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Brown: 'We have a major crisis in the euro area'

Robert Peston | 17:00 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Gordon Brown says that the eurozone will not solve its current financial crisis unless it opts for a comprehensive and substantial rescue package, that would involve putting tens of billions of pounds of new capital into the eurozone's banks.

Gordon Brown

The former British prime minister said, in an interview I've just done with him, that the enormous liabilities of the eurozone's banks are a serious and substantial accident waiting to happen.

Mr Brown said:

"I sense that in the first few months of 2011 we have a major crisis in the euro area... You've got fiscal deficits, obviously. But you've also got massive banking liabilities in the euro area, and that's not just the peripheral areas. It's the core areas of Europe where banks are really under pressure because they have lent huge amounts of money but have no guarantee they have the capital that is necessary to sustain themselves in all positions.
 
"But then you've also got this impediment to growth. The euro area is inflexible because you can't adjust your currency... The structural reforms that are necessary to make a single currency area work have not been completed and in some cases have not been agreed. And therefore you've got to have a nigh noon...You've got to deal with these problems in one fell swoop... They've got to do it in a way that seizes the initiative from the markets... It's got to happen in the first months of 2011."

His fear is that the current process of bailing out one over-stretched eurozone country at a time (Greece followed by Ireland, so far), rather than going for a once-and-for-all bailout scheme for the entire eurozone and all its banks, will elongate and maximise the economic pain for eurozone members. In those circumstances, international investors would "pick countries off (for punishment) one by one".

He added that "if the euro were to break up, the political and economic consequences for all the countries would be disastrous" and the cause of global economic co-operation would be set back for years.

Also, if there is no comprehensive and credible rescue and reform package for the eurozone, he feared that European countries would - at best - be condemned to years of low growth and high unemployment. This would damage the UK, which conducts 50% of trade with eurozone members.

Mr Brown's intervention matters, partly because he remains in contact with other European leaders - and partly because he is saying what members of the British government and senior officials at the Bank of England also believe but cannot say (for diplomatic reasons).

He is pessimistic about the short term outlook for the global economy, because of what he sees as a rise of nationalist and protectionist tendencies in many countries, similar to what happened in the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The central theme of his new book, Beyond the Crash, is that the US and Europe will be condemned to years of low growth unless and until the world's biggest economies co-ordinate their economic policies and their approaches to financial regulation, not just to tackle individual crises but on a permanent basis.

For banks in particular he calls for a new "global banking constitution", that would go further than the current Basel agreement on capital to set rules and standards for all the world's banks, over-riding national regulations.

I reminded him that years ago, when he was at the height of his reputation as chancellor, I asked him why on earth he wanted to risk his then formidable reputation by becoming prime minister. Did he now regret having moved into No 10?

If he had a regret, he said, it was that he had failed to convince the electorate of the overwhelming importance (as he see it) of a great worldwide initiative to restore momentum to the global economy.

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Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    I agree with the last paragraph but the deficit terrorists got their way in the end. We're all neo-liberals now.

  • Comment number 2.

    'Gordon Brown says that the eurozone will not solve its current financial crisis unless it opts for a comprehensive and substantial rescue package, that would involve putting tens of billions of pounds of new capital into the eurozone's banks.'

    No &%(*?@# Way!

    If they want to sort themselves out, the Chinese always offer work - work it off yourself Mr Spiv! Long hard work without the benefit of decency, civil liberties, health and safety, just a big man punching you around if you go to the loo more than twice a day.

    Or is Gordon poking the demonstrators to get them marching, chanting and determined? Grab your grannie 'cos she'll be needed on the march to protect you from PC No NumberVisible and his big sticks

  • Comment number 3.

    I am afraid this looks to be mission impossible (integrated policy at this level). It is not helped by ingenious accounting approaches. It really does not matter if there is a view in the UK. The same view has to be held across the board. When the dynamics are so different in countries which have to co-operate it is tricky. For example -In Ireland the government accounts were seen as okay but the banks liabilities were not. in Greece the banks appear to be okay but the government accounts are not. And so it goes on. The UK government refused the invitation by the EU that all member states should declare their budgets to the EU for sanction and vetting which looks to be the first step in agreeing compliance with the operating criteria for memebrship - which has been at least in part a root problem in the EU. So whatever the UK government think they are not apparently rushing forward, and it is actions that count.

  • Comment number 4.

    He forgot the allegorical stories about money being the root of all evil and why Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple.
    Which is strange because he is a son of the manse.
    The super-wealthy are way ahead of us for the next tax haven will be a tax heaven;

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11948329

    "It's like a fat policeman running after a Ferrari."

  • Comment number 5.

    Have a look at http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/videos/
    You have to scroll down to see the content.

    More informative than the Beeb's analysis.

  • Comment number 6.

    Anyone with half a mind on the idea of the Euro would know that these kinds of destructive economic warping would lead to a failure or near failure at some point. The only way for the Euro to work is to have a single and tight European fiscal policy for everyone in the Eurozone. That means a single government for the Eurozone nations, something that Greece and Ireland have now had to capitulate to (well near as) as will the other PIIGS nations (Portugal, Spain and Italy) maybe even Belgium. A united single currency needs a united single government to manage it.

  • Comment number 7.

    Thank Gawd that he no longer has access to the UK's "cheque book". He is just obsessed with pouring public (taxpayers) money into corporate failures !! He did enough damage in the short time he was PM - one would have hoped that in the calm light of day, when his life has slowed down a lot (he didn't even turn up in Parliament for months) that he would have realised what a mess he made.

  • Comment number 8.

    Sorry. Mr Brown has no credibility with me whatsoever. If he said it was dark outside I'd look out of the window to double-check.

  • Comment number 9.

    'he feared that European countries would - at best - be condemned to years of low growth and high unemployment.'

    We've had intolerable levels of unemployment across much of the EU for a while - much of the UK simply did not recover from the nightmare of Thatcher/Reagan.

    They'll give us more of it, and just like the US the politicians will complain of the 'spongers' and dependency culture, the very thing the politicians impose deliberately on their own people! Yes, and New Labour loved that word 'sponger' (Under the GB Government, the Secretarty of State for Scotland got a bit of a letter from me on that one!).

    How long before we have this and I quote:
    'You know, I mean, if that many parents are incapable of pulling together a bowl of cereal and a banana, then we have problems that are way bigger than—that problem can’t be solved with a school breakfast, because we have parents who are just criminally—criminally negligent with respect to raising children.'

    From the MSNBC pundit and editor with the right-wing magazine National Review, Kate O’Beirne. You can hear it here, coming from a country where poverty is rife, unemployment is horrendous and the rich are never left behind no matter who sits in the White Theatre!

    Should we presumes the entire Third World is stuffed full of 'criminals' then?
    'How dare you suffer under our policies' will be the necessary chant for Tea Partiers coming soon to a town near you, with ever increasing volume!
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/12/7/headlines

  • Comment number 10.

    "a once-and-for-all bailout"

    - Except it wont be. -

    The bankers are busy preparing for a bull run. And then another one. And...

    Clever bankers.
    Dumb politicians. They tell the bankers what is about to be done!
    Retail banking only. You know it makes sense.

  • Comment number 11.

    We have a major crisis in the euro area?

    Well that must mean we have a catastrophic crisis in the UK then! (Which I actually think is probably true!)

