Gordon Brown 822

I have a guilty political secret.  I do not detest Gordon Brown.  That is such an unfashionable opinion that I don’t really expect any comments at all to agree with it.  And yes, I do realise that he went along with the Iraq War and all the other horrors of the Blair era. Interestingly, I don’t remember the question of what Gordon Brown really thought about Iraq ever being discussed; he deserves condemnation for having not tried to stop it, and perhaps he was indeed an enthusiast.  And I am well aware that the Private Finance Initiative is a terrible disaster, and that he oversaw creeping privatisation in the health services, and – worst of all – the introduction of tuition fees.

And yet I cannot dislike him.  Probably because I just know too many people who have  known him through decades, who are themselves good people, and who like him.  Around Edinburgh and Fife you will find it hard to find people who actually know him who share the hatred and contempt he seems to arouse among the political and media classes of London.

As a general rule I do not like or dislike people according to their politics, but rather according to the sincerity of their political beliefs and the goodwill with which they hold them.  I am sure Anders Breivik is sincere in his political beliefs, but those are lacking in goodwill. Sincerity is not enough – humanity and inclusiveness are also important.

There are one nation Tories who seem to me perfectly decent people, genuinely trying to do good.  I don’t hate them because their political conclusions on the best way to do good are different to mine.  Gordon Brown I put rather in the same category – I feel he was trying to do good for ordinary people, he just got it wrong.

Blair is in a whole different category again – insincere, absolutely focused on attaining personal power, and with a Messianic belief that what is good for him must be good for the World.  The Guardian is publishing some emails around the Blair Brown rivalry this week.  I don’t care and won’t read them.  But while I see Blair as quite properly damned for eternity to the seventh pit of hell, I don’t think Brown deserves anything worse than North Queensferry.

I have been in Ghana the last 20 days living in a house with no internet connection and working (extremely hard) in an office with virtually no internet connection – not enough to load WordPress.  I hope to get more chance to blog shortly.



822 thoughts on “Gordon Brown

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  • Daniel Rich

    That’s a bit like ‘He slid his opponent’s throat…, politely.’ This also doesn’t reflect W’s solid reasoning of ‘You’re either with or against US in the fight against tremor!’ Yes, never ever underestimate your opponent, but embrace him like a brother? Only after his humiliating defeat has turned him into an equal. Brown hasn’t shown any remorse after his loss [mainly because he hasn’t got an emotional clue, imo], so go and sit with the rest of the losers in that prospering hall of shame around the corner.

  • glenn_uk

    It’s unfashionable, certainly, but I’ve always rather thought the same. He’s possibly a flawed man, very probably not the right sort of person to be PM. But a bad man? Not at all. In fact, one of his major problems was that he cared very deeply and personally about the problems facing people in the country, and simply couldn’t cope with it all.

    Recall his repeated, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry… I’m so sorry” to the bereaved mother of one of our soldiers in Iraq, which she’d taped for the tabloid filth when he telephoned her to give his condolences. He was clearly besides himself with genuine remorse that his government’s policies had caused her grief.

    An inability to delegate seemed another of his flaws. Problems were coming in by the minute, and he became overwhelmed. Blair seemed to rise above it all, secure in the knowledge that everything he’d done was by definition for the best possible motives, so he was therefore blameless for anything that resulted. Brown was entirely the opposite in that regard – he agonised over everything, and it pretty much destroyed him.

  • Anon

    Hi Craig, good stuff and good to see you on top form!

    “That is such an unfashionable opinion that I don’t really expect any comments at all to agree with it. 

    Sadly, during your absence, Jon has taken it upon himself to ban Habbabkuk, whose unfashionable opinions were, by the testament of many here who profoundly disagreed with his views, refreshing to the lazy consesus of Mary, Komodo, Fedup, et al, that so frequently prevails during your periods of absence.

    Our good mod Jon has given “English Knight” every conceivable chance, and still he is allowed to post his openly anti-Semitic diatribes here, whilst Habbabkuk remains banned for one single contravention, the context leading up to which Jon deliberately ignores.

    I would therefore ask of you to reinstate Habbabkuk forthwith.

  • Villager

    Glenn_uk: “An inability to delegate seemed another of his flaws.”

