Former Labour government insider recounts Gordon Brown's counter-intelligence operation as a means of offering advice to Cameron against a potential coup. Of course, if you're a Tory this is a tainted source. Of course, if you're a former Labour government insider you know that they know that, so you have to offer good advice in a spirit of insider professionalism to get them to think about it. Of course, if you're a Tory you know that he's doing that and so you...hang on a minute, how come we're all talking about a coup against Cameron? How come this has been inserted into the discourse as a given by an acknowledge political insider? Bada-bing! Gamed again.
There are obvious differences between the situation here and in China, for instance that the media are a potential power centre and so in Chinese terms have to be treated as though they were a separate faction. Victor Shih used to talk about a 'technocratic faction' as an arbiter between various contenders and maybe the UK media play a similar role. But overall, since this is about spying on the real enemy, ie your friends and colleagues, I bet at least some of this would map quite well on to factional intrigue in the relevant organs. Take this, for instance:
With David Miliband’s various abortive coups, there was a certain crude art to inducing their failure. I was often personally criticised for over-reacting to some new Miliband manoeuvre, ‘ramping it up’ as people would say. But given David’s tendency to treat rebellion like a reluctant bather inching his way into the sea at Skegness, it made sense to push him right in at the outset, on the grounds that he’d run straight back to his towel, and not try again for at least six months.
...which sounds, inter alia, a lot like Wen Jiabao's constant failed attempts at whatever he meant by reform: regular feeble attemnpts, hyped up and then very easily knocked back.
And just think hgow dignified and statesmanlike David Miliband would have been as he settled into a couple of decades as leader of the opposition.