    Most of the Euro area acted sensibly in the last decade only a few countries acted like like a pale imitation of the UK. Spain and Ireland let their property prices get out of hand - but not quite as badly as the UK!

    Gordon Brown never understood competitiveness and the associated necessity to keep our complete cost base competitive and the economy stable. We haven't yet collapsed because of the negative interest rate regime which is destroying our pension funds as well as everyone's savings and the whole idea of saving for a pension or anything else. GB got it wrong big time. Sooner or later we have to raise interest rates to a rational and positive level and then all hell will let loose - absolutely predicable and predicted!

  • Comment number 12.

    He's certainly behind the times and only repeating what we've been discussing on this blog for months.

    He obviously hasn't spoken to Angela Merkel recently for what he seems to be advocating is his favourite subject. Just print lots of money and inflate away the debts. Real kindergarten stuff.

    Time he was put back in his box.

  • Comment number 13.

    Whether GB is right and things come to a head early next year; or later, they will certainly come to a head at some point. The current process appears to be one in which Governments are misled as to the severity of the problem: when they realise the full extent of the problem they are divided and slow to act: and meanwhile the markets have already moved on leaving them behind the curve.

    Each step along this road is one in which Governments become more indebted; more beholden to the markets; and less able to act independently of them (as a sovereign government).

    I can see three possible outcomes:

    Maybe the markets will realise that they have nothing to gain from bringing the whole edifice crashing down and back off.

    Maybe austerity and economic growth will combine to bring prospective income growth back into line with expenditure and debt repayments.

    Maybe Governments will come under sufficient pressure from their people for their interest to switch from saving the banks/bond-holders to saving themselves (by imposing the famous haircuts and regulating the banking sector).

    Faites vos juex!

  • Comment number 14.

    All this nonsense about holding bigger capital ratios etc and bail-outs for the banks needs to be stopped once and for all. ALL financial organistaions should be forced to publish comprehensive details of their debtors and their creditors. Their (our) exposure can then be easily seen and who would suffer if a bank went tits-up. Their is also no reason why sovereign lenders and bondholders should be immune from taking a hit Keeping us all in the dark and expecting the general public to bail them out (whilst being told it will never happen again) is just plain stupid. Banks MUST be split up and made small enough to fail and also risky parts disassociated from the boring bits.

  • Comment number 15.

    'Gordon Brown says that the eurozone will not solve its current financial crisis unless it opts for a comprehensive and substantial rescue package, that would involve putting tens of billions of pounds of new capital into the eurozone's banks.'

    Maybe - though I think "tens of billions" is a big underestimate if all the banks' hidden losses were made visible (for example if house prices fell by 50% throughout Europe as they have in Ireland and if those in negative equity declare themselves bankrupt in large numbers). The other big question with this is "where do the billions of pounds of new capital" come from? If it comes from the savings made by deep austerity programs across Europe, it won't solve anything.


  • Comment number 16.

    I remember when Gordon Brown said 'No more boom and bust'. Still, that's history and everyone knows Henry Ford said it was 'bunk'

    The Eurozone has effectively demonstrated that monetary union alone doesn't work. IMHO the "structural reforms that are necessary ...." must include a measure of fiscal unity but that would mean even more support from Germany and I doubt they would say "Jawohl" to that.

  • Comment number 17.

    "Mr Brown's intervention matters, partly because he remains in contact with other European leaders - and partly because he is saying what members of the British government and senior officials at the Bank of England also believe but cannot say (for diplomatic reasons)."

    Al the indicators seem to support this, the IMF saying house prices in UK and US are still to high, 90% reduction in morgages in October compared with september; increase in vat next year; cost cutting and job reductions by the condems; hard budgets by Ireland with RBS being indebted to them by 98%. Add to this attacks on the internet and I am sure we can all see whats coming!!!


  • Comment number 18.

    "They've got to do it in a way that seizes the initiative from the markets... It's got to happen in the first months of 2011"

    What? Euro bonds and some fiscal integration steps weren't anticipated? oh and the stability fund...

    What they might want to also do is set up a trillion dollar Euro fund to short every GBP in existence, take over the UK and make good food and cold beer a basic requirement, not to mention reliable public transport, heating, water, healthcare, education, safety and nice looking girls.

  • Comment number 19.

    Is this insightfulness from the same genius who got us into this mess?

  • Comment number 20.

    Gordo's new book might as well be a 1-pager entitled "we are printing money like crazy - buy physical silver while you still can"

  • Comment number 21.

    GB is the living embodiment of a proxy error.

  • Comment number 22.

    So we're all going to listen to the expert that almost bankrupt the UK and didn't practice what he preached. Well I guess someone might, which will just make the current unstable situation even worse. He may consider himself wise after the event but he certainly wasn't wise before it. Best thing he can do is go away.

  • Comment number 23.

    Brown increasingly reminds me of Jimmy Carter - he is shaping up to be a much better ex-Prime Minister than Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 24.

    "if the euro were to break up ..."

    This phrase keeps popping up, but in all the articles I have seen so far, the general consensus seems to be that there is no mechanism for this to happen, and that individual states could not enact an exit in a short timescale.

    If this is the case, and the crisis were to continue, then it would seem that a more likely outcome is that states will experience continued adverse conditions for a prolonged period before any of them could engineer an exit. Is it not more likely that they will all go down with the ship as they say, before than any of them can make it to the life boats?

  • Comment number 25.

    I, personally, take no notice of anything that Gordon Brown has to say.
    Either he was "sucked in" to believing that the property-frenzy was a "boom", or he may have been naive in the extreme.
    Property debt....personal debt.....collapse.
    We are all paying dearly for Mr Browns' lack of control over the economy, despite many (including Vince Cable) telling him that he was playing with fire.
    If Mr Brown was playing the "short-term card", (popularity at great risk), he must surely regret his record at No 11.
    Those who inhabit No 11 must not be tempted to "go with the flow" for the sake of temporary glory.....if they see dangerous economic trends, they should "put their foot down" and stop the rot.
    That is supposed to be their job.

  • Comment number 26.

    What a great idea....give the banks more money. Don't think that worked the first time. Maybe creating a governments controlled fund that pays no interest would be a better way to go. Money from the banks always has interest, even though they pay none on the money given. They might want to think about the tax burden that will be necessary to pay back the banks for the free money they will be given. At some point in time the political may wish to find out about how things work in the real world and stop listening to the bankers and their one-way street. The banks have nothing to offer yet they control the process. Political fools making decisions based on the proposals of untrustworthy bankers. Hopefully this level of corruption will lead to the people being more selective in who is elected and why. There is a grave imbalance in the system and until some balance is regained the future is dim.

  • Comment number 27.

    Do you think Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and the UK banking system have ANY credibility left in continental Europe?

    The only people who will take any notice of what he says are the likes of R Peston and the other local media. He's trying to sell copies of his book.

    He should title it -
    "How I, my boss Blair, his friend Bush, and our friends the banks, pumped up a huge property and asset bubble that crashed the whole system, and how I then claimed to have saved the World!"

  • Comment number 28.

    Some past quotes:

    Gordon Brown's 1997 Budget Statement
    I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery."

    Pre-Budget Report, 9th November 1999
    "Under this Government, Britain will not return to the boom and bust of the past."

