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Brown has a nerve to lecture us on economic credibility or winning elections

Gordon Brown at the NPF 2008It is hard to believe that Brown had the gall in his anti-Corbyn diatribe to declare that “the best way of realising our high ideals is to show that we have an alternative in government that is…neither a pale imitation of what the Tories offer nor is the route to being a party of permanent protest, rather than a party of government”. The prime reason that Labour lost 5 million votes between 1997 and 2010 was, apart from Iraq, the fact that a very large minority of Labour voters did think precisely that – that under the regimes of Blair and Brown Labour was indeed ‘a pale imitation of what the Tories offer’. It’s also why UKIP gained 4 million votes at the election three months ago because a huge chunk of the electorate had indeed come to the conclusion that ‘they’re all the same’.

Brown was the overseer of deregulated finance, free-wheeling market finance, the introduction of privatisation and outsourcing into health and education, and keeping the unions on a short leash to encourage foreign investment into Britain. Those were all Tory policies inaugurated by Thatcher which Brown didn’t reverse in any significant way, but actually extended in various ways, particularly in offering huge concessions to the City of London when he hosed down the banks and hedge funds with laudatory hyperbole in his Mansion House speeches to the assembled potentates of finance. And to give equal encouragement to Big Business, Brown enormously extended the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) which offered government-guaranteed profits to business for the next 25-40 years at taxpayers’ expense. This wasn’t a pale imitation of the Tories; it was the epitome of Tory ideology.

And as to Brown lecturing us on winning elections, he was the most unpopular prime minister since the second world war and lost the 2010 election with the lowest Labour vote since 1918. He was the architect of ‘regulation lite’ (i.e. virtually no regulation) for the banks and finance sector which undoubtedly contributed to the recklessness and arrogance of the banks in all but triggering a global recession. To that extent Brown’s support for unregulated free-market capitalism was a significant contributory factor in bringing about the biggest financial crash for nearly a century, from which the Labour party and the centre-left parties of Europe have still not recovered.

It is the arrogance of Brown and Blair in assuming that they alone, the Labour establishment, have the unique skills to win elections that actually they have proved rather adept at losing, which is so galling. Above all they, alongside the Tories, have insisted on endless austerity as the right way to achieve deficit reduction which is not only incredibly unpopular, but also patently failing to achieve its ostensible goal. Jeremy Corbyn is far more aligned with what the people of Britain clearly want, while the Blair-Brownites are in a state of denial. Brown should look to his own record: when in a glasshouse, don’t throw stones.

14 Comments

  1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    How on earth Brown still enjoys any kind of personal or political reputation at all completely escapes my comprehension, other than as an indicator of just how completely out of touch and how totally divorced from the real world the PLP have now become.

    There was really no great trick at all to the sleazy, catastrophically short sighted and utterly irresponsible manner in which Blair, (after Thatcher,) won elections, with giveaways and not policy or leadership; always assisted, but particularly so when sheer hysterical desperation began to set in as the financial bubble they were both riding suddenly started to collapse and when when Brown’s unremitting pillaging of public assets, key revenue streams and of current and future tax revenues, (PFI,) to try and keep the party going just a tiny bit longer, (but at ever escalating long term cost to the country and to the fabric of our society,) became, (after the crash,) the economic nightmare we’re all now living through.

    When that failed of course just wrap yourself in the flag and start a war or two.

    As time passes and Blair’s, (one could argue equally, Brown’s,) true economic legacy becomes ever more apparent; which is the complete bankruptcy of even the pretense of morality in politics, of sound public finances and of any wider democratic participation or of any kind of public accountability and ever more sickening I’m reminded of Hunter S. Thomson’s description of Richard Nixon, which could apply just as accurately to Blair or Brown.

    “Richard Nixon was an evil man – evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency.”

