Minister, still reeling from the Bad News Budget and a newly published Guardian/ICM poll which gives the Conservatives a thirteen point lead.
While both Brown and Chancellor-in-Waiting Ed Balls are said to have attempted to persuade Livermore to stay, Brown just doesn’t seem to have that motivating touch – unlike his predecessor Tony Blair, who famously persuaded spin supremo Alistair Campbell to remain for two years beyond his initial departure date.
The blogosphere has been buzzing with rumours that Livermore’s departure was hastened by Stephen Carter, Brown’s new head of political strategy. Yet whether Livermore’s decision was more influenced by Carter’s behind the scenes machinations, or if he still has not forgiven Brown for the famous explosion following October’s election fiasco – which according to sources, reduced the thirty-two year-old Livermore to tears – is currently unclear.
Whether this will be the first of several political “disappearances” from Number 10, or merely the beginning of the rats leaving New Labour’s sinking ship is also a matter fro debate. Either way, this author has little sympathy for Brown, whose legendary mood swings are hardly likely to build deep loyalty in his closest aides.
Once again, a lesson sorely ignored from Number Ten’s previous incumbent – but not, it may appear from yesterday’s post, its next one…