Gordon Brown seeks candidate with credible economic policy

There is a delicious irony in Gordon Brown saying Labour needs a credible economic policy from its new Leader to be able to win an election. It was his boom and bust policy towards bank regulation which lost them two elections in a row, so I am not sure his judgement of what a credible economic policy would look like can be relied on.

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47 Comments

  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Nasty!
    But true!

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      If something is true usually better just to say it. Otherwise you end up in a sort of BBC dream world of political correctness, fake equality, quack greenery and the likes.

      Political correctness and being over “nice” to every minority group is so often just propagating (often very damaging) lies.

  2. formula57
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    It is indeed a wonder that anyone gives Mr Brown’s views any credence – although let us not forget his last major intervention in the affairs of the UK that saw three others (two now gone from the scene) prompted to give Scotland the infamous and unnecessary Vow. When will people learn?

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Indeed Gordon was a disaster economically for the UK. He even had the cheek to give Adam Smith as his ‘hero of the Scottish Enlightenment’.

    Clearly he had either not read his work or totally had misunderstood what he was saying.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      I see that Cameron’s appointment/elevation of the of the lingerie tycoon/model seems already to be heading for a somewhat predictable disaster.

      Did he learn nothing from his expensive “Queen of Shops” PR stunt last time?

      What is killing high streets is over bloated & largely inept government, vast over taxation through rates and all the rest, very high parking charges (and even higher fines) plus over restrictive planning laws.

      Silly expensive PR gimmicks are hardly the solution.

      • Cheshire Girl
        Posted August 17, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        I am losing faith in David Cameron because of his desire to be constantly aligned with ‘celebrity’. All these initiatives involving ‘Czars’ and ‘Ambassadors’ never seem to amount to much and are quietly dropped after a while. I’m sure that they cost a great deal despite assertions to the contrary. Its great to be young and beautiful, but it shouldnt be assumed that it brings great wisdom and judgement. I want what is best for this country, and not just what makes our Leaders look ‘trendy’.

  4. Mrs Rita Webb
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Yeah and Osborne’s policy has been any different since 2010? QE, deficit spending (with a teeny weeny reduction), a supersized national debt, more free money for the feckless and an endless queue of people at Calais trying to get their share too. Admit it Osborne and Brown are singing from the same neo-lib hymn sheet. Remember too, your parties electoral record, lost in 2010 and got a majority so small in May that as soon as Ms Sturgeon gets upset you buckle under like with the fox hunting.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      Osborne is indeed little better, even pushing a centrally dictated/job destroying incomes policy now.

      “In introducing a compulsory control of wages, in contravention of the deepest commitments of this party, has my right hon. Friend taken leave of his senses?” as E Powell might sensibly have put it.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Be fair.
      I’m no fan of Osborne’s silly Help to Buy and other schemes stimulating the economy in all sorts of wrong directions, but even this is far preferable to the disaster that was Brown. Totally anti-English, pig-headed ignorance of what works economically, and dishonest enough to raise income tax to 50p in 2010 then criticise anybody who dared question returning it to the level of the previous 13 years. Giving knighthoods out to others who were blowing the financial system apart. Borrowing to “invest” when actually p-ssing taxpayers money down the drain in droves. Deliberately over-spending knowing his government was about to be turfed out, and leaving horrendous debt issues behind him.

    • Gary
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      The Tories sold the state enterprises to their mates for pennies, passing it off as “free market economics”. It was nothing of the sort, it was a heist.

      Labour sold state enterprises to their mates, they called it PFI. It was a heist.

      Heckle and Jeckle, they are both plunderers of of the public wallet. etc ed

      • yosarion
        Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Yes he did inflict PFI’s on the English, however the NHS was devolved in his homeland so their NHS is PFI free rather like the New Fourth road bridge.
        The PFI for the second Severn crossing will be finished in 2018 the English and Welsh People will be looking forward to free crossings.