    Especially after the recent historic vote in Parliament, I’m still rather glad that it was Brown’s protege Miliband that was elected to lead the Labour Party, rather than Blair’s.

  • glenn_uk

    Villager: I knew Ed Miliband leaned toward the Brown camp rather than the Blairites, and that David M was definitely Blair’s stooge, but I didn’t know that Ed Miliband was actually a protege of Brown. Interesting, thanks.

  • Sandy

    Mr Murray, thank you for that.

    It seemed to me that Gordon Brown was (and is) intellectually streets ahead of Tony Blair. So much so that he knew enough to realise just how much he still didn’t know. As a result this led to indecision whereas Blair, with his simplistic outlook on life, had no such uncertainties.

    What a shame that, after eventually becoming PM, he didn’t feel able to purge the Blairites from his government and give a fresh start and a change of direction

  • Villager

    “As a general rule I do not like or dislike people according to their politics, but rather according to the sincerity of their political beliefs and the goodwill with which they hold them. I am sure Anders Breivik is sincere in his political beliefs, but those are lacking in goodwill. Sincerity is not enough – humanity and inclusiveness are also important.”

    Good to know Craig, and good also to know that you are keeping well.

    Spoken like a true diplomat and i don’t mean that euphemistically. More in the sense of a resounding balance of a holistic attitude of mind.

    While i know you believe in that “inclusiveness”, assuming goodwill, utterly and completely, unfortunately in your absence your Moderator does not seem to have been applying the same philosophy here consistently. One regular commenter, who consistently received an extraordinary amount of abuse over the last ten months, Habbabkuk for his contrarian views was handed, without warning, the extreme decision of a ‘ban’. As recently as yesterday, well after the event, Jon recorded a snark referring to some others as a “tricycling triumvirate” in his rather overzealous sense of camaraderie with the many. If i recollect correctly, you once confided that you had never actually enforced a ban, even though you had on a couple of *very rare* occasions suggested so.

    In summary, I might put Jon “rather in the same category – I feel he was trying to do good for ordinary people, he just got it wrong.” I would urge you to review this extreme decision in the longer-term, holistic interests of your blog.

  • Villager

    Glenn, i’m no expert but it is an impression i have held. Wiki states “As Prime Minister, Gordon Brown appointed Miliband as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 28 June 2007. He was subsequently promoted to the new post of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, a position he held from 3 October 2008 to 11 May 2010.”

    So perhaps there’s something there in a wider sense?

  • cynicalHighlander

    I will disagree with you Craig on this one when one repeatedly goes back to his ubringing to support his assertion of morality shows his inability to act in this way. Look how he has tried to get attention on the Dalgetty Bay radiation problems since he left high office even though this problem has been known about when hew was in government and did sweet nothing about it, nothing more than an attention seeker.

  • Mary

    Oh dear, the trolls, aka Moaning Minnies, are back and crying to Daddy. It has been so refreshingly peaceful on the other thread.

  • Richard

    I don’t hate (or detest) Brown either. But then – unusually! – I don’t hate Blair. I almost feel sorry for the useless little prick. He’s ruined the life chances of countless people in this country before you even start to count the ones overseas he’s maimed and killed, and for what? A few years with his millions, the sprog at Yale (or Harvard or wherever it was), the poppet at the Sorebum and nothing to shag but Cherie! You can’t seriously believe it was worth it. Shortly, he’ll have to face the music as we all must. I’m glad I’ve got my karma and not his.

    As for his mate, the best Chancellor we’ve ever had, he’s just a run-of-the-mill politician with an over-blown idea of his own ability – nothing unusual there; chuck a stick at Westminster and you’ll hit six of the useless buggers. Otherwise, he’s probably a decent enough bloke. What it is about the political profession which seems to pre-select for prats, tossers, megalomaniacs and homicidal kleptocrats, I don’t know, but we’re the real fools – we keep electing them. Look what followed the dynamic duo: Clegg, Cameron and Verybland! Everybody looking forward to the next election? Choose away!

  • Anon

    “It has been so refreshingly peaceful on the other thread.”

    Zionists, freemasons, Jewish trickery, Auschwitz denial, and your own Kabbalah bracelets.

    And that on page 12 alone.

    Yes, refreshingly peaceful, Mary!

  • Mary

    On Gordon Brown, the Zionost, at the time of Cast Lead.

