Gordon Brown's mixed legacy - The Globe and Mail
The Prince of Wales and Gordon Brown have met secretly in Scotland and close working relationship as the heir to the throne develops his role as "shadow The meeting explains why Mr Brown did not accompany the Queen and the particularly the Prince's Trust, which has helped more than , Gordon Brown entered Number 10 Downing Street on 27 June . ensure that the Queen would be in London if Brown needed to ask . Many relationships in the Brown court were permanently poisoned by this calamitous episode. Alexander and Miliband would never again trust Balls and McBride. James Gordon Brown (born February 20, ) is a British politician who was relationships between growth and investment, and people and infrastructure. I have just accepted the invitation of Her Majesty The Queen to form a Government . What has become clear is that Britain cannot trust the Conservatives to run.
As Barack Obama said only yesterday, doing nothing is not an option. The Conservative Party always opposed the fiscal stimulus; they want to cut now the support we are giving to jobs, homes and businesses. I take full responsibility for what happened. That's why the person who was responsible went immediately.
On the Damian McBride email scandal reported by The Daily Telegraph " Brown 'sorry' over e-mail slurs ", BBC News, 16 April A few days ago they said they want to tear up the budget, impose deep cuts immediately and accused us of moral cowardice for not doing so. Of course, typically of them, they called for big cuts before they called for small cuts before they called for modest cuts before they called for big cuts yet again. So their biggest claim to be the party of change is that they are the Party that keeps changing their minds.
I agree with Nick. That was a disaster. Should never have put me with that woman. Whose idea was that? It was Sue I think. They the media will use it. What did she say? Everything, she was just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour. I mean it's ridiculous. What was that noise? Comments caught on microphone following a confrontation with Gillian Duffy, a Rochdale pensioner who asked a question about Brown's stance on immigration.
The incident was later dubbed Bigotgate by the media. Above all, I want to thank Sarah for her unwavering support as well as her love, and for her own service to our country. I thank my sons John and Fraser for the love and joy they bring to our lives. And as I leave the second most important job I could ever hold, I cherish even more the first — as a husband and father.
Thank you and goodbye. Show dignity and pride. Let us have confidence that our values are indeed the values of the majority of the people of Scotland. That our principles of sharing and cooperation are far better and mean more to them than separation and splitting apart. Brown's furious response to Blair after PM reneged on his promises to quit last year", Sunday Telegraph, 9 Januaryp.
According to Brown's biographer Robert Peston, Brown made this remark to Tony Blair in October when Blair announced his intention to fight for a third term of government, after telling Brown he intended to stand down.
About[ edit ] The next election will be a flyweight versus a heavyweight. Brown presented Obama with a pen-holder carved from the timbers of a 19th-century slave ship; Obama got Brown 25 DVDs — "all great films without question," notes McBride, "but definitely a present with something of the Christmas Eve run to the petrol station about it. InCameron and Brown were speaking on the phone after having had to cancel their holidays because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.
But you really have to go away first. You don't say a word about that to anyone. Nevertheless McBride says he and Brown always took the threat of Cameron seriously. From the moment Cameron emerged from the Tory leadership contest, the pair were worried. McBride says he rejected "the main Labour attack lines" of focusing on Cameron and Osborne's poshness, preferring to try to paint them as "incompetent and weak", and as "kids" who weren't up to the job.
That approach had a double value: In one, Labour's lead was cut from 11 points to four. In another, a point lead shrivelled to three. In a third, the Tories had closed an eight-point gap since the start of the conference season to get neck and neck. The "crunch meeting" took place at Number 10 on Friday 5 October. Early that morning, in a phone conversation with a close Cabinet ally, Brown was "still going for it" but sounded anxious about what he was going to hear from his pollsters.
The inner court gathered in a ground floor room at Number 10 with a view of Downing Street through its bow-fronted window. Ed Balls was the only absentee. Stan Greenberg put his laptop down on the table and fired it up.
