Tag Archives: Gordon

Gordon Brown is yesterday’s man – but he still has good points to make about the Budget

Gordon Brown: his heart is in the right place but his ideas are rooted in an ideology that doesn’t work.

Does anybody care that, according to Jeremy Hunt’s own projections, by 2026 his government will have made us all much worse-off than we were in 2019?

Gordon Brown does – apparently. But the reaction he received from some people when he wrote about it in The Guardian suggests that they think he’s responsible.

Maybe it’s true that his New Labour governments didn’t make the changes that were necessary after 18 years of Thatcher and Major-style neoliberalism, and paved the way for a further 15 years in which the Tories have been able to destroy what was left of the way of life that had made the United Kingdom worth inhabiting.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything worthwhile to say.

His factual points are all worth taking in because they contribute to a State of the Nation-style snapshot of what the UK is today. And it is horrifying:

271,000 homeless people

400,000 children who sleep without a bed of their own

14 million condemned to damp or substandard housing

7.5m UK households in fuel poverty

Food prices in the shops have risen 18% in a year, with many basic items shooting up by twice as much – baked beans up 35%, ketchup up 39%, tomato soup up 73%

9.7 million adults already skipping or cutting back on meals

Six in 10 adults unable to afford other basic essentials

A record 2.1 million people are using food banks

There are 14.4 million living in poverty, including 4.2 million children, the vast majority of whom are in families where the breadwinner is on low pay

As Brown put it at the top of his piece,

Poverty will last until doomsday if this Conservative government is all that confronts it.

The so-called “budget for growth” [is] more accurately titled the “budget for growth in poverty”

The point of his piece was that cleanliness is the next thing the Tories have rationed, with hygiene poverty leading to the rise of so-called “beauty banks” to run alongside the already-infamous food banks.

He was calling on retailers and manufacturing companies to offer up surplus goods and to consider special production-line runs of unbranded toiletries to ease the crisis.

But this is just – as current Labour leader Keir Starmer would put it – “sticking-plaster politics”. It’s putting a plaster over the wound but not healing it.

Businesses can certainly do much more to ease the crisis that the Conservatives have deliberately created to distract the young and the poor from their strategy to divert public funds into the hands of the old and the rich.

They can provide better pay and conditions, and opportunities for career growth that make it worthwhile. These tactics will reap huge rewards for them as, freed from the stress of poor health due to bad nutrition and harmful work practices, and unburdened by the mental ill-health caused by continually having to find ways to make ends meet, employees’ productivity will soar.

That is the best way out of the hole Hunt has dug for us. Indeed, it is the only way, as his government is absolutely determined not to help.

Source: Jeremy Hunt has left the UK to rot in poverty. So we must take matters into our own hands | Gordon Brown | The Guardian


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Liz Truss didn’t lie about being the first PM from a comprehensive school. She’s just lazy

That’s not a good quality for a prime minister to have!

Thanks should go to Professor Tim Wilson for unearthing the facts that Liz Truss is not the first UK prime minister to come from a comprehensive school background.

Theresa May went to Wheatley Park Comprehensive School (although it had been a grammar school previously), and Gordon Brown attended Kirkaldy High School, also a comprehensive.

Prof Wilson suggests that this should not be held as an example of Truss lying; instead, we should see it as proof that she doesn’t do her research properly and is merely lazy:

Sadly, this could be seen as an example of a classic Tory tactic: the double-bind.

If she succeeds at her job, they’ll say what a great example she is, coming from such a disadvantaged background that she had to go to a comprehensive.

If she fails, they’ll say it was because she went to a comprehensive and the education system needs overhauling to bring in private education providers and end this blight on our children.

It’s what they usually do – right?

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Labour grandee calls for abolition of the House of Lords

Gordon Brown has published a document calling for a wide range of reforms of the way the UK is governed, including better tax-raising powers for devolved governments and abolishing the House of Lords, to be replaced with an elected constitutional guardian.

Watch:

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Former PM says current PM and candidates must set emergency budget – or lose moral high ground

Gordon Brown: his heart is in the right place. Sadly, he is appealing to people who don’t have any heart at all.

Inflation is set to hit 13 per cent in October, with energy bills expected to rise to £3,600 a year – and neither Boris Johnson nor the candidates to replace him are doing a single thing about it.

That’s the reason former prime minister Gordon Brown has intervened to demand an emergency budget to tackle the rocketing cost of living – or condemn millions of blameless people to a freezing winter of “dire poverty”.

He has a point – according to The Observer, more than four million households are likely to spend a quarter of their net incomes on energy.

Mr Brown said:

“The more the Conservative leadership election heats up, the more the remaining candidates have resorted to claiming the moral high ground. Raising debt is ‘immoral’, Rishi Sunak is saying. ‘High taxes are immoral,’ retorts Liz Truss. But there is nothing moral about indifferent leaders condemning millions of vulnerable and blameless children and pensioners to a winter of dire poverty.

“Boris Johnson, Sunak and Truss must this week agree an emergency budget. If they do not, parliament should be recalled to force them to do so.”

The problem is that neither Johnson, Rishi Sunak nor Liz Truss could care less.

Johnson is on his way out of mainstream politics, having made a horse’s ass of his premiership.

Sunak and Truss are campaigning to be prime minister – but only among members of the Conservative Party who, historically, don’t have any time for the troubles of the people who make their money for them.

And the Conservative majority in the House of Commons is high enough that none of them need to worry about what happens to the electorate before an election that could happen as late as the end of 2024.

