Monday, October 13, 2008

World to Brown: Yes, Prime Minister

I've read Labour Party press releases which are less positive about Gordon Brown than Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman.

"I should have given props to the British government, which vastly exceeded expectations last week — and has effectively shown the world the way forward." (Worthwhile British Initiative, October 12th)

"Readers ask what I think should be done about the financial crisis. The answer is, what Gordon Brown in doing in Britain." (To do, not to do, 8th October 2008)

"What should be done? The United States and Europe should just say “Yes, prime minister.” The British plan isn’t perfect, but there’s widespread agreement among economists that it offers by far the best available template for a broader rescue effort." (Moment of Truth, 9th October 2008)

...and it's not just his handling of the economic crisis which Krugman likes:

"Britain’s war on poverty has been led by Gordon Brown, the chancellor of the exchequer and Mr. Blair’s heir apparent. There’s nothing exotic about his policies, many of which are inspired by American models. But in Britain, these policies are carried out with much more determination...

While researching this article, I was startled by the sheer rationality of British policy discussion, as compared with the cynical posturing that passes for policy discourse in George Bush’s America. Instead of making grandiose promises that are quickly forgotten — like Mr. Bush’s promise of “bold action” to confront poverty after Hurricane Katrina — British Labor politicians propose specific policies with well-defined goals. And when actual results fall short of those goals, they face the facts rather than trying to suppress them and sliming the critics." (Helping the Poor, the British way, 25th December 2006 also here)

[I'm sure that last bit can't be right, because I read on the internet that ZaNuLiebore

In his conference speech, Gordon Brown said that the present time is 'no time for a novice'. I think Krugman gets closer to the real issue in that last paragraph. What Gordon Brown and Barack Obama have in common is that they are (for the most part) serious and thoughtful men of the centre-left who are committed to rational, evidence-based decision making - and now more than ever, that is what both Britain and America need.

The problem with David Cameron is not so much that he is a 'novice', but that just like George Bush and John McCain, he combines right-wing instincts with cynical posturing - whether it is inheritance tax, welfare reform, the environment, foreign policy...

2 Comments:

At 9:00 am , Blogger Letters From A Tory said...

Gordon Brown 'facing the facts' about child poverty? Dream on. He will never meet the targets he has set Labour, and he has used a clever manipulation of the data to make it seem that children are coming out of poverty when we in fact have more people in deep poverty than ever before.

 
At 3:20 pm , Anonymous tim f said...

What will the Tories do to beat poverty, LFAT? Other than bribe families to stay together and hope that magically solves every problem from crime to poverty?

 

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