  2. David Ellis says:

    Cooper, Burnham and Kendall still all over the news along with Brown, Kinnock, Blair, Mandy, Campbell and various other New Labour ghouls and yet no doubt Corbyn has already swept the board. I know I have voted and no doubt so has nearly everybody else. It is like living in the past. Can we just move on and start the conversation about what kind of programme Jeremy will need to win the 2020 Election? These defeated New Labourites spouting shite everywhere are damaging Labour’s future hopes.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      I’ve registered; obviously, but I still haven’t received my ballot paper, just copious amounts of waste paper from the other candidates which has gone straight into the recycling.

      1. David Ellis says:

        They are obviously dragging it out as long as they can before sending out the papers, I have had mine and voted but many haven’t, so that they can continue to chat shit about Corbyn and make their prophesy about him being unelectable come true.

        1. Robert says:

          I phoned today and they told me it will take two weeks to get all the papers to all the people.

          I’m told mine will arrive in two or three days time.

          1. Jim says:

            Did you resign your Plaid Cymru membership, Bob.

          2. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

            Just voted for JC on-line, not sure how far I can trust this lot after that all too convenient last minute computer failure the other day; but there you go.

  3. Patrick Lockerby says:

    I am by no stretch of the imagination a “leftie”, whatever that means. I have long regarded myself as middle-of-the road, but the road has veered sharply to the right over the last few decades. I have now joined the Labour Party and am voting to steer Labour back towards being a party which truly represents the majority. Bear in mind that to a mathematical certainty the majority of people earn less than the average wage, A party which neglects the poorest members of society cannot expect to gain power.

    btw – As a party member eligible to vote in a DEMOCRATIC election I greatly resent being told by the Tory-lite brigade how I MUST vote.

    Please excuse CAPS, but people who try to give me voting orders make me ***** angry!

  4. John P Reid says:

    2010 was the lowest vote since 1918′ heard of the 1983 election, and after 13 years in power we were bu t out, so elections after years in power parties always to bad, what was the excuse in 2015

  5. Robert says:

    Labour is finding it hard to beat the Tories and Brown comes out after his miserable attempt to do it. Labour are now looking totally lost the right with Kendall and Cooper are looking poor, they simple do not have the backing and the experience , and Burnham he carrying a bit of baggage nope a pile of it, and to be honest i do not think labour has a hope of hell of beating the Tories in 2020 not even with Corbyn.

    So really Brown trying to tell people he can or knows the way is hilarious and moaning about the left where he use to be.

    His childish battles with Blair and the war holding back kit and equipment, fighting a soldier over compensation did massive damage to labour.

    At the moment it is unfit to govern and one leader who does not have the backing of the right wing of the labour party will see labour out of power for a generation win three lose six or Severn

  6. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    Just in case anyone missed this gem, it’s quite unbelievable, even for the DWP , (you really couldn’t have have made it up.)

    http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/people-are-sharing-fake-testimonials-after-the-dwp-admitted-it-made-up-quotes–bJaFsnvnEe?utm_source=indy&utm_medium=top5&utm_campaign=i100

  7. Bazza says:

    Yes sick of Right Wing Labour doom & gloom merchants.
    If Jeremy wins grassroots members can build policies of mass appeal from our life experiences.
    Unlike many in the Westminser Bubble many of us may have experienced poverty, been the first in our family to go to university, have worked on the front line with the poor, have worked in he private and public sector etc.
    Time to be positive, have faith and to offer hope to UK citizens and globally.
    Are a few Right Wing critics of Jeremy but he is a peace manger and perhaps the World needs more like that.
    Yours in solidarity!

  8. swatantra says:

    Have pity on Poor Gordon. They were good times, and the economy was booming, and we all lived as though there was no end to endless supply of money from the Banks who were virtually giving it away. Nobody saw the crash coming; it was the Americans that let us down.
    And when the crash came and the Americans were running around like headless chickens, one man stepped forward and saved the World: Flash Gordon.

    1. John P Reid says:

      I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic, even anti brownite John Rentoul,praised Broen for that.

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