    "Mr Deputy Speaker we will not return to boom and bust."
    Budget Statement, 7 March 2001

    "As I have said before Mr Deputy Speaker: No return to boom and bust."
    Budget Statement, 22 March 2006

    "And we will never return to the old boom and bust."
    Budget Statement, 21 March 2007

    June 2007 Gordon Brown said:
    "Over the ten years that I have had the privilege of addressing you as Chancellor, I have been able year by year to record how the City of London has risen by your efforts, ingenuity and creativity to become a new world leader … So I congratulate you, Lord Mayor and the City of London, on these remarkable achievements, an era that history will record as the beginning of a new golden age for the City of London."

    September 2007 The British Bankers' Association said:
    "Northern Rock is a sound and safe bank and there is absolutely no reason for either mortgage customers or savers to worry."

    September 2007 The Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, John McFall, said: "The banking system in the United Kingdom is strong,".


    Gordon Brown!
    Is it pantomime season this early.

  • Comment number 29.

    Which publisher is trying to sell his book? - I reckon Pesto is the only buyer (or just maybe its a press freebie copy?)! Its not environmentally friendly either, having to pulp all that paper.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    I would have thought with the gold price as high as it is Gordon Brown might be keeping a low profile. Did his ability to see the future involve selling an asset at around US 300 dollars per ounce rather than the current US 1390 dollars? Such a move ruined any credibility he might have...

  • Comment number 32.

    Seriously Robert, why are you giving this man credence by affording him an interview?

    Here in Scotland we accept that the BBC acts pretty much as the Labour party's media arm but I thought or hoped you were above this.

  • Comment number 33.

    In my opinion; the biggest error was the creation of the "euro". I also feel that the European union is getting completely out of proportion. The original COMMON MARKET was the best concept without a unique currency. Free trade for member countries and free circulation of the citizens. Now it's just ONE BIG RIP-OFF for the citizens and a PROFIT for the invisible MEGARICH of the region ( if not the planet ) The rich get richer , the poor become more numberous. I bet the world's riches are owned by less than 0.01% of the population or even less

  • Comment number 34.

    Gordon Brown is still an excellent financial expert. ( that has NOTHING to do with politics.) It's a shame that politicians can't be honest with each other and get on with IT, never mind the politics; They're IN THERE for all of us ( bloody fools that we must be for believing all their pre-elctoral hype and voting for them)

  • Comment number 35.

    The terms "tens of billions" and "enormous liabilities" don't match. A number with only ten zeroes on the end doesn't cut the mustard any more. In the absence of haircuts, another crash is on its way.

  • Comment number 36.

    Peston - you've just ruined my evening! Are you that short of copy?

    I need to go away and calm down - it may take some considerable time.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am uneasy about the joke below. Is this really how a stimulus package works?

    "One Day in Ireland

    It is a slow day in a dusty little Irish town. The rain is beating down and
    the streets are deserted.

    Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

    On this particular day a rich tourist is driving through the town, stops at
    the local hotel and lays a EUR100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner
    he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the
    night.

    The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked
    upstairs, the hotelier grabs the EUR100 note and runs next door to pay his
    debt to the butcher.

    The butcher takes the EUR100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt
    to the pig farmer.

    The pig farmer takes the EUR100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the
    supplier of feed and fuel.

    The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the EUR100 note and runs to pay his
    drinks bill at the pub.

    The publican slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the
    bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services"
    on credit.

    The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel
    owner with the EUR100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the EUR100 note
    back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything.

    At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the EUR100 note,
    states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves
    town.



    No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is
    now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

    And that is how the stimulus package works.



    ** Courtesy of The Irish Times"

  • Comment number 38.

    #34. garethanddylan wrote:

    "Gordon Brown is still an excellent financial expert"

    No he's not and he never was. Remember this is the man that gave us record house prices, a record trade deficit, record household debt levels, a collapse in manufacturing, the record low company birthrate, supported the sale of UK utilities to oversea buyers, sold all our gold off cheap, sold Westinghouse to the Japanese months before declaring a pro nuclear reactor policy.

    I could go on and on and on but you get the picture. The man was a disaster for the UK economy exceeding Thatcher by a factor of ten in terms of the damage he did.

  • Comment number 39.

    get back into downstreet gordon and save the uk from the condem's! the country needs you!

  • Comment number 40.

    at post number 8. gordon brown got the country out of recession and was easily our best chancellor in living memory with low levels of inflation and lower levels of unemployment when coming into office whilst increasing the efficiency of our health service! don't even mention the gold he saw because norman lamont's black wednesday error was much much worse! now that i have stunned you, jog on and leave the debating to grown ups!

  • Comment number 41.

    #37 fineboney

    Not a very good joke:
    The hotel proprietor is out of pocket since he doesn't get to keep the money given to him the second time.

  • Comment number 42.

    37. At 19:39pm on 08 Dec 2010, fineboney wrote:

    I am uneasy about the joke below. Is this really how a stimulus package works?

    =================================================

    Please, don't feel uneasy - that's how we run our economies now!

    Oh, I know it's supposed to be a serious endeavor - but that was 15 years ago. With respect, you need to get with the program. We don't do prudence anymore (see this blog). We have machines that can produce currency as required. Wealth creation is just so ... yesterday.

    The tourist, hotel owner, butcher, pig farmer, Farmers co-op, publican, and hooker all realize this. They don't care whether or not their debts are paid - moral hazard has been abolished!

    Congratulate yourself on successfully navigating Economics 101!

  • Comment number 43.

    Before i begin I would just like to set the record straight and state that I am no friend or advocate of Brown. However, I find it rather strange that the UK is so misinformed about the financial crisis. Up until the PIIGS went belly up it was easy for the "Gordon Brown Ate My Hamster" reportage to pass for fact.

    What is not being reported and I am disappointed with Mr Peston is that Banks effectively have a monopoly on creating credit. They have seriously maxxed out and created too much credit that their balance sheets are collosal.

    This is why governments (not just the UK) are having to bail out their banks by diverting tax payers money to prop up insolvent banks. Mr Peston knows full well that ALL banks have benefited and not just the ones that the government have taken a stake in. Wikileaks have shown that banks which are supposedly the strong banks have been given clandestine credit line loans to the tune of hundreds of billions. I have no problem with that but what I do have a problem with is the senior bankers (not board members) who are unaccountable and will siphon off billions of pounds on revenue in the form of bonuses from processed debt that governments have injected in to keep them afloat. If the government had not stepped in, there would be tumble weed blowing in Canary Wharf.

    I strongly urge you to read Greg Pytels essay which was submitted to the House of Commons Select Committee and published.
    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmtreasy/144/144ii.pdf

  • Comment number 44.

    Is this leading to a job application?

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    I believe that many of the bonds, that some bloggers mention here, are held by pension companies and are intended for use to pay many of our private sector pensions. If those investments are damaged or wiped out, surely it will simply be passed on to us in the form of lower [or no] pension payouts. Cannot see the Conservatives being happy to bail out, ie nationalise, all pension funds – but in my view it would be the only realistic answer.

    So Gordon Brown may well be right, turmoil and trouble ahead: but take care, you may get what you wish for

  • Comment number 47.

    Remember this is the man that gave us record house prices, a record trade deficit, record household debt levels, a collapse in manufacturing,

    thatcher implemented those policies! the the right to buy policy for example. when the recession hit and prices rose, people found themselves in negative equity and could not afford to keep up with the payments of their house! A collapse in manufacturing occured during thatcher's time as a result of her selling off public utilities and also massive spending cuts on welfare. She also looked abroad for buying cheaper commodities, so obviously our industries which provided those commodities could not afford compete at those prices so went under causing thousands of people out of work.

