Gordon Brown: tragic traitor

December 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm (Gordon Brown, labour party, reformism, Tony Blair, tragedy)

Above: Brown and Blair

Gordon Brown is in many respects a tragic figure: a man who lived and breathed politics, but when he finally achieved his burning ambition, blew it in spectacular fashion.

He also has had some real tragedy in his personal life.

By most accounts, a brooding, resentful character and (according to some) a bit of a bully, he can also (again, according to some) be very entertaining in private and is very loyal to his friends. Compared to his erstwhile friend, the superficial chancer Tony Blair, Brown is a deep and thoughtful character. In contrast to the lightweight and eclectic Blair, he is a man of the labour movement. – which makes his role in creating the foul aberration that was New Labour somehow more treacherous than that of the ideologically footloose semi-Tory Blair.

Brown’s splendid role towards the end of the Scottish referendum campaign gave us a momentary glimpse of just what a principled and passionate  figure he could have been. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a traitor even to the reformist tradition in which he stands, but part of me can’t help liking him and even feels some pity for him. Perhaps, away from mainstream politics he’ll make some amends for New Labour and do some worthwhile campaigning on issues like girls’ rights, that are clearly very important to him and his wife Sarah. I certainly hope so, because I really want to like and respect him.


  1. februarycallendar said,

    Pretty much agree with this.

    Although I am tempted to say that Brown didn’t blow being Prime Minister, it was the celebification of politics that blew it for him.

    (And how many of us does this indict, how much of our lives does this make us feel to be sinful?)

    When I saw him playing such a vital role in – at least for the moment – *comparatively* holding back the tide of ethnic nationalism and, possibly, even ethnic cleansing in England, I thought again that he must wish he’d stood for the leadership in 1994, resisted the temptation to treacherous deals and effectively singing his life and his will away, and damn the consequences if the people then buying Take That CDs in Woolworths, and now buying them in Tesco, didn’t like the look of him. He’d still have won, and still with a majority and a mandate that would have seemed like a dream to the Labour Party in the 1970s.

  2. februarycallendar said,

    … and, unlike the people who actually won, might have done something with it.

    On the other hand, he is said to have been directly responsible in 1996 for scuppering any hope that railway privatisation should be swiftly reversed. How much of it did he really believe, and how much of it did he simply feel he *had* to believe? That’s a question that might never be answered adequately.

  3. Ted Edwards said,

    Any views of Gordon Brown are sadly tainted by the fact that his decision to not higher the fresh hold on taxation cost me dearly on my pension.
    I can also never forgive him for being part of the Blair government that when first elected could have put right for the working class that Thatcher had taken away from us.
    Sadly he is just one of the many who were once on the left and when they became successful forgot what they originally stood for..
    Have we discussed Benn’s son returning to the Lords yet on here.

    • Jim Denham said,

      “Have we discussed Benn’s son returning to the Lords yet on here” ?
      No, it’s too depressing. Do you want to write something, Ted?

      • Ted Edwards said,

        Jim like you I was appalled to learn about it but I really don’t feel learned enough given the high intellect of so many that contribute their opinions on here.
        I suppose all I can say is that he is denigrating all of Tony’s efforts which were great in denouncing his peerage.

  4. Bob falconer said,

    Gordon Brown should have taken up his dad’s trade. This would have avoided his fateful decision to sit on his hands during blair’s murderous Iraq war. Gordon’s greatest crime was however his signing of the eu’s enabling act in Lisbon – his biggest outsourcing moment!
    Hopefully Gordon will advise his sons not to get involved in politics – not a job for a man.

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