“Corrupted by his ambition”

John Rentoul

Brown at 10 final 190x300 Corrupted by his ambitionAdding to the flood of instant history of the Brown government is Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge’s Brown At 10. You would think that we would be sated by now. But no. After Harriet Harman’s abortive goose plot in the Mail on Sunday serialisation, there is more.

I’ve only just started reading it, but some of the on-the-record quotations are quite striking.

Tessa Jowell on Gordon Brown (pxxv):

He was corrupted by his ambition to be prime minister and it distorted everything that he did and said.

Andrew Turnbull (former Cabinet Secretary) on Brown:

As someone who wrecked somebody else’s premiership, he was always going to have problems with his own. His core failure was his inability to be a team player, his inability to share, and his need always to be right – the clever boy in the class.

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  • HJ777

    Brown inherited strong growth from the previous Conservative government. Eventually, he kept it going only by excessive borrowing (much of it off the books) and by engineering a credit-fuelled boom- which, as everyone now knows, was unsustainable.

    Overall, annual growth under the last Labour government was substantially less than under the Conservative government that preceded it. This is despite a huge increase in population caused by immigration and rapid global growth during its period of government.

  • Guest

    Substantially untrue. Too early for the more direct word …

    And what is more the UK managed to avert the USA led recession of 2001, whoever heard of a Tory Government avoiding any recession?

  • HJ777

    The facts I presented are easily verifiable.

    There was a very mild world recession in 2001 which Britain narrowly avoided (although the economy did slow substantially) simply because it was in such good shape and the public finances so strong from the previous Tory government.

    From then on, Brown just continued to rack up the borrowing. This is a matter of historical record.

    Brown inherited a small trade surplus, steadily growing manufacturing output (which grew by 20% under the previous Tory government) and government debt falling as a percentage of GDP. He left us with huge (and growing) debt, a huge trade deficit and manufacturing output down by over 10% from the level he inherited. He was a disaster.

  • Guest

    Britain’s reserves were wisely diversified, which has worked well, no Black Wednesdays. Had Howe and Thatcher diversified in the early ’80s even those who imagine this is a catch as catch can game like their own portfolios would have been happy to see substantial “profits” for most of the subsequent period.Lawson and Lamont both engineered “raids” on pensions, this is a UK treasury practice, and has merits in the situations in which it has been used.Brown DID abolish boom and bust, by which he meant the engineered booms Tory Chancellors – Maudling and Lawson most famously – engineered in hopes of winning elections, and hence the consequent busts afterwards. You may be able to agree that the WW Recession didn’t come into this category? But no matter …Wise to spend to keep growth in train: foolish to cut to increase it: despicable to advocate bust from a position of relative wealth.

  • HJ777

    Incidentally, can you remind me which Labour government ever left power with unemployment lower than when they came to power?

    I’ll save you the trouble – it has never happened.

  • Guest

    A lie in every sense, look it up.

    Pity you feel obliged to copy the lying propaganda of the “noble” Lord Parkinson, whose morality you no doubt seek to emulate.

    No more time for a schmegegge and his schmegeggy now.

  • HJ777

    If it’s a lie, then provide me with an example of which Labour government reduced unemployment.

    It’s the typical reaction of the authoritarian left. If anyone disagrees with you then denounce them as a ‘liar’.

    I don’t think you’re a liar. It’s just that when the facts clearly contradict your political views then your brain really can’t comprehend any idea other than the facts must be ‘lies’.

  • Paul Odtaa

    or the Eton Blues, ‘Call em Dave’, ‘Slasher’ Osborne, Boris etc etc etc etc

  • Duncan McFarlane

    “as somebody who wrecked someone else’s premiership” – as if Blair would have wrecked it any less on his own – and as if “wrecking someone else’s premiership” was Brown’s greatest failing. Of course approving PFIs sucking funds out of the NHS and leading to avoidable deaths, along with approving funding for the Iraq war and all the lives it cost were trivial things compared to Brown’s crime of not supinely agreeing to everything poor Tony Blair said. Blair, who was the real victim here?

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