  5. Richard1
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Surely Gordon Brown was amongst the Chancellors to have inflicted most damage on the UK economy. He ranks with Denis Healy in the hall of incompetent and hubristic infamy. He was an absurd choice as PM. I’m sure he thought he was doing the right thing at the time but the great lesson we (re-)learnt from him is an ever expanding state is no road to prosperity. Mr Osborne is far from perfect, but his direction of travel is a huge improvement on Mr brown.

  6. Old Albion
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Ah Gordon Brown. The man who signed the ‘Scottish claim of right’ Then spent five years telling the English to adopt ‘Britishness’

  7. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I believe he got an award for getting us out of the mess.

    • CdBrux
      Posted August 17, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Did he? Sounds like a firefighter getting an award for stopping a large blaze caused by him dropping a match on a load of petrol he’s spread about from burning more than half the houses in the town!

  8. Iain Gill
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Cameron and Osbourne are no better sadly. Mixing the words debt and deficit up. Hyping house prices beyond sense. Flooding the country with immigration.

  9. Tad Davison
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Absolutely true.

    The British people have a nasty habit of committing electoral suicide after they have been badly led. They adopt a policy of voting for ‘anything but the incumbent’. Watch this space!

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  10. A different Simon
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Politicians are insulated and isolated from having to take risks which their constituents take on a daily basis .

    This was a big problem with Mr Brown and it is the same for almost all politicians today so I think it is premature to crow about it .

    Mr Brown is the only state school educated Prime Minister we have had since 1997 – after having only grammar school educated Prime Ministers from 1964 – 1997 .

    Messr’s Blair , Cameron and Osborne don’t seem to have the talent needed to achieve in a meritocracy and I doubt could have escaped Mr Brown’s modest roots .

    None of these guys have the intelligence to have moved up to the high school two years early like Brown .

    A man in the street might be able to clear £12,000 for saving during a year yet find his investments fall by £15,000 .

    Essentially what he has earned has been negated by how his investment have fallen and he knows he has worked the past year for nothing .

    How can politicians be trusted with other peoples money when they have never had to risk your own ?

    For the good of the country , public sector decision makers defined benefits pensions must be closed down so that they learn about risking their own capital first hand .

  11. Bert Young
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Gordon Brown has lost whatever credibility he had and his present utterances will have no impact . The Labour Party is in disarray and on the path to extinction . The Prescotts and Browns of this world seem not to recognise that they no longer have the support they once enjoyed and are merely names of the past .

    • yosarion
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Prescott was Noticed Bert, He was the man on the Marr show two days before nominations closed encouraging those MPs who had not yet voted to vote for Corbyn. The rest is unfolding on a daily bases and its hard sometimes to keep the smile of my face its so bloody hilarious.

  12. PD
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    If Brown and his Government had sought to regulate the banks, the Tories would have screamed blue murder about State control, Labour being anti-business and reverting to the failed interventionist policies of the 1970s.

    The banks, meanwhile, would have resorted to their usual bullying and blackmail by threatening to leave the UK if any restrictions are placed on their greed and recklessness.

    Incidentally, if the 2008 crash was caused by Brown’s economic policies, how come the rest of Western Europe and the United States suffered exactly the same financial crash at exactly the same time?

    • Horatio McSherry
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      PD,
      The problem was not the amount of bank regulation; the problem ended up being the intervention itself after the crash. (And Neo Labour made the crash worse for us as for eleven years they rifled through my pockets for every penny I had and then threw it all down the drain). The banks should have been allowed to fail, but there’s the argument that the immediate shock of letting them fail would have been even more catastrophic than bailing them out.

      John, does that argument hold water (as I genuinely don’t know)? And has anything been done to make sure reckless/imprudent/negligent banks are left to fail in the future rather than having the cushy safety net of my pockets…again?

    • Kevin Dabson
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense. He (labour) merely had to leave in place the existing banking controls the Tories had at the time and the worst of the crash and affects on the economy probably would not of happened.

      I am thinking capital reserves, leveraging and regulation etc. Apparently the BoE had warned Brown several times that there was too much reliance on the wholesale markets or issued reports to that affect. I also remember reading somewhere that a senior banker had warned Brown as far back as ’95 about the boom and cooling it down etc

      What would of happened if the existing ’97 regulations/setup were in place and it’s affect on the economy, would of been an interesting question to ask The Independent Commission on Banking who had all the banks data etc.