    To the tories who blame gordon brown for the recession. Firstly, it was a global recession. Yes, this was the deepest since the war but look at the facts and compare it to the last recession under the tories. We were in a much deeper recession which was global and the most severe since the wall street crash in 1929 under labour compared to the tories in 1990 and yet we were in both recessions about the same. Why? the labour government invested money whereas the tories did nothing! A left wing government can never cause its own recession! Fact! Their ideology prevents this! Russia were not in recession in the 1930's. We had a recession at the end of ww1 but did not after ww2 even tho we were bankrupt after ww2! We had a right wing government after ww1 but a left wing government after ww2!

  • Comment number 48.

    Gordon Brown's opinion matters because
    1. he is in contact with EU leaders and
    2. he has an in depth knowledge of the British Government as well as senior officials at the Bank of England.
    The central theme of his new book, "Beyond the Crash", is that the US and Europe will be hamstrung by low growth unless and until the world's biggest economies co-ordinate their economic policies and their financial regulation.
    Well, when one of these countries is the United States and the other is the EU, that's not going to happen, and I'm sure Gordon Brown knows it.
    For financial institutions in particular Brown wants a new "global banking constitution", rules that would go even further than the current Basel agreement on capital requirements.
    Well, when one of these countries is the United States of America and the other is the EU, this is not going to happen either, and I'm sure Gordon Brown knows it.
    I remind the world that years ago, when Gordon Brown was at the height of his reputation as chancellor, he had a formidable financial reputation.
    Former British Prime Minister, but more importantly, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown knows that this crisis CAN BE REVERSED, but for this to happen world’s leaders MUST WORK TOGETHER.
    Well, when one of these blocks is the United States of America and the other is the EU, this is not going to happen either, and I'm sure Gordon Brown knows it.
    Brown brings to the table his remarkable financial acumen.
    Let us not forget that it was Gordon Brown was sought to establish this mandatory, much-needed, high level of capitalization via "the Tobin tax". On November 7th, 2009, Brown used the meeting of G20 finance ministers in his native Scotland to set out the Tobin tax on financial transactions. The revenue would serve as an insurance fund in case the banks required costly government bail-outs in future. Unless, he maintained, a Tobin tax were implemented worldwide, financial institutions would bounce from one country to in a sort of elitist tax evasion. Some in Europe were/are keen on the levy but Mr Brown must have known that the AMERICANS would batter & kill the idea.
    There were reasons why Mr Brown’s suggestion got short shrift from Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England.
    1. The AMERICANS wanted banks to make some sort of insurance contribution. (Ha ha!)
    2. Hector Sants, chief executive of the FSA, wanted a pool of “contingent capital”. Downing Street seemed foolishly confident that senior British bankers would run to support such a measure. (Ha ha!)
    Mr Brown probably now regrets being so soft and malleable with bankers. George Osborne, the Conservatives’ shadow chancellor, has recently sought to capture the public mood by promising curbs on bonuses in the financial sector. Tellingly, the Tories have quietly opposed the idea of a transactions tax, suggesting other ways of raising money for an insurance fund. (Ha ha!)
    Brown knows about the utter recklessness and irresponsibility of the American banks that he believes contributed to the ugliness of the financial catastrophe. What else would you call bundled derivatives, hidden content, given that all-trusworthy AAA rating. Such nefarious instruments severely impacted all the STUPID PIIGS. (Personally, I thought derivative bundles might even be illegal.)
    Brown is blunt in talking about technical failings, but more so ethical failings. Brown contends that financial markets must have morals; he suggests that the only way to truly ensure that the world economy does not flounder again is to institute a Financial Institution Constitution (solid, immovable rules).
    As Brown himself says: "We now live in a world of global trade, global financial flows, global movements of people, and instant global communications. Our economies are connected as never before, and I believe that global economic problems require global solutions and global institutions."
    The crisis, Brown believes, exposed the pitfalls of globalization itself: As economies have become more interconnected, regulators and governments have failed to keep pace and step up the rules & regulations. It's a failure of UNREGULATED global markets. It's a failure of international collective action.
    Billions and billions of people are in need of, starting to demand a better globalization. This book, Gordon Brown says, is his alert of a forthcoming decade of lost growth; whereas his answer is a call to more responsible globilization.
    I wonder what Gordon Brown would think about working more with China on the resolution to sovereign debt?

  • Comment number 49.

    Perhaps Mr Brown feels that the national financial disaster was all the fault of the bankers, and that he played no part.
    He may have a point.
    But just what is the role of Chancellor of the Exchequer?
    Isn't the regulation, behaviour and policies of the banks under the constant scrutiny of the Chancellor?
    Or is it just a free-for-all?
    Don't all banks operate under the rules set out by the host nation, and the government of the day?
    Or is the Chancellor just a powerless observer?
    In the end, when it comes to the control of the economy, surely the buck stops with the Chancellor.
    Surprisingly, I believe that Gordon Brown was a good Prime Minister, but major mistakes may have been made by many in previous years.
    One Monday morning in October 2008, the whole country found out just how bad those mistakes were.

  • Comment number 50.

    37. At 19:39pm on 08 Dec 2010, fineboney wrote:
    ‘I am uneasy about the joke below. Is this really how a stimulus package works?
    Along tale followed by:
    No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is
    now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.
    And that is how the stimulus package works’


    Yes, all you need now is a rich traveller with £2,000,000,000,000.00, and proportionately leave it on all the debtor’s mantelpieces and everything will be fine.

    It’ll be £100.00 for a loaf of bread and £100.00 for a litre of diesel afterwards, but what the hell, it’s getting near Christmas, you never know, perhaps Great Uncle Mervyn will oblige.

  • Comment number 51.

    Look whose after a job in Europe then!

    Missing out on the huge expense account and need to be the centre of attention?

    Do something useful like helping the homeless.

  • Comment number 52.

    47. At 20:43pm on 08 Dec 2010, joely85 wrote:

    To be fair to Thatcher, she did say: "The trouble with socialists is that they always run out of other people's money."

    GB didn't just run out of our money - he ran out of his government's!

  • Comment number 53.

    37. At 19:39pm on 08 Dec 2010, fineboney wrote:
    ‘I am uneasy about the joke below. Is this really how a stimulus package works?
    Along tale followed by:
    No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is
    now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.
    And that is how the stimulus package works’

    The correct answer if of course NO!
    The hotelier gets his tax bill and finds he’s let the traveller disappear off with his 100 euros and gets petitioned for bankruptcy.

  • Comment number 54.

    It's depressing to see so many people here adopting the 'yah boo Gordon Brown, got us into this mess' attitude on here.

    I don't have that much respect for the man's work as Chancellor (and very little as Prime Minister) but he is certainly telling it like it is here. I don't think he has the answer to the problem, but then who does? Certainly not the pixie Cameron who doesn't appear to understand that there is a global crisis, let alone have any idea how to deal with it, and Osborne has already left on the tardis for destinations unknown.

  • Comment number 55.

    Why the hell does he STILL want to rescue the banks. Has he learned nothing! It appears not. The taxpayer is done bailing out banks, start figuring out how to let them have a soft crash.

  • Comment number 56.