    ‘Gordon Brown, a self declared Zionist responded by deliberately inverting the facts about the massacre. “I am deeply concerned by continuing missile strikes from Gaza on Israel and by Israel’s response today,”

    Notice how Brown reverses the sequence of events. In reality the Palestinians were besieged, illegally by Israel. The Israelis stopped even basic humanitarian supplies entering Gaza. The Palestinians responded with crude missiles.

    MPACUK have long championed the cause of the Palestinians. People will not be occupied without resisting with force. The Palestinians will never be stopped for their quest for justice. NOW IS THE TIME TO FIGHT.

    When the General election comes ask yourselves how friendly is Gordon Brown to the Muslims? Also make sure you know and understand what the racist ideology Zionism is and what threat it constitutes to Muslims. Gordon Brown admits being a Zionist, he should be held to account for his racism.’


    Also a patron of the JNF. No words.

    Brown takes on JNF role
    By Daniella Peled

    The Jewish Chronicle, 27/07/2007

    “In a speech to Labour Friends of Israel in April, he [British Prime Minister Gordon Brown] recounted how his late father, a Church of Scotland minister, had taught him about ‘the trials and tribulations of the Jewish people, about the enormous suffering and loss during the Holocaust, as well as the extraordinary struggle he described to me of people to create this magnificent homeland’ ”

    JNF UK, one of Anglo-Jewry’s leading charities, has secured Gordon Brown as its latest patron, the JC can reveal.

    The Prime Minister accepted the role following an invitation from JNF UK president Gail Seal, who wrote conveying her good wishes the day after he took office.

    In a letter to Mrs Seal, the PM responded that “your congratulations and good wishes are very much appreciated” and that he was “delighted to accept your offer to become a patron of JNF UK”.

    A spokesman for Mr Brown told the JC: “The Prime Minister supports a number of charities and has agreed to become a patron of the Jewish National Fund UK in order to encourage their work to promote charitable projects for everyone who lives in Israel.”

    Mrs Seal said she was “very proud that Gordon Brown has agreed to become patron of JNF UK. This will enhance what is already a close relationship with the UK Jewish community, and help us progress in our tremendously successful campaign to bring new communities to the Negev.”

    The PM joins other JNF UK patrons including Tony Blair, the Conservative leader, David Cameron, as well as Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, who is said to be a close friend of Mr Brown.

    JNF UK raises £15 million a year, intended to promote “exclusively charitable projects in Israel”. Its fundraising events range from London-Israel plane rallies to the Green Sunday “telethon”.

    The charity has faced its share of controversy. Currently, it risks being dragged into a storm surrounding a proposed Israeli law which would restrict the sale of JNF-owned land to non-Jews. The bill passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset last week.


  • fedup

    Don’t know why Gordon Brown was the target of the Murdoch smears? The fact that he was getting slated and constantly snipped at, should be a clue that he was not playing the game as per his instructions.

    However Brown played the game nonetheless, he should have his reasons, and perhaps one day we will get to know why?

  • Anon

    “WHY was Kanye West wearing a Kabbalah bracelet?”

    I don’t know, Mary. Perhaps you can inform us of what relevance this has to his whoring himself out to the Kazakh regime?

  • lysias


    The problem is the system of electing officials. It selects defective personality types.

    Far better to do what the Athenians did. Except for the few positions demanding real leadership ability or expertise (those can still be elected or appointed,) choose at random (by lot) from the whole body of citizens for all jobs (like legislative jobs) that do not demand particular talents). Then the personality types chosen will be no worse than the average in a population.

  • Villager

    “It has been so refreshingly peaceful on the other thread.”

    If that is so, perhaps it is a bubble encompassing a lot of one-hand clapping and head-nodding? Surely that is not the real world, wish it were, where human consciousness itself is very divided? If one is looking for peace per se, perhaps one should go and meditate in the Himalayas?

  • eddie-g

    I have this same guilty secret. History will hopefully treat him fairly. He has his flaws, but he is more sympathetic than most.

  • glenn_uk

    Fedup: I rather think Murdoch had done a deal with Cameron. Brown was suspicious of Murdoch, did not like Blair’s fawning acceptance of him as kingmaker, and was inclined to block his further expansion into UK broadcasting. Having taken the Murdoch shilling, Cameron enjoyed favourable coverage, while Brown could do nothing right whatsoever.

