Welcome to this special edition of mastermind. Can we have our first contestant please. Gordon Brown from Scotland, your specialist subject is the workings of the Treasury and your two-minutes start now. Who is the chancellor of the Exchequer?

I think you’ll find that I am.

Correct. Can you name any other Treasury ministers?

Don’t be ridiculous.

Correct. Seriously though have a go.

Er, Ed Balls.

No, Ed Balls is not in fact a minister nor does he have any official role at the Treasury.

Er, that Dawn woman, who’s been there since the start, er Primarolo.

Correct. What does Dawn Primarolo do?

She gets wheeled out to take the flak for all the mistakes.

Correct. Can you name any other Treasury ministers?


Who is the chief secretary to the Treasury?

Ed Balls.

I’ve just told you he’s not a minister. The correct answer was Des Browne. Now what does Des Browne do?


Des Browne.

Who’s he?

I just told you. Now what does he do?

Whatever I tell him to.

Correct, but what is his title?

You with the glasses?

No. Now who are financial and economic secretaries?

Ed Balls.

No, the answer is John Healey and Ivan Lewis.

Never heard of them

Who is your expert on Middle East affairs.

Ed Balls.

Correct. What are his qualifications for that role.


You don’t know?

Actually I do know, but I just don’t want to tell you.

Is it that you are a control freak who cannot trust anyone with any task unless you know they will do exactly what you want?


Last week it was rumoured that you would reverse your position on annual appraisal for tax credits. What was the Treasury response?

The Treasury spokesman said the position remained unchanged.

What was Ed Balls response?.

That it was about to be changed.

Who should we believe?

Is that a serious question?

Don’t you think Treasury officials should be kept in the loop about their department?

That would mark quite a significant shift in policy.

When is Lord Turner’s pensions commission due to report?

Next week.

What is the Treasury line in advance of publication?

Rubbish it.

What is the Treasury line after publication?

Rubbish it even more.

What is your public position on it?

I want a long debate on the issue.

Correct. How long do you think the debate should last?

Until everyone has forgotten what it was about, or I’m prime minister, whichever comes first.

Then what will you do?

Set up a new Pensions Commission

Who will you get to head it?

That’s a toughie. We’d need someone very very good. Any suggestions?

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