    A tricky (not trick) question: which job was Gordon Brown worst at? Chancellor or Prime Minister? of course you could argue that he remained as Chancellor as well.

    I would have to choose Chancellor as he had longer to get it wrong. Particular low spots were taking £5 billion per year from the pension funds and abolishing the 10p tax rate.

  • Comment number 57.

    Dear Gordon, why did you sell our gold without asking? It would be rather useful about now.

    Rather than pointing out the obvious, Gordon should put his experience to good use and consider alternative ways through this. Then again borrowing more to bail out more is not exactly lateral thinking. Well done Gordon.

  • Comment number 58.

    Many European governments were following the same disastrous lack of control over lending.
    Governments seem to have this habit of copying what is happening elsewhere, consequently disasters can spread very easily.
    It could all so easily have been avoided in the UK.
    A ban on 125% mortgages.
    A ban on self-certified mortgages.
    Strict deposit requirements.
    Far more borrower information required, and some sense in banking as to when borrowers may be "over-stretched".
    A little "foresight" as to the possibility of future problems in the property market, rather than just blindly charging into the hornets nest.
    Boring, plodding stability is infinitely preferable to the roller-coaster.
    Lending criteria have all now been tightened up, of necessity, and far too late.
    But how could Gordon Brown have stopped UK banks getting so heavily involved in the US sub-prime disaster?
    That is a tricky one.
    As he himself said....far more transparency was required.
    And if the Chancellor really is just a "powerless observer" over finance.....he shouldn't be.

  • Comment number 59.

    50. At 20:47pm on 08 Dec 2010, Dempster wrote:
    'Yes, all you need now is a rich traveller with £2,000,000,000,000.00, and proportionately leave it on all the debtor’s mantelpieces and everything will be fine.

    It’ll be £100.00 for a loaf of bread and £100.00 for a litre of diesel afterwards, but what the hell, it’s getting near Christmas, you never know, perhaps Great Uncle Mervyn will oblige.'

    If you leave it to the free market, then yes. What happens if you fix the price of bread and diesal?


  • Comment number 60.

    re #56
    PM is First Lord of the Treasury. Technically, Chancellor is PM's deputy as far as Treasury Matters are concerned. Practically, the jobs separated a long time ago. Behind the scenes, PMs have tended to seek PM's approval for plans, and/or been overruled, such as Lawson in 1988.

  • Comment number 61.

    Now that he has finished his book do you think he could find some time to turn up at his place of employment ???

    I hope no one buys it, a worse Christmas present i couldn't imagine, and it must be difficult to know whether to categorise it as fiction or non fiction

  • Comment number 62.

    re #49.
    Please see #60

  • Comment number 63.

    RP 'His fear is that the current process of bailing out one over-stretched eurozone country at a time (Greece followed by Ireland, so far), rather than going for a once-and-for-all bailout scheme for the entire eurozone and all its banks, will elongate and maximise the economic pain for eurozone members. In those circumstances, international investors would "pick countries off (for punishment) one by one".'
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hope faker Jacques reads this. Not just the bankers, then ...

  • Comment number 64.

    re #61
    Walked past a bookshop yesterday in City of London and Mandy's book was in a bookcase that bore the title BESTSELLERS at the top.

    Huh?

    He's signing there tomorrow. Wonder how many will turn up and buy?

  • Comment number 65.

    23. At 18:41pm on 08 Dec 2010, ProfDocDad wrote:
    Brown increasingly reminds me of Jimmy Carter - he is shaping up to be a much better ex-Prime Minister than Prime Minister.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Make a list, if you can, what Carter did wrong while in power.

    Then make a list of what Brown did wrong while in power from 1997 to 2010.

  • Comment number 66.

    Of course these European governments lacked "prudence".
    Where have I heard that before?

  • Comment number 67.

    At 20:56pm on 08 Dec 2010, TonyH wrote:


    To be fair to Thatcher, she did say: "The trouble with socialists is that they always run out of other people's money."

    GB didn't just run out of our money - he ran out of his government's!

    ____________________

    the debt as a percentage of GDP is not much higher when they left office as it was when they started, yet schools were built and repaired, NHS Direct was formed, the economy was stimulated, more doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers. Cancer survival rates went up, crime went down, children have access to modern teaching methods.

    All programmes being reversed - the two week cancer guarantee has been removed, building schools for the future scrapped, NHS Direct to close (27,000 people every day use this service), police officers being made redundant. Watch cancer survival rates come back down, crime go up and children being taught using Victorian Methods.

    advice to the conservatives and read up facts! I bet they would blame gordon brown for england not getting the 2018 world cup or the chilean miners getting trapped!

  • Comment number 68.

    GB was the absolute worst Chancellor and PM we have ever had. Dipstick did not realise when setting up BoE that China would not evermore create lower cost products. We are now facing reality and this means that we will not be able to afford oil, food etc.

    I suggest that we arrest GB and put his children and wife in jail for treason, GB can then be treated as he should by being whipped in public every day alongside MK. This is the only way that we might prevent social breakdown, such that it destroys the UK. TB will emigrate as he should! And have his and his wife's nationality stripped from him.

    I have beeen predicting this outcome since 1999 and I have never found an economics reporter that would agree with it. Since I worked in the private sector, everyone wanted to beleive that GB was right, now we know that he and Mervynn King were incapable of reading the markets.

    The best outcome would be for a preventative nuclear strike against China (has to be preventative as there needs to be no response) - wiping out at least 300m people. As an active Christian, I cannot agree to this, so assume that we will have to adopt Chinese living standards. This is not particularly appealing to a parent of three British children.

    Despite my convictions, you could argue that Crash Gordon and TB created this mess by giving the poor more and as such the poor should suffer the reductions. This is a very difficult area and personally I would require the whole of the last government to repay their overspend, personally!

    Regards

    Face facts

  • Comment number 69.

    gordon brown and labour gave us the following which would never have happened under the tories!

    the shortest NHS waiting times in history

    - three million more operations a year

    - over 44,000 more doctors

    - 90,000 more nurses

    - GPs open into the evenings and at weekends

    - free cancer prescriptions

    - a two-week maximum wait to see a cancer specialist

    - over 100 new hospitals

    - the Winter Fuel Allowance

    - free TV licences and free bus passes for pensioners

    - the Pension Credit

    - the New Deal for the Unemployed

    - full-time rights for part-time workers

    - the Social Chapter

    - record maternity pay

    - for the first time in history the right to paternity leave

    - the biggest programme of council house building for 20 years

    - the Disability Discrimination Act

    - the Racial and Religious Hatred act

    - the Equalities Act

    - the first black cabinet minister

    - the first Muslim minister

    - the first black woman minister to speak at the Commons despatch box

    - civil partnerships, gay adoption, the repeal of Section 28 and yes the right to book into a bed and breakfast

    - devolution: a Scottish Parliament, a Welsh Assembly and, yes, even a Mayor for London

    - the transformation of our great cities with bright new dawns for Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester

    - the Human Rights Act

    - crime down by a third

    - the hand gun ban

    - domestic violence cut by two thirds and rape convictions up by half

    - more police than ever on our streets

    - the world’s first ever Climate Change Act

    - beating the Kyoto emissions targets

    - the tripling of overseas aid

    - the cancelling of debt of the poorest countries

    - the ban on cluster bombs

    - peace in Northern Ireland

    - a Britain in Europe’s mainstream not in Europe’s slipstream

    - free swimming for kids

    - free museum entry

    - the right to roam

    - banning fox hunting

    - the Olympics for London

    - half a million children out of poverty

    - extended schools

    - 42,000 more teachers

    - the best ever exam results in schools

    - Education Maintenance Allowances

    - record numbers of students – and for the first time the majority of students are women

    - a doubling of apprenticeships

    - a Child Trust Fund for every newborn child

    - Sure Start children’s centres

    - free nursery places

    - and Child Tax Credits that this Labour government brought in and which a Tory government would cut because they just do not get it, never have, never will.

