Sunday, 14 February 2016

Was Gordon Brown a good Chancellor

After emerging from recession in 1992, Britain's economy enjoyed the longest period of expansion on record during which time growth outpaced most of Western Europe. In 2008, however, the global financial crisis hit the economy particularly hard, due to the importance of its financial sector.

Gordon Brown was actually not a bad Chancellor. "He is widely credited for having been a model of fiscal prudence which has allowed the UK to go from the laughing stock of Europe to one of the best performers in the OECD."  [More Here]

For all the bad-mouthing he suffered in this country during his ill-fated premiership, Gordon Brown was considered a hero by Presidents Obama and Sarkozy.

He was the driving force behind the recapitalisation of the Western banking system in 2008.

And, as chairman of the Group of 20 in April 2009, he masterminded the combined ‘stimulus’ – of tax cuts, spending increases and augmentation of the resources of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund – which arrested the dramatic decline in world trade that year.

That was the high point of international economic policy co-ordination in this relatively young century.
After the stimulus was agreed at the London G20 Summit, Brown tried to persuade Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, to build on this by signing up to a global economic growth target.

She refused, and proceeded to be a champion of the programme of austerity which has been impoverishing so many citizens of southern Europe, and whose ramifications are even beginning to drag down Germany’s own economic performance.

Merkel was not the sole culprit. The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund were all in it together as preachers of austerity.

It is all very well for the ECB President Mario Draghi to promise to do ‘whatever it take’ to preserve the eurozone; but, unfortunately, it is a eurozone whose design is faulty, indeed pre-Keynesian, in the way it demands spending cuts and tax increases of economies that are already on their knees.

By not signing up to the eurozone, the UK has at least been able to adjust its exchange rate to the realities of its uncompetitive trading position. The Greeks, the Italians, the Spanish  and even the French cannot do that.  [Read more]

"Gordon is without doubt one of the political figures of our time, with a great mind and an ability to focus on really big challenges and understand the role of politics in meeting those challenges," Campbell said.
"At his best his was absolutely brilliant. Equally, at other times he could be nightmare to work with."
[More Here]

Brown will be remembered as the most successful peacetime Labour chancellor who also kept the UK out of the fatally flawed single European currency. As prime minister, he will be remembered for having rescued several major UK banks, but at vast cost to UK taxpayers. He is also likely to be assured a place in British political history as the last prime minister of the UK to have represented a Scottish constituency. [More Here]

Personally, I think as a Prime Minister he was lacking.

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