Armando Iannucci's acerbic political comedy The Thick of It looks ever less like satire and more like documentary in the light of further revelations about government infighting during the last Labour Government.
Damian McBride, a former special adviser to Gordon Brown who resigned over a planned smear campaign against senior Conservatives, has revealed that he also smeared former home secretaries John Reid and Charles Clarke during Mr Brown's leadership bid.
He has stated that he did so without the then Chancellor's knowledge, but that in no way exonerates Mr Brown. While he may not have sanctioned that weasly episode, the former Prime Minister had a history of employing combative aides prepared to take the fight to their opponents on his behalf, Charlie Whelan being another. He has been the architect of his own tragedy.
In another blow to the image of the last Labour government, the spin doctor also claims Douglas Alexander urged Gordon Brown to dump his sister Wendy as Scottish Labour leader, though Mr Alexander denies it.
Much as Labour's opponents will wish to portray the memoirs as evidence of a malaise unique to the Labour party, however, it is anything but. Politics is is no game of croquet. Titanic clashes of ego and unscrupulous conduct within the ranks of the ruling order have been part of politics since the days of the Roman Republic. Machiaevelli was not the first to believe that the end justifies the means. John Major's entire term of office was dogged by infighting.
Even so, the bitter 10-year conflict between the Labour inhabitants of Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street makes the current troubled Tory-LibDem coalition look like a match made in heaven. It is partly responsible for the low esteem in which politics in general is held by the public.
It is particularly troubling that Mr McBride acted as he did while drawing a taxpayer-funded salary. There is a legitimate and important role for special advisers within government ensuring that a minister's policy priorities are being addressed by the permanent civil service. However, revelations such as these prove that some advisers have acted as party political attack dogs.
Voters will react with disgust. They have a right to expect that special advisers, like other civil servants, will observe professional ethics.
The wider question that emerges is what Ed Miliband knew of Mr McBride's methods, given that they were both part of the Chancellor's close coterie of advisers. Dame Tessa Jowell, a Blairite, has stated that she is "sure" Mr Miliband knew, adding the somewhat disingenuous claim that her comments would not damage the Labour leader because he has since outlawed such methods in his own Shadow Cabinet.
Mr Miliband does have questions to answer; as with Mr Brown, he is left with the taint of guilt by association.
Ben Wegg-Prosser, Mr Blair's former strategic communications chief, recalling how much of his colleagues' time was spent in scraps with Number 11, has said that "everyone who participated in them, from ministers, MPs, advisers and many more civil servants than is ever acknowledged, should reflect on what else could have been achieved if we weren't fighting". When ministers are at war with one another, it is the business of government that suffers.
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