In defence of Gordon Brown

The serialisation of Alastair Darling’s memoirs (behind the Times paywall so no link I’m afraid) has prompted another round of Brown-baiting, which seems to have become a favourite pastime of the political class in the years of and following Brown’s premiership. (The fact that it coincides with an opportunity to earn wagon-loads of cash from lucrative book deals is just a happy coincidence I’m sure.) It appears that many people in the Westminster bubble are determined to humiliate, belittle and cast him as a mentally unstable villain who was unfit for high office.

Mr Brown doesn’t seem to be doing much to defend himself at the moment so it falls to me, bizarrely. And I don’t even like him that much really. But the feeding frenzy of the last two or three years has sickened me.

The vain, egotistical and self-justifying antics of Messrs Mandelson, Blair and Darling in the months and years since they left office has been a reminder, if it were needed, of quite how utterly intellectually bankrupt the New Labour project was. It was led and organised by some of the most brilliant minds British politics has ever seen, but directed to ends that have left the labour party morally and physically eviscerated. Their legacy is 13 years in which they achieved virtually nothing positive, led Britain into two wars on the coattails of probably the most right-wing administration America has ever had, at the cost of billions of pounds and thousands of lives, continued the dismantling of the post-war consensus, hollowed out the membership of the Labour Party, promoted an economic model based on unsustainable personal (not national) debt, whilst sycophantically catering to the every whim of a Murdoch press that for the entire duration of the Blair/Brown years was engaging in terrifying, vomit-inducing levels of mendacity and corruption. Peter ‘Goebbels’ Mandelson and Tony ‘I’ve squared it with God’ Blair in particular are enough to make one’s skin crawl. They reek of that familiar odour of bourgeois entitlement so prevalent in the Conservative Party, and are wholly lacking in humanity, empathy and a basic sense of decency.

Gordon Brown, whatever his many faults, (i.e. his disappearing at the wrong moment, his cowardice over Iraq, his unwillingness to break decisively with the Blair neoliberal and neoconservative ideology that was pursued domestically and internationally by the government, the control-freakery and endless factionalism) stood in stark contrast to the rest of the New Labour cabal. Don’t get me wrong, he was clearly one of the main architects of New Labour and I’m under no illusions about his politics, but one got the sense that he genuinely saw it as the only means by which the hated Tories, the so-called ‘natural party of government’ in the UK, could be ejected from office and replaced by a Labour administration that would take some steps, albeit fairly limited ones, to ameliorate the worst excesses of capitalism. He was a man of principle and honour, who had had to overcome great personal handicaps to achieve high office through bloody-minded determination and the superhuman powers of personal endurance (the work-rate he sustained was stupendous). He had a basic belief in the beneficial role that the public sector and government could play in changing people’s lives for the better. He agonised over the big political questions (as a human being should, unlike the rest of the New Labour gobshite automatons), he clearly wanted to lift those less fortunate out of poverty and provide them with the means to realise their potential (even if his approach to doing so was not one that I would agree with). The famous controversy over the supposedly mis-spelt names on Brown’s personal letters to the families of service personnel lost in combat in fact, despite the dishonest intentions of the pondlife that make up so much of the tabloid press in this country, showed a man who deeply cared about the issue and personally felt the grief of every family. Do you think Blair gives a monkey’s? The lives of those who died and continue to die in the conflicts he is chiefly responsible for meant, and continue to mean nothing to him.

Brown was uncomfortable with the media, according to his critics. So fucking what? On what planet is being telegenic more important than having a grasp of the issues? Why do we insist on preferring liars actors rather than men/women of substance?

He had a volcanic temper as well. Why shouldn’t he? Is that a bad thing? He was dealing with issues of life and death, policy questions that would have a huge impact on the lives of millions of people up and down the country and across the world, and he was working ridiculously long hours that most mere mortals could not physically sustain. Not losing his temper regularly would have bothered me more. Again, it shows he was a real human being, and not the monster that the tabloids and embittered Blairites are so determined to paint him as.

I get the feeling that much of the vitriol directed at Brown stems from knowing that

a) He was smarter than them

b) He believed, albeit in a very anaemic form, in a type of redistributionist socialism that the ruling class in this country is so determined to stamp out and wipe totally from the memories of our collective consciousness.

c) He was probably was one of the leading figures, if not the leading figure in saving the international banking and capitalist system in 2008. And that is something that his Blairite and Tory opponents can’t stomach, and explains the child-like David Cameron/George Osborne sabotaging of Brown’s bid to head the IMF, a role he is eminently qualified for.   

