Friday, September 26, 2008

The 'Irresponsibility' of Gordon Brown

I have just been watching Gordon Brown's address to the United Nations. I think I was one of the few who remained awake. I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Brown proclaimed...

"The age of irresponsibility is over"

Well if David Cameron can't hang that around his neck, then I'm a Dutchman. Who on earth was presiding over this 'age of irresponsibility' for eleven years as Chancellor?! If he knew that people were behaving irresponsibly and chose to do nothing about it, then who was being irresponsible? Yup, got it in one.



Lola said...

There you are! He IS deranged.

CityUnslicker said...

I picked up and blogged on this too. The next sentence was just as much a classic - transparency not opacity.

Truly an Orwellian statement to come from the father of an 8ft high tax code, pfi finance etc etc ad infinitum

Anonymous said...

Its appropriate that he is speaking from America - You have to allow for the fact that he is after all living in BrowneyWorld

Laurence Boyce said...

There's something in what you say Iain. But whatever blame you pin on Brown for the mess we're in, you have to pin on the Bush Administration a hundredfold.

Catosays said...

Send for the men in white coats immediately.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit much from the only man who has ever bounced a cheque on me.

Anonymous said...

Deranged has it. No other explanation. Unless he really does want his party to fire him.

"Bring down the curtain on Gordon Brown's "Age of Irresponsibility".

Be responsible.

Vote Conservative."

Anonymous said...

My God, the man really is mad.

He's admitting to presiding over 11 years of irresponsibility!

Tory Boy said...

This from a Prime Minister who has so much off balance sheet financing than any ever British Government before it - PFIs on hospitals, schools, prisons, roads and ironically, refuse tips.

Brown, stop being a hypocrite. You have busted this country. Message to Brown, and Dolly, Labour isn't working.

Anonymous said...

Cue accusations from the troll mafia that this shameful vitriol towards the great and benign helmsman.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't Gordo who was irresponsible!
Ask his wife she'll tell what a good bloke he is!

Anonymous said...

Cameron's line should be that the Age of Irresponsibility is not quite over, yet; but a General Election will soon fix that.

strapworld said...

I agree with you this is an admission of being a major part of the age of irresponsibility!

I notice that the BBC and SKY those bastions of truth have not highlighted this!

Boulton is going overboard, with saliva gushing out, telling us that Brown is putting his reputation on the line by going to the White House and placing himself alongside and supporting George Bush. Have you heard anything so ridiculous.

What reputation?

Anonymous said...

Nick Robinson has just been on Radio 4, saying that Gordon is regarded as "a real player" by other leaders with regards to finance.

Dave has just been on the same programme saying that he thinks GB is deliberately sabotaging the economy so the Tories can't sort it out.

Hope he can back that one up!

Decorem said...

There is a common phrase in business about being promoted beyond your ability.

The cap fits very well in GB's case.

Anonymous said...

Well done Iain for pointing out to a wider audience the sheer brass neck, and I'd say the delusion, of Gordon Brown. This pseudo-intellectual international grandstanding is what he seems to love most. New world orders and all that rubbish.

His mantra is "if you say the exact opposite of the truth often enough, people will believe you". It's Brown who's been grossly irresponsible with public finances and who's the economic novice.

Living within our means could be the theme of the next election - trouble for Brown is, he's the embodiment of living beyond your means. He's toast.

Anonymous said...

My name is Gordon Brown and I admit I have a problem.

I am a tax-an-spendaholic.

"we know gordon, that's why we invited you here"

Anonymous said...

"But whatever blame you pin on Brown for the mess we're in, you have to pin on the Bush Administration a hundredfold."

How so? The US President doesn't have nearly as much impact over economic policy as a British chancelllor.

Anonymous said...

Gordon Brown is responsible for £200+bn of extra debt and rising, a 50% increase in the national debt, plus £100+bn in PFI liabilities. He also changed the regulatory system, which failed its first test with Northern Rock and he weakened the inflation target when he changed the basis from RPIx to CPI.

Better a "novice" who does the right thing than an abbott with a track record of failure!

Anonymous said...

Why didn't he put it a little bit more subtly ?

Like "George Bush and I are a couple of incompetent cowboys !"