      Someone once said it was an age old political trick of inflating the money supply so that 15% GDP PSBR can become a 5% GDP PSBR due to leveraging. Smoke and Mirrors.

      Kevin

  13. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Ex-Labour PM Mr Brown is going to back a Labour Candidate for leadership when he can find where they are hiding from him.

  14. zorro
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Irony is indeed still breathing…. Doubtless counsel from the economic Titan will go down well in having a Jonah like effect in increasing support for Corbyn without a doubt!

    zorro

    • zorro
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Typical Brown….. in his speech, he didn’t have the balls to mention Corbyn by name….. Just like when he signed the Lisbon Treaty on his own!!

      zorro

      • Edward2
        Posted August 17, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Is there a hidden pun in your comment about Gordon Brown zorro ?
        “He didnt have the balls…..

  15. Edward Saunders
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I bet all candidates are praying that Jonah Brown will not give them his support.

  16. Know Dice
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Sounds like Blair & Brown want Jeremy Corbyn to win, this will be the only result of their discredited intervention…

  17. Kenneth
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    One of them attacks the other’s jibberish with their own jibberish.

    It’s jibberish.

  18. Ian wragg
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I see no difference between Brown’s policies and Gideons. You continue to rack up massive debt with no spending reductions on health, education and aid.
    Borrowing billions to waste on aid is stupid to the n’th degree
    Importing half a million foreigners every year to depress wages and give the illusion of growth. The public aren’t that stupid.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Who failed to condemn Labour’s money printing to help them fund their budget deficit during 2009 – after a single premature outburst in the January – and then did some of his own money printing when he became Chancellor, lending legitimacy to the idea that money printing to help fund public spending was quite a normal thing, perfectly OK, which Corbyn is now proposing to take a stage further?

      • zorro
        Posted August 16, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        Not Gideon Osborne perchance?

        zorro

    • Martyn G
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the public are not that stupid but apart from a minority such as comment on this blog here, very few if any care about politics these days and are busy getting on with their lives as best they can.
      I am not alone in thinking that Corbyn will make Labour unelectable but that is almost unimportant at this time in his thinking. If elected as leader he will start to gather power at local levels with unions etc and I suspect that we could very soon all be facing another winter of discontent through strikes and so on – especially if as seems likely we face power cuts and other shortages should the winter be hard.

  19. Brigham
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    The worst chancellor and the worst prime minister ever. Gordon Brown

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 17, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Brigham

      Agreed

  20. Boudicca
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I love the idea of Brown seeking a Labour candidate with a credible economic policy.

    Has he no shame?

    As a Scot, he must know the words of Robbie Burns “would that God the gift hae gie us, tae see ourselves as others see us.”

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Brown appeared to start off well, until he dumped Prudence, but in fact the seeds of the later disaster were sown within weeks of Labour winning the 1997 general election.

    Back in February the Telegraph published a video of Ed Balls and Ed Miliband in the Treasury back then, jubilant that they had successfully stripped the Bank of England of its regulatory powers:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11411593/Caught-on-camera-the-day-smoking-Ed-Balls-triumphed-over-the-Bank-of-England.html

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 16, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Continued …

      The video itself has since been removed, but the text of the article about it is still there, including:

      “Within days of entering office, Mr Brown granted the Bank political independence over interest rates – and followed up the move two weeks later by stripping it of regulation of the banking industry and creating the new watchdog.

      Mr Balls and his colleagues argued the two acts came hand-in-hand, and allowed journalists to link the creation of a new, “tough” regulator to the failure of the Bank to prevent the Barings collapse and the BCCI scandal.