  • Comment number 70.

    The reason Gordon Brown's hopes for a global response to the banking crisis haven't materialised is really very simple. Brown is basically a decent, honest man who thinks that the wealthy people who run the show actually give a stuff.

    So some very silly "Masters of the Universe" turn their banks into basket cases; do the very wealthy care? Of course they don't - Governments will protect the investments of the wealthy by throwing the taxes of the poor at them. So the result is economic downturn is unemployment; do the very wealthy care? Of course they don't - high unemployment means that wages can be screwed down. Why do you think we've had it for so long? So nations run up huge deficits to "shore up" the banks; do the very wealthy care? Of course they don't - they know that when the axe is being wielded it won't be coming anywhere near them.

    For the very wealthy our economic problems mean shedloads of cash being taken from the poorest members of our society to ensure that they - the wealthy - can continue to live la dolce vita. And better, the economic downturn will make sure that the poor continue to know their place.

    Brown is an honest. decent man. He was easy meat for the mega-rich

  • Comment number 71.

    55. At 21:42pm on 08 Dec 2010, NonLondonView wrote:
    Why the hell does he STILL want to rescue the banks. Has he learned nothing! It appears not. The taxpayer is done bailing out banks, start figuring out how to let them have a soft crash.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Absolutely! Remember - the investments of the vast majority people are guaranteed by the Government. Only the super-rich lose when banks crash

  • Comment number 72.

    Robert, my dear chap, if you must interview people on serious subjects please choose someone whose opinions might enjoy at least a little credibility. Having inherited an economy so robust that it managed to withstand many years of financial assault (billions stripped from pension, gold sales, inflated public sector jobs and salaries, etc, etc), Mr Brown presumably felt he needed to add the ‘other role’ to his portfolio in order to finish the task. Inevitably, success followed. Formidable, indeed!

  • Comment number 73.

    34. At 19:19pm on 08 Dec 2010, garethanddylan wrote:
    Gordon Brown is still an excellent financial expert.

    How did he lose so much of our money in the gold market if he is such an expert? He could have left our gold reserves alone but he arrogantly knew better and sold it at a quarter of the price now.....

  • Comment number 74.

    Gordon Brown?

    Wasn't he the dozy bloke who claimed to have put an end to 'Boom and Bust' whilst at the same time stoking the first half of said cycle for all he was worth, then claiming surprise when the whole thing blew up in his face?

    Sorry, but the mans record in office speaks for itself. Specifically, he has the honour of being the only Chancellor in modern British history to have presided over a period during which the British banking sector effectively bankrupted itself (forget the bust, the damage was done while he was in Number 11), who encourged the activities of said banks at the time, and when the balloon finally went up managed to (according to himself, at least) cover himself in glory by answering 'A' to the following not-exactly-difficult multiple choice question...

    Britains retail banking sector is effectively bankrupt do you...

    A - Sign on the dotted line to promise the whole of the productive capacity of the econonmy will be used as required to ensure said sector doesn't collapse, thereby ensuring tomorrow actually happens.

    B - Allow said sector to collapse thereby effectively turning the lights out on the economy overnight. Goodnight Vienna. Hope you've stocked up on beans.

    Brown would be out of his depth in a puddle. Please, someone, push him into one!

  • Comment number 75.

    Hi All, I am responding after having read up to No. 58.

    I think that, on balance, most comments are a) Political, b) Apolitical, or c) Verbose or a combination of those three.

    We need to park the events of the past and deal with the needs of the present and the future.

    We are dealing with a world that has 192 countries (the UN registry number I think), each of which it growing at a different rate.

    Each of these countries is trying its best to increase its own wealth. Each of these countries has its own problems. These may be internally - i.e. corruption, tax evasion/avoidance, drug related issues, religious issues, or imigration/emigration issues - or externally - i.e. terrorist issues, coercion issues, political issues.

    The whole issue is being exascerbated by instantaneous inernet communication which is fast outrunning the pace at which the average human being can react.

    May I indulge you in my theory,

    Around 700 years ago England, out of a desire for a stable government, started off with a proverbial cube of wood (probably oak!). Since then, over the years, and by generations of experience, skill, and knowledge, this cube of wood has been honed into an almost round ball of wood which, since the difference in the all the political parties in the UK and Northern Irland is small, rolls steadily in a forward direction.

    Our coaliton government is endeavouring to roll this ball down the bowing alley for a full strike to get out of the current difficulties.

    What other countries are trying to do is to hone this cube of oak into a round ball in 50 years or even five years, ignoring the 700 years of mental and psychological proression which is also required.

    We are on a planet where things evolves at a pace. Things related to us evolve at the rate of the evolvement of average human thinking. Computer advancement has now encouraged a faster evolution than many humands can cope with.

    We need to slow down and take stock. I remember the phrase 'Stop the world, I want to get off'. Where did that come from?

    Alan Parker
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 76.

    #69 joely85
    impressive list, shocking bill, i want to see you pay your share, sucker!

  • Comment number 77.

    Blame Thatcher she was the advocate of free trade and imposed it on us which led the way for the rest. She followed that little charmer General Pinochets economic philosophy.
    We can never compete. We should not be asked to compete with people on $2 a day. Unfettered free trade has brought Europe and USA to its knees. The banks have been plate spinning ever since to make it seem like people were doing OK when in fact they were not.
    Brown is correct we need a level playing field no more of all this rubbish were important business are effectively blackmailing governments threatening to move to a more favourable tax regime or lax workers rights etc... It beggars belief but we have even had banks threatening this. We have a situation were the 2nd highest paid worker in the city is a tax avoidance specialist sending a clients money around the world manipulating tax loop holes so his client pays next to nothing tax.
    I say all governments should meet sign up a minimum code of ethics which will be shared by all countries any country who does not sign up will therefore become an economic pariah and no trade will be forthcoming I believe if europe could sign up to this then America who likes to think it can dictate would be left with no alternatve but to sign up.

  • Comment number 78.

    Labour got it wrong a hundred years ago when they thought capitalism would evolve piecemeal into socialism - no need for a revolution!

    But after the onslaught that began with Thatcher, continued by Blair & Brown & is now taken up by Cameron, the frontiers of the state are being pushed back further & further.
    Everything is being privatised (looted) for profit.

    The capitalist system is breaking down.

    Brown did his bit to save the banks (& capitalism); it wasn't enough.
    So like a good 'socialist' he continues to instruct on want's necessary to save capitalism - of course, all in the name of minimising unemployment.

    He needs to read Luxemburg's Reform or Revolution.

  • Comment number 79.

    He's back - Goondog Trillionaire!

    What an absolute goon ... he must have been reading up on Stephanomics!

    Next thing ... he'll be saying that there is an ongoing financial crisis and its global and nothing to do with him ... etc etc

    How dare this 'no strategy crettin' even show his face!

