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“People will just start breaking the windows”

John Rentoul

gordon brown 300x225 People will just start breaking the windowsI thought this was a passage from Damian McBride’s serialisation today that stood out. Gordon Brown in 2008:

On the evening before he was due to announce the part-nationalisation of UK banks, he looked ravaged. He closed his office door, sat on the couch and said in almost a whisper: ‘We’ve just got to get ourselves ready in case it goes wrong tomorrow. And I mean really wrong.

‘Even if there’s a panic in another country, people will see it on the TVs, and they’ll start panicking here. It’s got to be given a chance to work.’

I said: ‘But people will give it a chance . . .’

‘You don’t understand,’ he said sternly. ‘If the banks are shutting their doors, and the cashpoints aren’t working, and people go to Tesco and their cards aren’t being accepted, the whole thing will just explode.

‘If you can’t buy food or petrol or medicine for your kids, people will just start breaking the windows and helping themselves. And as soon as people see that on TV, that’s the end, because everyone will think that’s OK now, that’s just what we all have to do. It’ll be anarchy. That’s what could happen tomorrow. I’m serious, I’m serious . . . We’d have to think: do we have curfews, do we put the Army on the streets, how do we get order back?

‘I’d have to resign — but I couldn’t go if there was just carnage out there: someone would have to be in charge.’

Whatever else, Gordon Brown was a serious leader for serious times.

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  • Pacificweather

    When Mr. Blair put tanks around Heathrow the resultant derision sent them back as soon as they had arrived.


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