Sorry these two blogs were not up sooner, the committee email accounts password has been changed, Max.
The Shakespearean tragedy that was the premiership of Gordon Brown was both frustrating and depressing for many a Labour member. The return of the Prince of Darkness; the eerily coincidental timing of Gordon’s entry into number ten, almost exactly at the moment the Western economy went tumbling off a cliff; the cringe-worthy youtube attempt at reaching out to ordinary voters; the desperate Hoon-Hewitt plot and, of course, Bigotgate. All of these made me want to hug our leader and offer him warm words of encouragement, but also simultaneously slap him on the back and say “Hey, Gordon, do you think maybe this just isn’t your day?”
So I was uplifted and proud when I came across an interview with Gordon by Christina Patterson in The Independent on Monday which showed him to be a dignified, modest man who can see his own faults but is also proud of his roots and his values, and has the neediest and poorest in society in mind - both home and abroad - now that he is a full time constituency MP.
He seemed to be on a non-stop tour of Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath, leaving the reporter breathless as he dashed between an industrial estate, a youth project and the home of his beloved Raith Rovers football club. He seemed disappointed but resolute when discussing both his future and the shameful termination of the Future Jobs Fund by the Coalition government (apparently all of these people will magically gain new jobs in the resurgent and dynamic voluntary and private sectors, which the government hopes will bounce back within five years at a similar rate to China or India). Although he would not be drawn on his intimate feelings on no longer being in charge, was evasive on domestic issues, and seemed to want to give a history lecture (which betrayed his forensic knowledge of Fife), he proved that he is determined to stand up for both those from the declining industries of this working class constituency in the face of savage Thatcherite cuts and the ‘Big Society’, and those in far away lands who have probably never even heard of him. The recent announcement that the proceeds from his next book will go to charities bears a stark contrast with the arrogant and self-indulgent memoirs of Mandelson and Blair.
Gordon Brown re-enforces the belief in me that you need to know what it is like to live in these forgotten but resolute communities with high unemployment and derelict industry in order to deliver the best policies for them. He re-enforces the belief in me that although we are all far from perfect we can make small but significant improvements to ordinary people’s lives by intervening, even in the depths of recession. He re-enforces in me the belief that years from now he may not be regarded by historians as one of the best PMs but that his greatest achievement amongst many was saving the economy both in Britain and globally from a 1930s-style catastrophe.
It is no wonder that in some cases the disregarded communities of Britain feel compelled to apathy, extremist politics or even in extreme circumstances sympathy for those who have ‘defied the authorities’ like the murderer Raoul Moat. Let us not be too hasty in rejecting the previous leader of the Labour party and everything about his style and policies as we elect the next one.
By Luke Jones, BULS member