  • Comment number 80.

    '77. At 02:39am on 09 Dec 2010, bmac1 wrote:
    Blame Thatcher she was the advocate of free trade and imposed it on us which led the way for the rest. She followed that little charmer General Pinochets economic philosophy.
    We can never compete. We should not be asked to compete with people on $2 a day. Unfettered free trade has brought Europe and USA to its knees. The banks have been plate spinning ever since to make it seem like people were doing OK when in fact they were not.
    Brown is correct we need a level playing field no more of all this rubbish were important business are effectively blackmailing governments threatening to move to a more favourable tax regime or lax workers rights etc... It beggars belief but we have even had banks threatening this. We have a situation were the 2nd highest paid worker in the city is a tax avoidance specialist sending a clients money around the world manipulating tax loop holes so his client pays next to nothing tax.
    I say all governments should meet sign up a minimum code of ethics which will be shared by all countries any country who does not sign up will therefore become an economic pariah and no trade will be forthcoming I believe if europe could sign up to this then America who likes to think it can dictate would be left with no alternatve but to sign up.'

    It's a whole ideology.


    It's really difficult.
    I make the same mistake way too often.
    And it is this:

    Who do governments work for?
    Who do they say they work for?
    What's the difference between the two answers?

    Now, do you think you'll get that ethical agreement?


    Elected officials must be the only group who do better the more they deliberately trip up their bosses if indeed the bosses are the electorate!

    For those interested, Mr Gove has been the centre of a bit of a twitter storm among the youth. Oh, they are upset!

    "Anyone put off... uni by fear of..debt doesn’t deserve to be at uni in the first place"
    Haven't we all be lectured over and over about how this whole economic nightmare is because the public borrowed too much?
    Haven't we already established that the only way we can survive is this 'fixed' economy is to borrow?
    Haven't we established that the spivs have just been robbing us all with their dodgy financial products?
    And now this!

    I want to go back to bed, wake up and discover the past thirty years has just been a dream, just a dream and everything is OK. There are no unthinking nutters in London calling themselves elected officials, and saying they are very important people, writing as if they are.

    Planning a family? Do it soon before 5 year olds are sent bills, loan documents etc as math homework.

  • Comment number 81.

    Let us get this right.

    Brown has no training in economics, he has no knowledge of economics, he has no undertsanding of foreign affairs. He demonstrated all of that most forcefully by destroying my beloved country.

    He lies about his ability and many believe him (that I fear is fraud), he believes himself omnipotent and regards himself as the fount of all knowledge, when in fact he is ignorant to the point of humiliation and deserving of no respect.

    So why now should he be entitled to pontificate on global economics or indeed have any audience whatsoever to listen to his inane ramblings?

  • Comment number 82.

    Oh the breakfast cereal has just gone on the table!

    In just the first few minutes of this we have:
    'We know that the loses are indeed being hidden and that they are being secretly subsidised..... with a wink and a nod from Ben Bernanke, the Fed Chairman, to gimmick the accounting rules so that the banks don't have to recognise their loses...' William K. Black, a former bank regulator!

    He's talking about trillions of dollars of loses.

    How much gimmicking is going on in EU. Would that matter anyway given we are in a global economy?

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=5973

    And from the Guardian we have, wait for it, a bank story!
    This little gem for lunch time - Banks charged extra £1bn for PFI schemes, that is of course if Assange isn't electronically escaped due to a DDOS attack crashing the electronic locks and we're all glued to the online news, dividing our attention between that and today's kettles!

  • Comment number 83.

    I wonder if Gordon or Robert actually read this stuff?

  • Comment number 84.

    #81 greatBobFrance

    You're absolutely right on every count - but I personally think this is the first correct statement he has made about the economy and that the whole Euro experiment is circling the drain unless 'something' can be done. He talks about a 'rescue package for the Eurozone' ....just where is the money for that going to come from? Do the Chinese have the same number of noughts in a billion?

  • Comment number 85.

    Gordon Brown says in his book:

    “I am neither a finance expert nor a trained economist but fear of making technical mistakes (of which, I am sure, this book is full) should not silence us altogether when the task before us is so urgent.”

    Shame he does not recognise the technical mistakes he made as Chancellor and PM.

    #89 Are you Ed Milliband in disguise? Crime is down because the police close cases of theft without investigating them (personal experience). There are more people in the police force, there certanily do not appear to be more police on the streets unless it is coming up to an election. The hand gun ban really worked didn't it? Climate Change Act - as if we can do anything to affect the universe - it was a tax raid pure and simple. And if we have the best exam results ever, how come we have slipped down the list of educational achievement - perhaps the exams are easier?

  • Comment number 86.

    77. At 02:39am on 09 Dec 2010, bmac1 wrote:
    "Blame Thatcher she was the advocate of free trade and imposed it on us which led the way for the rest"

    So 20+ years on, it is still Mrs Thatcher's fault. Hmm. perhaps we should blame the dinosaurs for they left no workable structure behind for us to use. Perhaps we could blame William The Conqurrer for winning the Battle Of Hastings and importing French methods. Perhaps we could blame Henry VIII for the current problems are because the Church has no influence. Perhaps we could blame the Big Bang of the Universe for not creating us as socialist. Perhaps we could blame Blair/Brown for spending like mad in the period 1997-2007 when they should have been saving a little for a rainy day. Perhaps we can blame Blair/Brown for using university as a means to keep youth unemployment down. Perhaps we can blame Blair/Brown for making the BoE responsible for inflation based on CPI and not RPI and so mortgage payments were not included in fiscal policy and thus a housing bubble was allowed to happen. Perhaps we can blame people who spent what they did not have so they could live like 'celebs'

  • Comment number 87.

    69. At 23:49pm on 08 Dec 2010, joely85
    70. At 23:52pm on 08 Dec 2010, Andrew Morton

    Good posts. I agree.

    From an economic perspective:
    He was right to increase the deficit to preserve jobs and output. It is the only sensible govt response when private spending slows and private debt is being repaid.

    Re Gold. A Warren Buffet quote
    "If you took all the gold ever mined and put it in one place it would occupy a space 67ft squared.
    At current prices you could either buy all the farmland in America plus 10 Exxon Mobils and have £1 trillion spare walking around money.

    Or you could have a big lump of metal

    Which would you have? "

    Gold Standard's gone. Fools abound.

  • Comment number 88.

    '85. At 09:12am on 09 Dec 2010, yam yzf wrote:
    Gordon Brown says in his book:

    “I am neither a finance expert nor a trained economist but fear of making technical mistakes (of which, I am sure, this book is full) should not silence us altogether when the task before us is so urgent.”

    Shame he does not recognise the technical mistakes he made as Chancellor and PM.

    #89 Are you Ed Milliband in disguise?.... Climate Change Act - as if we can do anything to affect the universe'


    Right
    You've got a crystal ball and know what #89 is going to write?
    And this 'as if we can do anything to affect the universe'

    Gob-smakcing, oh my dearie me! Give me strength, coffee! Or maybe you need to simply watch the Prof. Ian Stewart BBC. programmes on you tube - they were still there a couple of weeks ago.

  • Comment number 89.

    [[[69. At 23:49pm on 08 Dec 2010, joely85 wrote: ]]]

    Yes Joely85 an impressive list of achievements but unfortunately he did so by borrowing vastly more than the nation could afford leaving a massive and growing debt which will reach £1.3 trillion, possibly higher!

