For all his faults, I was struck by outgoing British Prime Minster Gordon Brown’s resignation speech. It wasn’t the pomp of the job he loved, he said, it was the chance to make his country a fairer place.
Brown’s out, but it may he may not be the only loser here. After the 2008 crash it was Brown who led the way when it came to stimulus spending and bank regulating (even Barack Obama acknowledged that this week.) Now the accepted wisdom seems to be that all that lead to his defeat. There’s a potentially dangerous lesson there, and it may be the wrong lesson at that.
In Britain, the Conservatives are back in power in coalition with centrist Liberal Democrats. For all their differences, both are deficit-obsessed. Tory leader David Cameron’s already called for a more "responsible society – where entitlements are not center stage. So what comes next? Two and a half million Britains are already officially unemployed – a rate of over 8 %. Laying government workers off will push that number up and bring consumer spending down. As speculators thrive, any progress to fairness will be on the skids.
I haven’t seen exit polls or polled people myself, but isn’t it just possible that after 18 years of rule, the Labor Party took a beating because Brown is a downer of a guy — and more importantly, because of his predecessor, Tony Blair’s lies leading his country into war? The UK has been racked by conflict over coal, policing, collaboration with US torturers – and did I mention WAR — in Afghanistan and Iraq. British casualties are up. And it may not be Brown, but those casualties politicians ought to be thinking about. When it comes to Brown’s defeat I’d say the verdicts not as clear – or as convenient- as some might like.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.