In fact, considering their recent record, it would probably benefit the Tories if a few million more poor people bite the bullet before that poll happens.

If you think they wouldn’t let that happen, where were you during the Covid-19 crisis?

So, given the situation as laid out by Mr Brown, what do you think will happen?

Will Johnson, Sunak and Truss get around the table and put together a package of measures that will save millions from poverty or worse – at some slight cost to the nation (and to certain businesses that are making money hand over fist)?

Or will they carry on their own sweet way, all oblivious to the suffering that they have – let’s face it – caused?

My money’s on the latter.

Source: Gordon Brown: ‘Set emergency budget or risk a winter of dire poverty’

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Radio 4’s Martha Kearney tries to tar Gordon Brown over MPs’ second jobs – and fails

Gordon Brown: this is apparently the only image of him in the Vox Political archive – and is about as clear as Martha Kearney’s perception of him.

Here’s more evidence that the BBC is heavily Tory-influenced – and now we can mark down Martha Kearney as a Tory/Establishment mouthpiece, if we hadn’t already done so.

Former New Labour prime minister Gordon Brown appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (November 10), where he made the following statement:

In response, Ms Kearney tried to catch him out:

Here is the correct interpretation of that incident:

Yes indeed; she was trying to smear an honest man – and (even though he wasn’t a proper socialist) a better prime minister than anybody we’ve had since.

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‘Greed is good’ says Johnson over vaccine success. Downing Street rushes to contain the fallout

Not Michael Douglas: Boris Johnson’s attempt to emulate the infamous Gordon Gecko from the film Wall Street left him looking like a reptile.

He may have been trying to emulate Gordon Gecko but he ended up looking more like ‘Boris Dickfingergecko’* instead – a lizard you might find under a rock.

I make the comparison after Boris Johnson tried to tell a private meeting of Conservative MPs that the success of the UK’s vaccine programme was due to “capitalism” and “greed” – in emulation of the speech by the character played by Michael Douglas in the film Wall Street, “Greed is good”.

It seems that even Johnson himself doesn’t believe that mantra, as he immediately retracted his statement once it got into the public domain.

It seems Johnson had been referring to the profit motive that drives corporations to develop new products.

The implication is, of course, disgusting. He was saying that Pfizer and Astrazenica would not have bothered to develop their Covid-19 vaccines if they had not believed they could make a fat profit from doing so.

Such a comment denies that these firms could have rushed to develop a vaccine in order to prevent millions of deaths across the world, in favour of an unfounded claim that they would not have lifted a finger unless there was money in it.

The implication is potentially libellous and the companies should consider litigation against Johnson personally.

*With apologies to the Bibrons Dickfingergecko for associating it with Johnson just because of its name.

Source: ‘Greed’ and ‘capitalism’ helped UK’s vaccines success, says PM – BBC News

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#BringBackBrown: ex-PMs endorsement of Rashford school meals petition sparks support

The secret of great political drama – as with comedy – is timing. And the timing of Gordon Brown’s political intervention is very dramatic for Boris Johnson.

The former Labour prime minister, who was in office between 2007 and 2010, has declared his support for footballer Marcus Rashford’s petition for schools to provide free meals to children whose families are stricken with poverty – possibly because of Tory Covid-19 restrictions.

Johnson has already refused Rashford’s demand. As far as he’s concerned, poor people’s ankle-biters can starve.

Or, if you want a less partisan view, here’s The Independent:

Poorer pupils will not receive free meals during school holidays, No 10 insists – putting Boris Johnson on a fresh collision course with footballer Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United star has launched a fresh campaign to help hungry children, calling for vouchers for October’s half-term break and at Christmas.

The England striker stepped up his campaign by launching a Commons petition, saying: “Whatever your feeling, opinion or judgement, food poverty is never the child’s fault.”

The petition is also calling for free school meals to be extended to any household which receives benefits – to help a further 1.5million under-16s, during term-time.

But the [prime minister’s] spokesperson said: “We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic, when schools were partially closed during lockdown.

“We are in a different position now. Schools are back open to all pupils and do not regularly provide food to pupils during term-time.

“We believe the best way to support families outside of term times is through universal credit, rather than schools subsidising meals.”

It’s easy to punch holes in this statement – but I don’t have to.

Mr Brown appeared on the BBC’s Breakfast News to say that he has signed Rashford’s petition, and he was delighted to explain his reasons:

Politely and calmly, he absolutely shredded the Tory prime minister’s statement:

It’s clear that Naga Munchetty had been told to end that segment of the interview, giving the government the last word, but Brown wasn’t having any of it. He explained exactly why the statement was nonsense and put the ball back very firmly in Boris Johnson’s court, saying it is for the (current) prime minister to answer this – not a stooge.

Then the most successful UK chancellor of the 21st century (still) levelled his verbal guns on current chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying – effectively – that his economic plans are nonsense. And, again, he was making perfect sense:

The interview has sparked a surge of support for the former chancellor and prime minister, whose calm, reasonable delivery prompted nostalgia for the days when the government was run by reasonable people who understood how a country works, rather than by populist prattlers whose only concern is making a fast buck for themselves:

Perhaps we need more interventions like this – to put Johnson and his hysterics firmly in context.

God knows, we’re not getting it from Starmer the Abstainer.

Source: Boris Johnson rejects Marcus Rashford’s campaign to extend free school meals to half-term and Christmas holidays | The Independent

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