Sue Nye then brought in the Prime Minister. Brown sat opposite the pollster, who positioned the laptop between them so that the Prime Minister could squint into the screen.
Everyone else stood about, shifting nervously. Alexander and Livermore, who had already been shown the polling, looked grim. Greenberg presented a gloomy analysis of fieldwork from key marginal seats. Labour had lost ground to the Tories whose promise on inheritance tax appeared to be responsible for much of the dramatic swing to them, especially in marginal seats in the Midlands and the south.
The "balance of risk" was that Labour would achieve "a small win". Looking across at Brown, Greenberg said: If the campaign didn't go well, it could be worse: Brown looked at the pollster: Alexander shifted towards the antis.
Brown walked out saying he was late for a meeting on Burma. Once he was gone, they had a franker debate. They could say in his absence what they could not say in his presence: But to nearly all in the room it was already obvious that "Gordon had gone cold on the whole idea".
Gordon Brown's mixed legacy
The inner circle reconvened that afternoon, this time in Brown's office. No one expressed a clear view. No one wanted responsibility for the decision. Everyone avoided his gaze. Less than a fortnight since the triumphalist conference and his ill-judged tease about seeing the Queen, he was going to have to retreat.
He asked Balls to walk with him in the garden to discuss how they might limit the damage. By breakfast-time on Saturday, Brown had absolutely concluded that he would not risk it. The next question was how to announce his climbdown to the world. By Saturday morning, senior members of the Cabinet were in the loop and word of the cancellation of the election was reaching political journalists. One troubled member of the Cabinet observed to me that morning: Brown's court started to devour itself as members of the inner circle attempted to dump culpability for the farrago on each other.
To try to distance Brown and Balls from the debacle, Damian McBride spent Saturday afternoon on the phone to journalists of Sunday newspapers. Several reporters were successfully persuaded that they were at fault for pushing Brown towards an election and then getting last-minute cold feet. As McBride rubbished other members of the Prime Minister's inner circle to reporters, he was caught in the act by Livermore who yelled at the spin doctor: Many relationships in the Brown court were permanently poisoned by this calamitous episode.
Alexander and Miliband would never again trust Balls and McBride. A disenchanted Livermore, who was least skilful in deflecting blame for a debacle that had many authors, left Number 10 six months later. The fratricidal spinning and the interview fiasco added tactical foolishness to strategic stupidity. Brown was supposed to be the great chess player of politics, the man who always thought a dozen moves ahead.
Gordon Brown - Wikiquote
The legend was exploded that weekend when the supposed grandmaster checkmated himself. Days later, Alistair Darling rose to deliver a pre-election financial package when there was no longer an election. On the Saturday that Brown called it off, the two men agreed that they should pull the inheritance tax cut hastily cobbled together in imitation of the Tories. In the words of a Treasury minister: A dismayed Darling was told by his officials that it was too late: The Chancellor's wife confided to friends: When he addressed MPs, Darling made the announcement on inheritance tax with not a drop of conviction.
The most he would subsequently say in defence of it was that it had "some merit" — damning with the faintest of praise what was supposed to be the centrepiece of his first big occasion as Chancellor. Sitting beside him in the Commons, the true author had a glint in his eye, but it was swiftly apparent that Brown had again been too tactical for his own good. Rather than trump his opponents with this manoeuvre, it looked as though Labour was lamely playing catch-up.
Both the mini-Budget and the accompanying spending review were all too obviously cobbled together on the back of a now redundant campaign leaflet.
Darling, who received a highly negative press for his first important outing as Chancellor, became angry with Brown for forcing him to do it, cross with himself for not standing up to the Prime Minister and determined to be stronger in future. The PBR was both a significant political error which reduced confidence in the Government's decision-making and a financial misjudgment. Expensive games were played with inheritance tax rather than taking measures to prepare for the economic storm already being signalled by the markets.
