It has been praised by some of the world’s deepest thinkers:
'His vision, ideas and passion shine through on every page' - Ed Balls
'Compelling, challenging, inspiring and very timely' - Piers Morgan
'Immensely powerful and persuasive...I found it exhilarating throughout' - Joanna Lumley
Seven Ways to Change the World is Gordon Brown’s latest 512-page doorstopper. I am sure that it contains some good ideas, and I bet it misses many more: even 512 pages isn’t enough for this mammoth task. I’ll admit I haven’t read it, it’s not published until the 10th June, but has led to a two page spread in today’s Guardian. Heaven knows what the Man Who Would Still Like To Be PM now says about climate change, but given that he was PM when the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008 was enacted, he can claim some credit for activity on that front. But he will mainly be remembered for his role in the financial crash. He particularly wants to be remembered for his role after the crash, convening the G20 and leading co-ordinated responses to it. Less inspiring was his activity before it, which beyond arguably helped it develop in the first place. Here’s what he had to say in the Guardian : “In 2009, this fiscal orthodoxy, this idea that debts and deficits were unacceptable, prevented people from taking the action that was necessary. We didn’t have public support for it, and of course austerity was the consequence.”
‘This’ fiscal orthodoxy? Not my fiscal orthodoxy, nor our fiscal orthodoxy, nor indeed my ‘light touch regulation’ of the City nor my knighthood for Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin, who enjoyed a nice and deeply symbolic treat at Chequers as the financial crisis was unfolding:
“SHAMED banker Fred "The Shred" Goodwin was entertained by Gordon Brown shortly before the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland. He enjoyed hospitality at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country retreat, last year. Goodwin's wife Joyce joined him on the visit to the luxury Buckinghamshire mansion. Within months, the banker was forced to quit as RBS chief executive after they had to be rescued by a £20billion Government bailout.” (Daily Record 17/72009)
I may have to wait for Gordon’s book to be remaindered before I discover what remedies he is now proposing, no doubt all the while learning from his own mistakes.