Anonymous said...

Why do BBC help his delusion by suggesting he's a big player on the world stage?
No one cares what he thinks. And he was called a good chancellor because the world economy was good from '97. Now the chickens are coming home to roost (a la Jeremiah Wright).

Anonymous said...

Dalesman - it was not Cameron who said that Brown is deliberately ruining the economy, it was Alan Duncan.

Anyway, nothing was Brown's fault when he was Chancellor, as he was busy counting the paperclips when Blair&Co were doing the naughty things.

Anonymous said...

Luckily the UN auditorium was empty apart from wee Doogie Alexander. Gordon was, to all intents and purposes, talking to himself.

Anonymous said...

"This has been an era of global prosperity, an era also of global turbulence,"

Rather puts his claimed achievements as chancellor in perspective doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

No, no, no you are all wrong. It is not Gordon Browns fault!

The Guardian said on Saturday that the current economic crisis was caused by what Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan did 30 years ago.

"The first little alarm bell might have rung when, at the end of the 1970s and early in the 1980s, much of the world – following the lead provided by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan – removed exchange controls and allowed capital to move freely around the world. The result was a huge increase in capital flows as multinational investors roamed the globe, looking for the most favourable long-term, and often short-term, investment opportunities."

Read all of the article here:

Man in a Shed said...

Just heard that phrase on the radio - his whole speech was rank hypocrisy since his government do none of the things he's recommending to banks.

The BBC is busy fawning over him and trying to do down David Cameron.

But the explosive stuff is you're old mate Alan Duncan suggesting Brown is deliberately sabotaging the economy.

Anonymous said...

The Times has picked up on the implications of Brown's comment, as has George Osborne.

Anonymous said...


'They' must have gone down to the pub, after all it's Friday. 21 posts and not a troll in sight.

T England. Raised from the dead. said...

Brown has absolutely no influence what so ever in how this credit crunch will be fixed, I mean! Even Bush is finding it hard to convince Congress, so what Brown thinks his input will be is beyond me.
Does he somehow know how to solve the intricate problems that the package is bringing up, surely if he had a plan to show the Americans how to work the mechanics of such a plan we would know about it by now?
So he doesn’t, does he?
One thing that pop’s up is Browns desire to control & micromanage things! Surely he can’t be that insane that he believes that he can?

As Brown has NO influence & no part to play in America, his visit can only be for the delusion of looking like his not COMPLETELY impotent & grabbing some headlines back here, how irresponsible!

Colin said...

Please see the pic on my blog profile. It's actually a photo of brown at work in the office...

Anonymous said...

DOUGAL, yes, you're right, my mistake.

Still hope he can back it up though.

Newmania said...

Nice work young Dale you are really getting quite good at this

Anonymous said...

Brown is off his head!

I should imagine he will do his Iraq/ Afghanistan trip this weekend as well. He will then claim that last year was not politically inspired to overshadow Cameron!

Anonymous said...

Brown is off his head!

I should imagine he will do his Iraq/ Afghanistan trip this weekend as well. He will then claim that last year was not politically inspired to overshadow Cameron!

Anonymous said...

There are just 2 possibilities :
1. GB is very seriously mentally ill : Asperger's, Munchausen's, Autism, whatever. Any psychiatrists out there to enlighten us?
2. A closet Tory wrote his speech and poor old GB didn't have time to check it first.

Anonymous said...

This is desperate stuff Iain. Your mob in the conservative party did nothing to challenge the last 11 years of easy money. Indeed, lets be honest, many of your party members creamed of millions of pounds in the last 10 years. last year the student debaters Osborne and Cameron heaped praise on the economic document produced by Redwood extolling the need for even more de-regulation of markets. You and labour have financial blood on your hands. Only Vince Cable can hold his head up high on this issue.

John Pickworth said...

The big question is...

What favours has Brown promised to give away to secure a meeting at the Whitehouse?

He told us he was going to America to solve the World's financial crisis but then ran into a great many locked doors. Then suddenly, a hastily arranged eleventh hour detour to Washington! Why the turn around? What is Brown offering?

Laurence Boyce said...