    Things that Brown did do right – including a substantial arresting of the global financial meltdown – earned him no credit whatsoever. On the contrary, he was blamed for the global downturn, as if it had happened to Britain in isolation.

    I don’t think a party has yet won a British election with the Murdoch media empire opposing it.

  • Itamaraty

    Unlike you Craig, I have not met anyone who knows Gordon Brown, but I think he is a good man. Unfortunately not the stuff that PMs are made of that’s for sure. I don’t feel guilty about this view however, in fact I’m proud to stick my head above the parapet and speak out in support of Gordon Brown against so many mindless critics who don’t recognise sincerity when it’s staring them in the face.

  • nevermind

    Nice words about a yes sayer with a dark past, Craig, good to hear you are alive and well. a friend of ( diverting British foreign affairs) Israel. but with what is building up now, despite desperate Osborne’s attempt at housing bubble 3, its very likely that Labour gets a majority next time, leaving the Lib dems in Limbo and a smattering of UKIP MP’s in Parliament.

    And absolutely nothing will change!.

    Gnash, more kayne West.

    Saw his performance on Jools Holland and compared to the kings of Leon, his act of ball scratching was over hyped, stereotype, middle of the road hip-hop.

  • Jon

    Anon, there’s been no anti-Jewish material posted from Krishnamurky as far as I’ve seen. If you wish to give a time/date reference, I’ll look into it, as usual.

    Mary, I don’t think there’s anything untoward about West wearing a Kabbalah bracelet. It’s seems de rigueur for celebrities of various stripes to do this for a bit – Madonna did so many years back (and how I came by that useless piece of knowledge I’ll never know). I should think there is little explanation for his glossing the regime in Kazakhstan other than money and ignorance.

    As for Brown, I’m in two minds. He certainly had some self-awareness, just as Blair had a total absence of it, and with that self-knowledge came not a little self-doubt. But the infighting at the time requires two tango-dancers, so – amateur psychology alert – I’m inclined to see sociopathic traits in the pair of them.

    I concede that a politician in any recent Labour cabinet has their work cut out – in a party that is meant to represent the Left, they have all the forces of capitalism pitted against them. There are always positions on which a progressive minister will have to give way – the question is how much does one have to give way before one has become part of the machine they’re raging against? One of Iraq, tuition fees, PFI, the dismantling of the NHS or swinging to the far Right on immigration might be understandable, just. But all of the above? How can we explain someone “just trying to do the right thing for ordinary people” if they got all of those wrong, even if we accept that modern politics requires horse-trading?

    Richard, Blair will retire in a sea of luxury – probably literally, given his fondness for oligarch’s yachts. He’ll likely keep on insisting we need to bomb Iran, or whoever else his preference for humanitarianism decides to select next. But he’s rather been sidelined, hasn’t he? I think aside from his international Middle East Envoy duties (ahem) his only role in the Labour Party is to keep the Millenium Dome clean, or some other white elephant project. In a sense, neoliberalism has rather washed its hands of him, and if he gets a million quid every year for grinning at some board meetings, the establishment will be more than happy. The one thing that is most unlikely to happen – much to Blair’s own disbelief, I’d warrant – is that he can come back into politics in a meaningful way. I’m not sure it should be possible to refer to his shameful record in such an abstract way, but his brand is rather tarnished.

  • fedup

    I am so not with it! I had to search who West is. (the only West I know is Adam aka ye Olde Batman)

    I remember Nicholas Soames aka the wardrobe with a key sticking out, was trying to be with it, and was on the telly going on about listening to Dido ( I had to search for that one too).


    Glenn_uk, very true, but also a lot had to do with bLiar and his team of hit men who were exacting revenge on Brown.

  • Anon

    Hi Jon!

    “Anon, there’s been no anti-Jewish material posted from Krishnamurky as far as I’ve seen. If you wish to give a time/date reference, I’ll look into it, as usual.”

    Always happy to oblige.

    Krishnamurky 29 Aug, 2013 – 6:13 am: “Really the only way the Synagogue of Satans chosen delusions may be cured is a long course of rib-cage anorexia, preferably on an open top cattle car.”

    [Mod/Jon: thanks; two items excised from that date]

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