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10 really good things about Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown , copyright World Economic ForumIt’s true that for a number of years you couldn’t put a fag paper between the politics of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and though we all heaved a sigh of relief when he eventually took over, he did disappoint us as PM. But Gordon has many great strengths and, just at this moment, there isn’t a better person to try to save the day for class politics in Scotland and the rest of Britain. And here are ten really good things about him:

  1. Gordon hates the Tories.
  2. Gordon hasn’t thought much of Tony Blair for many a year either.
  3. When the biggest economic crisis for almost a century hit us, Gordon was the only world leader who understood what was going on, and without his guidance it would have been a lot worse for ordinary people the world over.
  4. Gordon rediscovered Keynes before it was too late.
  5. Gordon’s heart and roots lie amongst the Scottish working class.
  6. Gordon was never interested in lining his pocket.
  7. Gordon never had any interest in hob-nobbing with the rich and famous.
  8. Gordon turned what could have been a disaster for Labour in 2010 into a narrow defeat.
  9. Gordon backed the right Miliband and helped put an end to New Labour.
  10. Gordon fought for devolution in the past and he really believes in moving to a federal Britain now.


  1. jeffrey davies says:

    but who killed our dentist off with his new policy we now have to have insurance if you want a decent dentist that he done this and being a new labour why cant we have old labour politics this modern age newbies or whotever is far far to right just like the tories jeff3

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Jeffrey: My recollection is that good NHS dental care stopped for most people too early to be able to blame Gordon for it.

      1. Robert says:

        He was the one with Blair who did the review of the contracts, sadly Brown is just as much to blame for the NHS as Blair.

  2. David Melvin says:

    The class Gordon Brown is seeking to defend as the front man for the “No” campaign is the political class of the Con-Dems and Labour. Labour have been found out in Scotland for what they are. Brown is as new Labour as Miliband. The Blairites and Brownites destroyed the Labour party between them. Brown was a willing supporter of Blair’s illegal wars. His PFI schemes have created a debt that local government and the NHS will never pay off.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      David: “the political class of the Con-Dems and Labour” – what on earth does this mean? I think you can talk about a political elite in Westminster that is remote from people but a “class”? I don’t think so. And to fail to see differences between Blair, Brown after the 2008 crash and Ed Miliband is just ridiculous. There may n9t be anything like enough of a difference between New Labour and Ed Miliband’s approach but a difference there most certainly is. There has been a return to mainstream social democracy in many respects. I don’t deny that Gordon made many great mistakes – I referred to them in my piece – but he also has strengths which I outline and you don’t challenge.

      1. Robert says:

        The difference what are the difference Blair was desperate to rule he did deals and when it came to the job he was totally lacking in the skills.

        Gordon Brown was a fair minister and a hopeless leader, and to be honest6 he was New labour.

      2. David Melvin says:

        Jon, Gordon Brown may a written a decent book about Jimmy Maxton, but he was no working class hero. New Labour was said to be Margaret Thatcher’s greatest achievement and I agree.

        With Blair, Gordon was New Labour. He was essential to keep old Labour and the trade unions on board. Gordon refused to tax the rich and had this idea that services could be improved by private finance. I remember the trade unions telling him PFI schemes were a disaster. It was and we are still paying the price.

        His heart may be with the Scottish working class, but his head was with the bankers . 2008 has been referred to as “socialism for the bankers”. – certainly not the Scottish worker class.

        The Labour party, probably with LibDem support could have insisted that devo-max was on the ballot paper in the referendum, had they done so there would, with STV, been an overwhelming majority for devo-max. Labour choose confrontation with the support of Con-Dems rather than conciliation with the SNP and those in the ” Yes” camp. The vote in Scotland is in the balance, but if the vote is “No” people in Scotland will not forget that the offers of devo-max and the threats and bullying only came when the “Yes” vote appeared strong. New Labour hasn’t gone away Jon, Ed Miliband has incorporated them into the Shadow Cabinet at the highest level. If Ed fell under a bus who would be the new leader? Your very own Chuka Umunna – you can’t get more New Labour than him!