“The US President doesn't have nearly as much impact over economic policy as a British chancellor.”

So the Bush team can put together a $700 billion bail-out package at short notice, but they were completely incapable of putting together a strong regulatory package five years ago at leisure? Well I think I may have just answered my own question – clearly, they were completely incapable.

Anyway, just stop panicking. There’s a special prayer now for the financial crisis. Someone should show it to Bush. He’s a great believer in these things.

Anonymous said...

"Your mob in the conservative party did nothing to challenge the last 11 years of easy money."

Stop the "shameless" trolling.

I seem to recall that Michael Howard responded to the 2004 Budget speech (or around then) by dubbing GB the credit card chancellor and drawing up a spoof set of diagnostic questions for GB mimicking those put to people suspected of alcoholism.

In fact the phrase "chancer of the exchequer" better fits the man. Even better, when you google this you get "Did you mean 'cancer of the exchequer'". You couldn't make it up!

In any case we haven't really had easy money for 11 whole years - the rot set in after 9/11 when Greenspan overreacted and GB's lads in the BoE followed suit.

Anonymous said...

Thought Mugaba's speech was better than Brown's

Newmania said...

Osborne and Cameron heaped praise on the economic document produced by Redwood extolling the need for even more de-regulation of markets.

I know Redwood will be itching to make a the very sound defence of his ideas that is available .He could convincingly argue that the problem was too much control not too little , in the form of corporate/state top down control.

I bet he has been silenced by Cameron though.Pity

Ben Gray said...

Reminiscent of a certain line from the Simpsons:

"The politics of failure have failed; we need to make them work again".

Anonymous said...

Gordon Brown in New York! Apparently Oxfam spent £300,000 to organise a publicity event in New York today at which Gordon Brown was to be the chief guest, but it was cancalled at the last moment to enable Mr Brown to hurry to the White House. He was to speak about poverty in Africa and the dreaded Millennium Development Goals. Apparently the idea for this expensive event came not from Oxfam's army of campaigners in Oxford but from 10 Down Street no less!It was gratefully accepted by (the newly appointed) Dame Barbara Stocking, Oxfam's CEO. Celebrities (Zoe Ball et al), Oxfam and The Guardian have come together to bolster Mr Brown's flagging political career at the tax payer's expense! Clearly the "GB" in Oxfam GB stands not for Great Britain any more but for Gordon Brown.

Anonymous said...

The Guardian points out a conference bounce in labour poll ratings.

This comes at a time when B&B have announced 370 job losses. (maybe even nationalised)

The Guardian's own website today points out 500 HSBC job losses and 2000 related to a textile company and job losses at ITV.

All of which ignores several thousand city job losses due to Lehman Bros and Meryl Lynch and of course anything up to 40,000 job losses at HBOS Lloyds.

And the Telegraph reports BoE as predicting 60,000 jobs lost per month.

All of which makes 'Browns speech' even more pointless and discussions about polls somewhat vacuous. The real circumstances under which the next election will be fought have not yet been determined.

Anonymous said...

"Only Vince Cable can hold his head up high on this issue" -- oh spare us. So when did Cable predict the credit crunch.

Conservatives have been complaining about the massive gov. debt for years and also the credit bubble. They have been warning that browns claims of an end to boom and busr were bogus.

Its precisely the credit bubble which has kept the boom going - Brown is directly to blame, certainly for the British end of it.

The left instinctively want to blame bush of course but are a bit stuck since anything they say about his also applies to Brown.

I am sure that Bush will find it hugely satisfying to once again find a British PM sucking up to him at a time of crisis.

Anonymous said...

RE: any psychiatrists?

Brown shows all the signs of being a neurotic, narcissistic, psychopath. Self-obsessed worrier but without a care for any other person, stop at nothing to get his own way and do as much damage as he can to anyone who tries to stop him. Not all psychopaths are neurotic, and not all neurotics are psychopaths. But when you get the two together...

Google these terms. They're all out there.

Anonymous said...

"... if David Cameron can't hang that around his neck, then I'm a Dutchman ..."

... But, Iain, coming from Norfolk, aren't you probably a Dutchman

Anonymous said...

