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After the May Day Flood

Seumas Milne, 5 June 1997

... initial accumulation of worthwhile, but mostly marginal, gestures. The first was the decision by Gordon Brown to hand responsibility for monetary policy over to unelected officials at the Bank of England – supposedly balanced by the subsequent removal of the Bank’s unhappy role in regulating financial services. This was presumably the kind of thing ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Running Out of Time, 8 January 2015

... and the unreality of time). Steve Richards – a pseudonym, no relation to the biographer of Gordon Brown – may or may not still be in hiding in Dallas; Chris Griscom has latterly retreated to her Light Institute in New Mexico. Nobody of any significance has materialised to replace them. Whatever happened to all the magicians and the ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: Brexit and the SNP, 3 November 2016

... calling an independence referendum – ‘Bring it on,’ she said – but she was slapped down by Gordon Brown, under the advice of Alexander’s brother Douglas. Within months she was out of office, forced to resign after failing to declare a £950 donation from a Jersey-based businessman. For the SNP, even defeat has turned out to be a blessing: within ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Hanging out at River Cottage HQ, 14 December 2006

... authenticity – foraging in the hedgerows, ethical food shopping – that would seriously trouble Gordon Brown or David Cameron, both happy to make green gestures but steadfastly wary of state action to enforce restrictions on personal freedom or curb corporate power. ‘We’ve all got our roles to play, in terms of the choices we make as ...

The Money

Adam Shatz: What the War is Costing, 6 March 2008

... estimate rises to almost $5 trillion.* And that’s just the cost to the United States. Gordon Brown reserved £1 billion for the war. Britain has now spent more than £5 billion on ‘direct operating expenditures’ in Iraq, and Stiglitz and Bilmes predict that by 2010 the cost of the war will exceed £20 billion. Some of this money has come ...

Against the Current

Paul Rogers: British Sea Power, 6 February 2020

... carriers to replace the three small Invincible-class ships.This was effected under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and, after many delays and much cost inflation, the navy now has its two super-carriers, the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, both equipped with the hugely expensive American F-35 strike aircraft: single-engine planes designed for ground ...

Short Cuts

Tariq Ali: So much for England, 23 January 2020

... not be underplayed, it’s worth remembering that the party’s share of the vote was lower under Gordon Brown in 2010 and Ed Miliband in 2015. In terms of seats and numbers, the Conservatives did worse in both 1997 and 2001. The liberal commentariat that was hoping that the Lib Dems would replace Labour as the main party of opposition must be even more ...

Enemies of Promise

Angus Calder, 2 March 1989

Breach of Promise: Labour in Power 1964-1970 
by Clive Ponting.
Hamish Hamilton, 433 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12683 5
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James Maxton 
by Gordon Brown.
Fontana, 336 pp., £4.95, February 1988, 0 00 637255 4
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Forward! Labour Politics in Scotland 1888-1988 
edited by Ian Donnachie, Christopher Harvie and Ian Wood.
Polygon, 184 pp., £19.50, January 1989, 0 7486 6001 1
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... with us, beaming serenely at the back of mat throng in the People’s Palace. In this context, Gordon Brown’s biography of Maxton, now out in paperback, is a brave venture. Maxton did indeed try to ‘save the children’, with furious oratory at Westminster (sneered at as ‘pink’ by Maclean back home). He told how his own wife had lost her life ...

Make enemies and influence people

Ross McKibbin: Why Vote Labour?, 20 July 2000

... to attack those institutions which have to live with the consequences of their parsimony. Thus Gordon Brown, who has done almost as much as any man to keep poorer children out of the universities, blames the universities for excluding poorer children. There is no evidence that such attacks have done the Government any electoral good at all. To spend ...
Stafford Cripps: A Political Life 
by Simon Burgess.
Gollancz, 374 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 575 06565 6
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... When the Guardian covered the recent Budget, it had a lot of fun unpacking the surprises sprung by Gordon Brown in the course of his demonstration that ‘all this prudence is for a purpose.’ The point was that his ‘updated Protestant work ethic’ offered rewards both for individuals and for the nation as a whole, in the form of tax cuts and increases in public spending ...

More ‘out’ than ‘on’

Glen Newey: Chris Mullin’s Diaries, 27 August 2009

A View from the Foothills: The Diaries of Chris Mullin 
by Chris Mullin.
Profile, 590 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84668 223 0
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... survived in office after ditching his mistress via text message – it’s hard to imagine Gordon Brown getting away with that. But now and again, one hears a keening strain from the old country. On the Alexanderinkatu recently a dress shop was enticing passers-by with ‘Things Can Only Get Better’, the D:Ream chantalong which Labour ran as its ...

Family History

Miles Taylor: Tony Benn, 25 September 2003

Free at Last: Diaries 1991-2001 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 738 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 09 179352 1
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Free Radical: New Century Essays 
by Tony Benn.
Continuum, 246 pp., £9.95, May 2003, 9780826465962
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... spent force. Voted off the NEC in 1993, he could only watch as first John Smith and then Blair and Gordon Brown modernised the Party. That they did so from Millbank Tower, built on the site of the house in which Benn was born, added pathos to the triumph of New Labour over old. The fate of the Bennite Left under New Labour underlines the point: stalwarts ...

Wolves in the Drawing Room

Neal Ascherson: The SNP, 2 June 2011

... happened if any of its best and brightest – Robin Cook, Douglas Alexander, Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, even John Smith – had stayed in Scotland to lead the party and the devolved government at Holyrood? Only Donald Dewar took the train back north and became first minister of Scotland in 1999. It would be good to think that John Smith, who ...


David Runciman: Blair Hawks His Wares, 31 March 2016

Broken Vows: Tony Blair – The Tragedy of Power 
by Tom Bower.
Faber, 688 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 0 571 31420 1
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... might come next. Blair felt he was really getting things done at the point when his struggle with Gordon Brown was over. But it wasn’t because he had worked out how to deal with an obstructive rival; it was because he had ultimately been defeated by him. He was liberated by having little left to lose. Obama has been increasingly willing to assert his ...

The Reshuffle and After

Ross McKibbin: Why Brown should Resign, 25 May 2006

... would be to keep spending, forget the reforms and shut up: something Hewitt might tell Blair and Brown if she can summon the nerve. The Clarke affair is nastier and shows the government, the prime minister and the political elite generally in about as bad a light as possible. It was probably inevitable that the Home Office would eventually undo so many ...

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