  3. David Ellis says:

    `3.When the biggest economic crisis for almost a century hit us, Gordon was the only world leader who understood what was going on, and without his guidance it would have been a lot worse for ordinary people the world over.’

    He understood what was happening alright because he caused much of it and he immediately set about the socialisation of the bankers’ losses at the expense of the people and the real economy.

    Brown took Thatcher’s privatisation of the money supply after the 1987 Big Bang so-called to unprecedented new heights such that by 2008 the world was saddled with the greatest Ponzi Scheme history has ever seen. Endogenous Growth Theory was literally a theory about how spending without producing could somehow go on forever. Even then at the end of it all he could still have redeemed himself by allowing the bankrupt banks to go under, taking their staff, deposits and estates into administration and used them to form a new People’s Bank lending at base rate to small business and facilitating social investment according to a democratic and sustainable plan but no he guaranteed the £6.7 trillion owed by the bankers to their billionaire and corporate creditors who were holding most of their worthless bonds and in so doing guaranteed the economic destruction of these here British Isles.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      To say Gordon “caused much” of what led to the great crash of 2008 is at best an exaggeration. He failed to reverse financial deregulation caused by Reagan and Thatcher as he should have tried to do. But it was by the time he arrived a global phenomenon supported by what was virtually a global consensus amongst economists, regulators, central bankers etc. He must take his share of the blame but he didn’t cause it single handedly. And your abusive comment has been deleted.

      1. Robert says:

        But he was the one who was in charge when the explosion happened and people do blame him.

        I blame the bloke for allowing Blair to get away with murder, he was just as much to blame for all that Blair did and when he finally got control he could not hack it and if saving the UK means giving banks Billions of tax payers money without even controlling the bonuses. sorry Blair and Brown New labour Progress Tory Lite, who should we blame.

  4. David Ellis says:

    By the way Scotland please vote Yes on September 18. You will immediately plunge this wretched coalition into terminal crisis and give the New Labour clowns a good kicking at the same time. You might also save yourself from Westminster imposed austerity.

    1. James Martin says:

      That’s right David, let’s stoke the fires of nationalism and encourage the division of the British working class along nationalist lines in order to get rid of a temporary political coalition a few months earlier than would otherwise have been the case. Good to see you are as right-wing as ever…

  5. Peter Rowlands says:

    Yes, I buy into all10 points, but for me they are cancelled out by the disastrous saga of the 10% tax abolition, for which Brown must take full responsibility both as the Chancellor that promoted it and the PM that tried to sustain it. It was hugely regressive. It would have redistributed income upwards on a massive scale, more so than any single Tory measure before or since.It was the second worst thing New Labour did, or tried to do, and it was Brown who was primarily to blame, aided by the majority of Labour MPs, both of whom did not seem to understand that Labour governmentsshould not attack the poor.Fortunately, a combination of Labour voters and a hypocritical Tory press stopped it, but it sealed Labour’s fate at the 2010 election.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Totally agree that ending 10% tax rate was a massive error, as I think most Labour people now accept. But people who make massive mistakes, people with quite right-wing politics, even some of our greatest political opponents are capable of sometimes doing the right thing and displaying qualities. Denis Healey, for example, was capable of formidable put-downs of Tory incompetence in the Commons, Roy Hattersley’s defence of social democratic principles in the New Labour years is to be commended, Gerald Kaufman has turned out to be an invaluable champion of Palestinian rights and Andrew Adonis, though responsible for some disastrous education policies was really quite a good Transport secretary.

  6. ray davison says:

    Brown defended deregulation and privatisation to end boom and bust. He also had equally curious ideas about extending party democracy! Please think again comrade.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Ray: Your points are valid but do not invalidate the points I made.