Try reading Parris appraising Brown in today's Timesonline. No offence meant Iain, but he has to be the most fluently lethal political writer around.

Unrelated, an R4 item yesterday reported the prospect of powercuts this winter, due to chronic underinvestment in generating capacity. The name they used for a power interruption? Brownout.

Anonymous said...

People who throw psychiatric-condition labels at politicians should comfort themselves that they are acting in the fine traditions of the Soviet KGB and the very worst of McArthyite excess.

Brown is simply a classic politician - was never wrong in the past, is always right now and should be trusted no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary.

Vince Cable has been a solitary voice of reason at many stages - I haven't heard much from Cameron/Osborne about the fundamentals behind this crisis (berserker excess in credit derivatives trading and mega-bonuses paid only on this year's results) and if anything both they and NuLab seem throughout to have been in favour of precisely that light-touchism that has landed the world in the current mess.

Sadly it appears that nothing at all has been learned from 1927 - witness the current Tory allies the Republicans in Washington DC vigoruously opposing the one thing that would unblock the current crisis. Just as the right did in the 30s.

Last time it took Hitler to unblock it, troublingly.

Anonymous said...

The age of irresponsibility began some time ago, under Browns hero Clinton

As a letter in todays Telegraph points out
"But starting in 1992 the Democrat-dominated Congress instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their purchases of mortgages for low- and medium-income borrowers. The Clinton administration threatened banks with prosecution under such laws as the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which outlaw discriminatory lending by reason of race, marital status, religion and so on.

Fannie Mae was investigated for racial discrimination, and the Federal Reserve required banks to treat such sources of income as welfare payments and unemployment benefits as of similar merit to such criteria as income from employment, a good credit history or the ability to make a down payment. "

In case you do not trust letters to the Telegraph here are some links
"Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people"
This report is dated 1999 - so we can see how off the ball it is to blame republicans.

Anonymous said...


Agree that Brown is surely one of the most mendacious of politicians, having presided over the property price bubble and credit explosion and done precisely nothing about it when, as Chancellor, he could have.

What your lot have to do is convince us that they have any sort of practical experience, or knowledge, to sort out the Gordian mess. We, the great British public, should have better than government by lawyers and policy wonks who make up Labour.

Anonymous said...

Trevorsden is right about one of the underlying causes, Light Touchism was introduced by Clinton and much admired by all subsequent neocon and neoliberal politicians, such as Blair, Brown, Bush, Cameron, Osborne etc.

All of the current mainstream politicians across the board are struggling to understand the underlying crisis of capitalism and basically have no idea what to do about it.

Anonymous said...

Its not light touchism - its a deliberate policy to lend money to people who might struggle to pay it back. The scale of this still beggars belief.

Its the scale of this which really cast doubt in my mind about the criticisms of the nature of official regulation. No matter how light a touch - when you see the size of these bad loans then surely any sort of regulation would have picked it up.

"What your lot have to do is convince us that they have any sort of practical experience, or knowledge, to sort out the Gordian mess" ---
--- true enough, but this claim really is the prerogative of the party in power down the ages. There comes a time when a govt must be replaced. Its the fundamental democratic power the electorate have. If this is not a time to exercise it then there never is.

Anonymous said...

"The age of irresponsibility is over"

Oh no it isn't... He hasn't been chucked out of No 10 yet!

Anonymous said...

You make some good points Trevorsden, but you are missing the main point. Clinton allowed the shaky loans because he was imbued with a neo-liberal/neocon antipathy (as have been all Brit politicians since Maggie) to the spending of taxpayer money on social housing. The schemes to have the private sector loan money to the poor to enable them to buy houses were the logical outcome, but as you say, a foolish one, since the weakening spiralled out of control and huge bad loans were nett made.

As with pensions and healthcare, the obvious solution is to provide consistent cheapish but reasonable quality state provision for housing, just as for example the whole of Western Europe did from 1946 - mid 80s. The "free" (actually it's currently highly stilted by various hidden subsidies to the super-rich) market will never provide that, at least not without going severely pear-shaped.

Alas, to this day, nobody is proposing a large increase in social housing apart from the LibDems. For some reason this is considered wrong. Eg, it doesn't deliver profits to the City.