After the debacle of the phantom election, what the Government most needed was to be calm, solid and purposeful. This episode instead made it look frantic, hollow and rudderless. Brown, the master of events a month before, had now put himself at the mercy of them. Alistair Darling was at his home in Edinburgh on the morning of Saturday 10 November, when the phone rang. His Private Secretary broke it to him that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs had somehow lost two computer discs containing the confidential personal and banking information of more than 20 million people.
The Chancellor swore to himself. Darling instantly grasped that this was "really very, very bad" for a Government still reeling from the double debacles of the phantom election and the Pre-Budget Report. Gordon Brown was so enraged that he leapt across the room. Grabbing a startled Kelly by the lapels of his jacket, Brown snarled: It is a short walk from Number 11 to Number 10, but a giant leap for one man. The Brown team had been adept at destabilising, guerrilla warfare against Blair. When they were the insurgents, they could pick the issues where they wanted a fight and ignore others.
This left them underequipped for the different demands of being responsible for an entire government and having to battle on many fronts at once. As Chancellor, Brown had often been able to do his Macavity trick of disappearing in a crisis. As Prime Minister, he could no longer play the mysterious cat.
There is no hiding place at Number He was on a steep learning curve. But since experience was supposed to be the reason he got the job, inexperience was not an alibi Brown could ever use.
He sounded surprised to make the discovery that "hundreds of things pass your desk every week". He did not excel at multi-tasking. His preference and his forte were to concentrate on one big thing at a time. He had largely been able to do that at the Treasury, where he could focus on the four or five major events of a Chancellor's year.
Prime Ministers can get hit by four or five major events in a month, even a week. Torrential volumes of business flow through Downing Street, much of it demanding instant attention.
Civil servants at the Treasury had adapted to and covered for Brown's chaotic and intermittently intense way of making decisions. Officials at Number 10 and the Cabinet Office were at a loss how to deal with his working habits. Confronted with difficult decisions, one senior civil servant found: But quite often the options just get worse.
Geoff Hoon summarises it well: The difference is that Tony broadly let you get on with it. He wasn't much interested unless something went wrong. In contrast, Gordon wants to interfere in every-thing.
He's temperamentally incapable of delegating responsibility. So he drives himself demented. Nor was he good at masking it from opponents, who could tell that he was "just overwhelmed by the pressures of being Prime Minister," says Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader and Treasury spokesman.
Even the basic housekeeping wasn't being done. Letters from important people, including MPs, went unanswered.
Prince Charles secret talks with Gordon Brown
An aide to one senior minister lamented that when they called Number 10 "no-one answers the phone". There were cases of foreign embassies not being told whether a visiting leader was going to be granted a meeting with the Prime Minister and dates being muddled up.
The Foreign Office was excited, but could not get Brown interested and there was a gratuitous snub to the "very offended" French. Routine decisions took weeks to process.
Cabinet ministers and their senior officials began to speak with extraordinary vehemence about what one called "the sheer dysfunctionality" of Number They did not know the half of it.
On the account of one civil servant: Gordon Brown's morale sank lower. We're still the same people who were very popular two months ago and now we're besieged.
One of his most senior and longest serving aides says: He went to ground. He was a lonely figure. He was consumed with remorse and guilt for the mistakes he made over the phantom election. He became even more temperamental about his coverage in the media, obsessively monitoring the press headlines and the prominence he was getting in television news bulletins.
If his speeches and initiatives were ignored or got less coverage than David Cameron, he would "lash out" at those around him. A dark pall descended on the whole building. An official noted that "he surrounded himself with people who amplified his weaknesses rather than compensated for them. There was no camaraderie. It was a quite depressive, introverted, dysfunctional coterie. One veteran of his court says: He was in a permanent state of rage," observes one civil servant.
He never had a nice word to say to anybody. He became notorious within the building for shouting at the duty clerks, bawling at the superbly professional staff who manned the Number 10 switchboard and blowing up at the affectionately regarded "Garden Girls", so called because the room from which they provide Downing Street's secretarial services overlooks the garden.