  7. Dean Williams says:

    I agree with the 10 but would add ‘Brown kept the UK out of the Euro’ and I’d probably put that number 1.

    But I still would rather we had Harry Perkins.

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Dean: Very good point about the Euro. And I continue to treasure my “Harry Perkins for Leader” badge.

  8. jeffrey davies says:

    i see a lot replied about gb but whot ever you sais under him no i didnt like him he keep our country solvent i wonder why labour lts party isnt beating the torys with these figures has they allow them to tell their lies love him hate him he didnt put the country in debt that this lot have jeff3

  9. James Martin says:

    Unbelievable article. So what if Brown has a small amount of Labour tribalism still in him (Blair never had any of course)? Brown was behind such huge disasters for the public sector that this becomes meaningless. Privatising PFI schemes that rob from the state and give to the shareholders, destroying jobs, services and hospitals in the process? Yep, thanks Gordon. Bizarrely complicated and bureaucratic new means-tested benefits like Tax Credits and Pension Credit that even staff administering them can barely understand (I was one of them until Brown made me redundant with thousands of my colleagues). Yeah, thanks for that too.

    Is the Labour left so desperate these days that it needs such weak articles praising a former right-wing leader and grade A prat? Give me strength…

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      It’s not just the Left that’s weak, James, it’s the whole Left, inside and outside the Labour Party, and the trade union movement. We need to build alliances and to exclude people from those alliances for their past mistakes is a recipe for permanent marginalisation. I have enormous criticisms of things Gordon did, but I stand by the 10 points. No-one has really challenged these, they’ve merely said other things were so bad they outweigh the good. But these 10 points are the things that are relevant now to the debate in Scotland.

      1. James Martin says:

        Yes, but saying that you have found some good points about someone is not really saying much at all. Hitler was a vegetarian who liked animals and small children – but I wouldn’t on that basis write an article praising these good points given the wider picture…

  10. peter willsman says:

    Comrades should go to the CLPD website and to Campaign Briefing 78 and to Tels Tales re.GB.This has extracts from the Campbell diaries showing the extent to which GB stood up for Labour principles.

    1. Rod says:

      Peter: “the extent to which GB stood up for Labour principles.”

      As an antidote to this delusion you should read “NHS plc” by Prof Allyson Pollock – an adviser to New Labour, sacked for telling truth to power:

      “In 2002 I asked him [Brown] if he could explain the rationale behind the use of private finance for public investment, given that the risks were not in practice transferred to the private sector. His response was simply to declare repeatedly that the public sector is bad at management, and that only the private sector is efficient and can manage services well. By 2003 the business paradigm was the only model that Treasury and senior Department of Health officials could relate to.”

      If you don’t feel like reading Pollock’s book, Margaret Cook’s review is worth a look: “Neither of the two main parties is a capable, honest and trustworthy steward for our future health, and the public need to know that.”

  11. Peter Willsman says:

    Rod,as you can see from Tels Tales,Alan Milburn told Campbell that GB was against anything that looked like private provision of public services.I know GB quite well and in my view AM is not that far from the truth.I also note from the Gruniad that GB is the first ex PM not to take the PM pension to which he is entitled.

    1. Rod says:


      I find Prof. Allyson Pollock’s* account far more convincing than self-serving tittle-tattle produced by the Blairites who have, among other things, driven the Scottish people away from the Labour Party.

      As George Galloway puts it in today’s Independent: “Britain’s political class may have achieved what Hitler failed to do. Destroyed Britain.”


    2. Robert says:

      Yes yes Gordon was a hero of the working class, sadly the working class disagreed.

  12. swatantra says:

    1 out od ten can’t be all that bad.

    1. swatantra says:

      ‘1 out of 10 can’t be all that bad!’
      Pete can we please have an edit button on comments!

  13. ray davison says:

    oh. what Loyalas we are, Jesuits of selective recall and intermittent dementia! If Gordon is one of us, so is anybody.

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