I TOLD Gordon Brown to choose his friends wisely, but, as per usual, no-one listens to old Zoomy.
It has been so frustrating, watching all this unfold. It has been like watching a pantomime, and yelling as the villian appears, "He's right behind you!"
In this case, there were two villians, flanking poor old Broon.
I feel almost sorry for him - but no. I have to reserve all my compassion for all the victims of the secret family courts, especially the mothers and children accused of Parental Alienation Syndrome (which was invented by the American paedophile Richard Gardner)
Revealed: How Gordon Brown threw a tantrum during a TV interview - and had to be soothed by Lord Mandelson
By Simon Walters
Last updated at 10:55 PM on 03rd May 2009
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Embattled Gordon Brown's state of mind is under further scrutiny after it was revealed that he had a tantrum during a series of tough television interviews in No10.
The Prime Minister had to be calmed down by Business Secretary Peter Mandelson after erupting in a series of off-camera clashes with broadcast journalists.
Lord Mandelson soothed a raging Mr Brown and reassured him: 'Gordon, calm down, calm down. It's a bank holiday weekend. You can have a rest.'
'Calm down Gordon': Lord Mandelson, right, had to soothe the raging PM
The extraordinary scene unfolded after Mr Brown's frustration boiled over in five tense interviews on Thursday. Viewers could clearly see the signs of strain. But the moment the cameras stopped, he lost his temper and:
• Told one journalist: 'You are impugning my integrity.'
• Ripped off his microphone twice and threw it down.
• Walked out at one point and said: 'I need a break.'
• Threatened another reporter: 'I will be watching your broadcast very closely.'
According to one source, Lord Mandelson - who has been drafted in to No10 to help the Prime Minister's desperate fight for survival - 'put a proverbial arm round Mr Brown's shoulder' and told him to keep a cool head and not to respond to attempts to provoke him.
The remarkable series of outbursts is yet another example of how Mr Brown's political decline mirrors that of John Major. In a notorious off-camera remark, Mr Major referred to Right-wing Euro rebels in his Cabinet as 'bastards'.
The comment was leaked and proved to be a landmark on Mr Major's path to the landslide Election defeat in 1997 that swept Labour into power. Now Mr Brown seems to be on the same gaffe-strewn road to political oblivion.
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In the interviews, Mr Brown claimed that victory a few hours earlier in Commons votes on MPs' expenses was proof that he was still in control of events. But the journalists refused to believe him.
First to feel his wrath was ITN political reporter Lucy Manning. The moment the cameras stopped, Mr Brown rebuked her tersely for accusing him of a U-turn over his pledge on YouTube to scrap MPs' second-home allowances.
'You have got it all wrong, you don't understand,' he said.
'I do,' she replied. 'That's not what you said on YouTube.'
Mr Brown snapped: 'I shall be watching your broadcast very closely.'
Ms Manning responded light-heartedly: 'Good. That's one more viewer.'
Mr Brown was visibly on edge in a highly charged confrontation with Channel 4 political editor Gary Gibbon, one of the most forensic television inquisitors. The Prime Minister grimaced as he repeatedly told Mr Gibbon he was wrong.
As soon as the interview ended, Mr Brown pulled the microphone from his jacket and threw it down. He glowered at Mr Gibbon: 'You are impugning my integrity.'
Mr Brown's Press secretary Mike Ellam and a fellow No10 aide, the former BBC producer Nicola Burdett, looked on in horror. Ms Burdett was recruited by Mr Brown with the specific task of improving his image on television.
Lord Mandelson, who had advised Mr Brown on how to conduct the interviews, hovered in the corridor outside. But his acute political antennae soon alerted him to the public-relations car crash that was unfolding inside.
Mr Brown pulled off his microphone abruptly for a second time after being interviewed by channel Five. He got up from his seat and walked out, saying: 'I need a break.'
Following his final interview with the BBC's Nick Robinson, tetchy Mr Brown declined to pose for the customary 'reverse shots' showing him listening to Mr Robinson's questions. The Prime Minister left the room and met up with concerned Lord Mandelson.
Lord Mandelson's political and personal relationship with Mr Brown has been the subject of much speculation since they fell out over Lord Mandelson's decisive support for Tony Blair in the Labour leadership contest in 1994.
Only last week, the peer compared himself to Princess Diana, saying his career had been blighted by Mr Brown's distrust of him.
Evoking Diana's jibe about Camilla Parker Bowles's affair with Prince Charles, he said: 'I was the third person in the marriage. I was the casualty. It was a source of great sorrow and more to me that, from 1994 onwards, we were unable to get on. It wrecked my political career.'
A No10 spokesman denied that the Prime Minister had had a tantrum. 'That's absolutely not true,' he said. 'I know that did not happen.'
A spokesman for Lord Mandelson said that the Business Secretary had been attending a reception in No10 at the time of the interviews and had not been with Mr Brown.