      A decade later, Parliamentary reports into the financial crisis concluded Mr Brown’s watchdog had failed to sound the alarm over the brewing crisis at Northern Rock, and should have blocked the catastrophic takeover of ABN Amro by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

      Sir Martin Jacomb, a former Bank of England director, has claimed that the “disastrous” decision to create the FSA was driven by jealousy within the Treasury and a desire to rein in the central bank’s power. The body was scrapped by George Osborne, and regulation of the City handed back to the Bank of England Governor.”

      Of course the two acts went hand-in-hand, they were both part of the EU model, and following it was just as catastrophic in Ireland as it was in the UK

  22. outsider
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood: Leaving aside Mr Brown’s triumphs, disasters and the overweening self-delusion that progressively gripped him and will colour his reputation, it seems to me that his underlying mistake lay in his conception of the purpose of economic strategy.

    Like many Westminster politicians, he seemed to think that his objective was to maximise the stable, sustainable revenue available for ministers to spend on Government priorities (ie within reasonable tax constraints). I hope that the Labour Party will come to see that this is blinkered and not what working people want.

    The purpose of any Chancellor’s economic strategy, and particularly a Labour Chancellor’s, should be to maximise the stable, sustainable growth of the real pretax incomes of average, mid-range households.

    These two strategies overlap a great deal day to day but are ultimately very different and lead to some very different policies.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    When the wheels come off the present recovery it will leave Brown’s in the shade.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    I think that Gordon Brown is implying that Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policy would be even more spendthrift than his. I am not so sure. Corbyn is at least determined to raise some taxes and scrap the Trident replacement.

    Meanwhile, the Conservative Party must realise that if it continues to ring fence some areas of public expenditure, it is bound to appear (and to be) very harsh in its reductions in other areas.

    So let me give some examples:
    – Foreign Aid should not be a sacred cow
    – Some of the EU’s expenditure is misguided
    – Expenditure per capita on the retired elderly must be reduced; there is plenty of ‘low hanging fruit’
    – Some degree courses and ‘Universities’ might be chopped due to lack of demand. It grieves me to think of youngsters borrowing £27000 for a worthless degree
    – I think we need to know now whether HS2 will produce a financial return (not an economic one); what is the fares policy and who is HS2 for?
    – Should not increased airport capacity (including new runways) be financed by the airlines and the air passengers?

  25. Atlas
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, the man has an ego to rival his predecessor in No 10.

  26. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Gordon Brown’s economic record is mixed but we should never forget that it was he personally who kept UK out of the Euro and for that he deserves our thanks.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 18, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Why did he do that?

  27. Monty
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    How ironic, that the party who ushered in millions of immigrants (words left out), is now finding itself utterly swamped by (words left out) entryists bursting through a weakness in the border, determined to shove aside the (locals/members ed) and remake the party in it’s own image. Labour’s own Camp of the Saints now outnumbers the long term residents of labourland, so control of the party name, resources, funds, will fall into the hands of the usurpers. The traditional union paymasters are already lined up behind Corbachev. Even if the guy manages to lose the leadership election, it will be impossible to (remove ed) the Trots, Marxists, Leninists, out of the population, now they own the territory. In fact they could start throwing out the centrists.

  28. Jerry
    Posted August 18, 2015 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Some people, perhaps the majority (if one considers the popular vote), might suggest that Mr Brown’s rambling comments could have been just as much about the Tory party leadership as they have been looking for a credible leader (and thus cabinet) since 1997, having lost four elections in a row and only winning at the fifth attempt [1] because the Labour parties policies were not left-wing enough, meaning they lost Scotland to the SNP and many votes to the Greens in England, whilst losing other votes to both PC and UKIP, the latter due to Ed’s refusal to countenance a Brexit referendum, another policy of the old old left-wing.

    Best get all your usual attack-dog style anti “Nu-Labour” entries out in the next three weeks or so John, as after that JC (if elected, as seems likely) and The Labour Party might start agreeing with your comments, whilst pointing out how the Blairites ‘were following failed Tory(-lite) policies’. TINA is dead, politics could, almost certainly will, become very interesting again.

    [1] not to mention that the Tories only won in 1992 because Kinnock messed up within 90 hours of polling day, due to his silly and un-statesman like behaviour at that Sheffield rally

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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