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Why did he risk it?

Ross McKibbin: Blair, Brown and the US, 3 April 2003

... don’t know what in practice he wants from public policy, and his destructive relationship with Gordon Brown, where the one cancels out the other, frustrates him all the more. The result is that caution and political immobilism have now become instinctive. His last serious intervention in domestic affairs was to declare his opposition to any kind of ...

Into the Second Term

R.W. Johnson: New Labour, 5 April 2001

Servants of the People: The Inside Story of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Hamish Hamilton, 434 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 241 14029 3
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Mandelson and the Making of New Labour 
by Donald Macintyre.
HarperCollins, 638 pp., £6.99, September 2000, 0 00 653062 1
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Mo Mowlam: The Biography 
by Julia Langdon.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 0 316 85304 6
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Ann Widdecombe: Right from the Beginning 
by Nicholas Kochan.
Politico’s, 302 pp., September 2000, 1 902301 55 2
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The Paymaster: Geoffrey Robinson, Maxwell and New Labour 
by Tom Bower.
Simon and Schuster, 272 pp., £17.99, March 2001, 0 7432 0689 4
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The Future of Politics 
by Charles Kennedy.
HarperCollins, 235 pp., £17.99, September 2000, 0 00 710131 7
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... in Euroscepticism from Philip Gould’s focus groups and daily readings of the Sun and the Mail, Gordon Brown’s press secretary, Charlie Whelan, and his economic adviser, Ed Balls, sent the Times a fax hinting at a major policy change while Whelan tried to persuade the Sun to go with the headline ‘Brown Saves ...

The Destruction of the Public Sphere

Ross McKibbin: Brown v. Cameron, 5 January 2006

... That the next general election will be fought by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Leader of the Opposition David Cameron we do know; but how it will be fought we don’t, in part because the present prime minister will not disclose when he intends to go. Furthermore, both Cameron and Brown are in some senses, but for different reasons, unknown quantities ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Climate Change, 5 April 2007

... climate change has made one of its periodic appearances in the headlines, with David Cameron and Gordon Brown each making announcements about what he will do when in office. This amounts to a green beauty contest, with the public in the position of the pen-sucking judges. Cameron first. The Tory leader has hitherto, for all practical purposes, said ...

Little Mercians

Ian Gilmour: Why Kenneth Clarke should lead the Tories, 5 July 2001

... bequeathed to him by Kenneth Clarke, one of the best Chancellors of the Exchequer since the war, Gordon Brown managed a respectable if unspectacular rate of growth without inflation and did so, remarkably, without running into an economic crisis. Yet he was lucky. Until the last few months he was greatly aided by a benign economic climate in the ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: David Davis v. Miss Great Britain, 3 July 2008

... a one-man crusade against himself. The David Davis he is standing as, it turns out, is also the Gordon Brown of October 2007, who – after ‘reaching out’ across the ideological divide and seeking a ‘government that uses all the talents’ – gave a speech to the University of Westminster to set out his stall. ‘I want to talk today about ...

Brown v. Salmond

Colin Kidd: The Scottish Elections, 26 April 2007

... for Edinburgh University Student Publications and edited by the university’s student rector, Gordon Brown. Brown did not succumb to nationalism, of course, but he attempted to reformulate the Labour agenda to take account of Scotland’s national peculiarities. The Red Paper had an immediate impact on party ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... and before we could be thought to have got onto her radar. In February 1989 the shadow chancellor, Gordon Brown, reviewed a collection of essays entitled Thatcherism in a manner that suggested he did not expect her, or her philosophy, to last the pace: ‘When Thatcherism becomes a “wasm”, everyone will wonder what all the fuss was about. Abroad, the ...

Look…

David Runciman: How the coalition was formed, 16 December 2010

22 Days in May: The Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition 
by David Laws.
Biteback, 335 pp., £9.99, November 2010, 978 1 84954 080 3
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... desperation. Britain’s Labour Party, which had spurned at least three opportunities to replace Gordon Brown with someone more palatable, smelled of exhaustion. Laws describes the various meetings that took place in the days following the election between the Lib Dem negotiating team and its Labour counterparts, to see if they could thrash out a ...

Blame Robert Maxwell

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: How Public Inquiries Go Wrong, 17 March 2016

... Aberfan disaster to the death of David Kelly, Profumo to tabloid phone hacking. On 15 June 2009, Gordon Brown announced an inquiry into the Iraq war – to investigate, as Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry’s chairman, put it, ‘the UK’s involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as ...

A Grand and Disastrous Deceit

Philippe Sands: The Chilcot Report, 28 July 2016

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry 
by John Chilcot.
HMSO, 12 vols, 6275 pp., £767, 1 4741 3331 2
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... published its report on the morning of 6 July, seven years and 21 days after it was established by Gordon Brown with a remit to ‘look at the run-up to the conflict, the conflict itself and the reconstruction, so that we can learn lessons’.* It offers a long and painful account of an episode that may come to be seen as marking the moment when the UK ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: The Dirtiest Player Around, 10 October 2013

... Lawson, writing in the Mail, thinks the way to understand Damian McBride’s relationship to Gordon Brown is by analogy with the Third Reich. McBride didn’t need to take direct orders from his boss because he already understood the violence that Brown wished on his enemies. The underling was working towards the ...

What did Cook want?

Jon Lawrence: Both ‘on message’ and off, 19 February 2004

The Point of Departure 
by Robin Cook.
Simon and Schuster, 368 pp., £20, October 2003, 0 7432 5255 1
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... as party leader, and that he had been decisively out-manoeuvred by his long-term political rival Gordon Brown.* Strongly influenced by the media furore surrounding Cook’s first years in office, including the arms to Sierra Leone affair, diplomatic gaffes in India and Israel, and the embarrassingly public break-up of his marriage, Kampfner’s study is ...

What Blair Threw Away

Ross McKibbin: Feckless, Irresponsible and Back in Power, 19 May 2005

... and student politicians. More problematic, and something difficult to predict, is what effect Gordon Brown will have as prime minister. When Blair will decide to go is anyway unknowable and Brown himself is not an ideal successor: see the London Underground. Furthermore, unlike Robin Cook, he is even less likely to ...

What was it that drove him?

David Runciman: Gordon Brown, 4 January 2018

My Life, Our Times 
by Gordon Brown.
Bodley Head, 512 pp., £25, November 2017, 978 1 84792 497 1
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... Like many​ recent political memoirists, Gordon Brown begins his story in medias res. Given his rollercoaster time in Downing Street, punctuated by the gut-wrenching drama of the financial crisis, there should have been plenty of arresting moments to choose from. Some, though, are already taken. Alistair Darling, for instance, starts Back from the Brink, his 2011 account of what it was like being Brown’s chancellor, on Tuesday, 7 October 2008, when Sir Tom McKillop, the chairman of RBS, called him to announce that his bank was about to go bust and to ask what the government planned to do about it ...

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