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Home » Dr Shibley Rahman viewpoint » Gordon Brown did not bankrupt the economy, like Andrew Mitchell perhaps did not say some things as alleged

Gordon Brown did not bankrupt the economy, like Andrew Mitchell perhaps did not say some things as alleged

Whilst it is for Andrew Mitchell ‘to clear his name’, with the help of the Tory-led media, it is perhaps time to right another wrong. And that is that Gordon Brown did not single-handedly cause a global recession. Whilst the newspapers are full of Andrew Mitchell’s rigorous defence, it is perhaps time, especially ahead of Christmas, to knock on the head what has been the biggest lie of all time. That due to the Labour government led by Gordon Brown Britain nearly became bankrupt.

A reminder from Hansard from 22 April 2009 reminds us of the magnitude of the problem facing HM Government’s at that time,

Meanwhile George Osborne had wished to meet the spending commitments of Labour – and in fact exceed them, as he proudly boasted in front of the Tory-led BBC one breakfast morning.

The “deficit myth” is of course well rehearsed elsewhere. See for example this now seminal outstanding article by Ramesh Patel which has been shared more than 5000 times on Twitter, which establishes some of the main points. Indeed, yesterday the Guardian provided (again) the data in all their full clarity, demonstrated in this graph here. This graph shows that the Tories ran a formidable deficit themselves during the tenures of Norman Lamont and Ken Clarke, and that the deficit did explode as a result of the global financial crisis (to repeat, a global financial crisis not caused by Gordon Brown).

Well does it matter? Of course it matters hugely. The whole raison d’être of this “wretched coalition” is “to sort out the mess that Labour left”. When most people are asked why they don’t blame Labour for the state of the NHS during their period of office, when indeed it has been reported that there was a record level of patient satisfaction, many people apparently respond that “they were one of the lucky ones”. Quite often, at this point the line of attack then changes to personal attacks on Gordon Brown, “selling off gold”, completing ignoring the issue that George Osborne’s record on selling gold is not spectacular itself.

And it clearly does matter, given that borrowing continues to be a problem in the UK, and whilst the Coalition inherited an economy which was growing – albeit in a fragile way in May 2010 – it then entered double-dip recession, which a period of temporary recovery, boosted by some creative accounting. George Osborne and his media team obviously did not take too kindly to Evan Davies’ excellent questioning of George Osborne over the use of the 4G [future] receipts in presenting the GDP figures. The evidence indeed now points towards a “triple-dip recession“.

Indeed, the line of attack has always thus far be to compare us to Greece, and how we are at risk of losing our ‘gold-plated triple A rating‘. However, Downing Street has hard to embark on a propaganda war saying how because of the Eurozone crisis it might be inevitable we will now lose this rating, with bad news ‘which keeps on coming’. The risk to our triple A rating, as is widely known, long predates the Eurozone crisis, with eminent Keynesian economists, who know considerably more about economics than the Chancellor, warning about the dire consequences of pursuing a lack of growth. Such economists have of course included Prof Paul Krugman, Prof David Blanchflower, Prof Joe Stiglitz, and Lord Skidelsky (two of whom have won the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in economics).

And of course the ‘parlour state of the nation’s finances’ provides the raison d’être for the ‘slash and burn’ failed economic policies of the UK government since May 2010. I remember very clearly when Sunder Katwala, Director of “British Future” but at that time Chair of the Fabian Society, with speakers including John Denham MP, told a packed breakfast meeting at a fringe meeting in September 2010 how, even if the reduction of the deficit in the UK went successfully, there would be an invitable aftermath of social destruction which would be hard to remedy. Since then, the Government has embarked on a £2bn (estimated) reorganisation of the NHS amongst opposition from the BMA and the Medical Royal Colleges, libraries have been shut, withdrawal of “education maintenance allowance”,  and the welfare reforms have been a disaster (with 30-40% of “fit-for-work” claim decisions overturned on appeal).

So before we lose too much sleep over Andrew Mitchell, it’s perhaps time to think about another wrong that should be righted, as we tell this current lot to “get on their bike” in 2015.

  • underterraingrunter

    The most thorough analysis of the Andrew Miychell CCTV I've seen can be found here.

  • underterraingrunter

    Whoops! Sorry, Mitchell, obviously.

  • shibleyrahman

    haha – I knew what you meant!

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