Brown was a complicated, flawed human being, but I’d take him over the shower of shit that has governed Britain immediately before and after him any day of the week. I love you Gordon. And a message to Alistair Darling should he ever read this: go fuck yourself. You weren’t fit to lick your boss’s boots.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Blair and Murdoch « Representing the Mambo
  2. ElaineS
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 00:30:08

    Great piece about Gordon. In all honesty I don’t think many people understood the man, the ordinary, kind and above all wanting to do his best for his country. As anyone knows, Gordon is a historian.unlike those greedy, money making judases who couldn’t wait to over exaggerate or twist the actual events and of Gordon. For as long as I can remember Gordon has always been known in town, from the young lad that ran about the same primary playground as me, albeit a few years in front of me. The family whose first concern was the miners and their families during these terrible strikes, the making sure that they had food on their table and as one of the local ministers, Gordon’s father made sure the community came together to support the struggling families. There is no one more than Gordon who understands what happens to communities who have been devastated by a Tory government……the heart of our mining community ripped apart when the mines were forced to close. The young and middle-aged men thrown on the scrapheap with no jobs and barely enough to feed their families. Only mining communities truly understand the handing down from generation to generation and then no other experience than a miner and our men feeling lost in the wilderness. If you wonder where Gordon’s passion and drive to want to do his very best for the 99%. He made mistakes but who are we to say what really went on behind closed doors, what messes did Blair leave and in my honest opinion….I think it was a blessing that Blair stood down, that crap about Gordon being obsessed and driven to be PM that he forced Blair out. Again you have to know where Gordon is coming from and Gordon is a man of true integrity, whatever mess was left by Blair, Gordon would take all the responsibility and there would be no blame game but sadly the Tory papers blamed just about everything on Gordon and choked at the very thought of actually praising him especially in times of crisis. Gordon will not feed the ugly frenzy for gossip and the chance to print half truths, twist truths and whatever way they can keep turning the knife. He is a very dignified man who still puts his community and his charities ahead of everything. It bugs the hell out of those despicable Tory papers that they struggle to get anything on Gordon…they and their horrendously viscous Tory supporters bitch about him not attending Parliament but fail to understand that we, his constituents need to have something for him to fly down to speak on our behalf…..if we don’t have any pressing issues then would these nasties prefer he wasted taxpayers money to fly down and say “cooey! I’m here!” I get beyond angry when I wish I could shout in their faces….its got nothing to do with you what MY MP does, as long as he works for his constituents then he is earning his wage! I have met Gordon on several occasions and as you say..he was uncomfortable with the camera in his face giving food for these vultures who criticised his smile, his eyesight etc! Anyone that has ever been in the presence of Gordon would instantly be at ease with his kind and thoughtful nature…you could look at Gordon and know he is an honest, caring man. Looking at Cameron you see cold eyes, the mouth works in a smooth rehearsed manner but the eyes are dead……he pretends to care but he does not care, I am more than certain the truth will be written by Gordon, when the time is right…there will be no bitching, just the plan truth and I hope the true characters of those who continuously stabbed him in the back will get their just desserts. We are so glad to have our wonderful MP back, its a lovely part of Scotland, a place where Gordon and his lovely family know the people there know who he is and treat him with the love and respect he deserves.


  3. representingthemambo
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 13:07:06

    Hi ElaineS, many thanks for your reply. Wrote this article some time, but as is often the case with these things, it has become relevant again.

    While I wouldn’t describe myself as GB’s biggest fan, and he has a lot to answer for the New Labour years, he has always struck me as a man of integrity, decency and basic humanity. Something that you simply can’t say for the rest of the New Labour and current government crowd.

    He clearly wanted to do what he could to help ordinary working class men and women, and although I usually questioned his methods and belief in market solutions, I never doubted his sincerity.

    The moments that made my mind up about him was the revolting witchhunt against him by the Sun over his hand-written notes to the families of service personnel (something that he, unlike that bastard Tony Blair, seemed to bother about) the fact that he opposed Darling’s ‘tory-lite’ deficit reduction proposals and has since been completely vindicated.

    The horrible, vile way that so much of the press and so many of his former ‘colleagues’ have attacked him since he left office is proof that he must have had some good qualities.



  4. Trackback: Martin Kettle and the politics of ‘no more ideas’ aka the same old boring, Tory-lite bollocks « Representing the Mambo
  5. toby hayes
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 15:15:00

    No more boom and bust!

    GB repeatedly said this and there is only three possible conclusions as to why he said this.

    1) A Liar (He knew this to be untrue but said it anyway for political purposes)
    2) An Idiot (He believed the business cycle had gone away)
    3) Insane (He believed that he had abolished the business cycle and created a new world order)

    This might be a flippant post, but he has to be one of these three things. There is no escaping the logic. Which one do you think he is?

    Personally, I think he was between an idiot and insane but I would be guessing as you would be. You talk about his character (which you can’t possibly know) and fail to mention his disastrous fiscal policies and regulatory policies that directly exacerbated the awful mess we are in. While you can point the fingure at banks or global events, no one individual has more personal reponsibility/liability for the decade of pain we are going through.

    I despise the man not because of his human flaws but because of his policies. My children have been born into a life of debt that they may never escape from.


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