It all seemed to start with Andrew Rawnsley. On November 11th he wrote:
...the MP for Twickenham and the Prime Minister go back a long way: they were collaborators in a publication called the Red Paper on Scotland - yes, they go back a very long way indeed - in the 1970s. Mr Cable observed that his old friend had waited for more than a decade to deliver his first Queen's Speech and he'd spent more than 30 years working on ideas for it.
This Cable/Brown friendship thing was brought to blossoming fruition in the Mail on Sunday last weekend, where the headline described Brown as Cable's "old friend".
It turns out that this is all a steaming pile of kangaroo dung.
Gordon Brown is not Vince Cable's friend. When I interviewed Vince with other bloggers in the House of Commons' Committee Room 19 last night, he was at pains to point this out.
Vince was a Labour councillor on Glasgow City Council while the young Brown was active in politics at Edinburgh University. Same party, different cities. Brown was assembling a pamphlet and asked several Labour figures to contirbute to it. He phoned Cable to ask him to contribute to it, and Cable sent his contribution in. So, as Vince Cable put it last night, they worked together "in a very small way". He didn't get as far as a sort of MacCarthyite "I am not and have never been a friend of Gordon Brown" but it got within a whisker of it.
So, this "friendship" canard has now been shot.