    That debt will have to be repaid plus interest effectively mortgaging us and future generations for many years to come.

    Any idiot can improve their life by irresponsible borrowing but evently payback time arrives and that is NOW.

    GB and the Labour government were profligate and you and I wil pay the price.

    Well done GB.

  • Comment number 90.

    Pass me the garlic and sharpen a stake as an exorcism is needed!

  • Comment number 91.

    89. At 09:41am on 09 Dec 2010, ObserverinMonmouth wrote:
    "Yes Joely85 an impressive list of achievements but unfortunately he did so by borrowing vastly more than the nation could afford"

    A Sovereign Govt that is the sole tax collector in the currency of issue does not need to borrow to finance deficit spending. The fact that it chooses to does not present any problem either in terms of repaying it or in paying the interest on it.

    May sound strange but its true. Whether GB actually understands this, I'm not sure but the fact remains he acted to preserve jobs and if you compare that action to what the lunatics in charge of the asylum now are up to, he comes out on top.

  • Comment number 92.

    Too many Conservative apologists around today needing to beat up the last government in an attempt to cling to their denial of the failure of the system that was put in place 30 years ago. If it makes them feel better then good for them.

  • Comment number 93.

    88. At 09:41am on 09 Dec 2010, copperDolomite wrote:

    "You've got a crystal ball and know what #89 is going to write?"

    Ooops - finger slip :-) And hey, everyone else here seems to have a crystal ball about what s going to happen, so why can't I? ;-)

    "And this 'as if we can do anything to affect the universe'

    Gob-smakcing, oh my dearie me! Give me strength, coffee! Or maybe you need to simply watch the Prof. Ian Stewart BBC. programmes on you tube - they were still there a couple of weeks ago. "

    The climate has changed whether we humans have been here or not and whether we have had capitalism or not. To think that we can make a difference to a millions year old planet in a few decades is the disbelief part. If the politicians really wanted to make a difference, we would have more nuclear power and a lot less wind turbines - turbines which will never be able to produce enough electricity for the country no matter how many they erect

  • Comment number 94.

    Is that the same Gordon Brown that was either chancellor or P.M. when this happened:

    1997 Bernie Ecclestone million pound donation. F1 sponsored by tobacco manufacturers.
    1998 Peter Mandelson, resigns after failing to disclose £373,000 loan.
    2000 David Blunkett fails to declare income from rent on his Wimbledon home
    2000 John Prescott fails to disclose benefit of Union owned flat
    2000 Gordon Brown faces Inquiry over flat purchased from Maxwell ruins
    2001 Henry McLeish (Labour) failed to refund income received from constituency office 2001 Hindujahs receive passports after Labour donation
    2001 Buyer of Millennium Dome Robert Bourne accused over donation to Labour
    2001 Keith Vaz, Peter Mandelson and the Hinduja brothers.
    2002 44 constituency Labour parties in Scotland fail to register re: donations from unions. Failure to do so is a criminal offence
    2002 Labour MP Alan Meale in trouble over deportation case linked to donation
    2002 Labour accuse Paddington crash victim Pam Warren of being a Tory stooge
    2002 Stephen Byers resigns from government after various scandals
    2002 Jo Moore resigns over ‘burying bad news’ email
    2002 Labour spin doctors trash reputation of Rose Addis
    2002 Enron accused of buying access to Labour after donation
    2003 Margaret Hodge forced to resign over libelling Demetrious Panton
    2003 The apparent suicide of Dr David Kelly and the "sexed up" "September Dossier",
    2004 Revealed that 70% of Scottish quango appointees have links to the Labour party
    2004 Willie Haughey, who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Labour party, appointed to the post of chairman of Scottish Enterprise Glasgow.
    2004 Lord Drayson’s company wins non competitive tender contract after £50,000 donation to Labour
    2005 Blunkett resigns over links to DNA firm
    2005 Stephen Byers apologies for lieing over Railtrack
    2005 Labour MSP Ken MacIntosh resigns over non declaration of financial interests
    2005 Birmingham Labour Party accused over post voting irregularities
    2005 Revealed that Jack McConnell met with Labour donor Willie Haughey to discuss compensation on a land deal where the M74 would pass through Haughey's property. Initial compensation of £7.4 million rose to £16.5 million
    2006 Tessa Jowell, Labour cabinet minister, embroiled in a scandal about a property remortgage allegedly arranged to enable her husband to realise £350,000 from an off-shore hedge fund, money he allegedly received as a gift following testimony he had provided for Silvio Berlusconi in the 1990s.
    2006 Charles Clarke & the failed deportations
    2006 John Prescott's Affair(s)
    2006 Defeated Labour MP Calum MacDonald gets publicly paid job as Forestry Commissioner
    2006 Prescott pays no Council tax
    2006 Margaret Beckett’s Royal Flights
    2006 Cash for peerages

    But the worst came as time was running out:

    2009 Details of covertly recorded discussions with 4 Labour Party peers in which their ability to influence legislation and the consultancy fees that they charge (including retainer payments of up to £120,000) were published by The Sunday Times.

    2010 Stephen Byers, Geoff Hoon & Patricia Hewitt secretly filmed offering to influence Government Policy for money.

  • Comment number 95.

    It is clear that monetary reform is absolutely vital as the banking system is a parasite bleeding the poor and middle class dry and giving it to the wealthy. Those waiting for some trickle down will be dead before they see it. However in this country I would say radical reform is needed across all society.

    Welfare reform
    Monetary reform
    Tax reform
    Public sector reform

    However without wholesale political and electoral reform we will see NOTHING. The people in power are career politicians who believe in top down government and while bankers and shysters and con-parations are at the top the majority, us, will be bled. We need a system of government that is not the 200 year old, 2 party boar, which was SOLEY designed to keep the top at the top. To get this country back to a situation where an attempt is made to give every one a roof, a job, and food, the current incumbents have to be ousted. Sadly the only way i see it happening before peak-oil and climate change leave us exposed is through a revolution. We, the people, will not be allowed power while we have a Neo-Liberal democracy. Im not for revolution because of unforseen cosequences. But as the pace of collapse quickens I see very little alternative.

  • Comment number 96.

    Gordon Who?

  • Comment number 97.

    92. At 09:58am on 09 Dec 2010, Squarepeg wrote:
    "Too many Conservative apologists around today needing to beat up the last government in an attempt to cling to their denial of the failure of the system that was put in place 30 years ago. If it makes them feel better then good for them."

    Or perhaps just people old enough to remember that both the last and previous Labour govts left the country in a broken state



  • Comment number 98.

    People, people. Please be a bit more understanding. This guy is looking for a JOB! Good degree from Edinburgh, lots of experience, a great "people man", good listener, superb track record of successful political and economic management, great sportsman (winner of 2009 Downing St phone-throwing competition) temperament as good as any labrador. Please endorse his application for any UN or other global or European body

  • Comment number 99.

    4. At 17:34pm on 08 Dec 2010, thomas_paine wrote:

    He forgot the allegorical stories about money being the root of all evil and why Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Interesting POV...and a slight misquote that I sometimes feel compelled to correct

    "The love of money is the root of all evil:" (1Tim 6:10 KJV)

    A subtle, but important difference, wouldn't you say?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Here's another old aphorism

    "He who pays the piper calls the tune".

    So, if Government spending is financed by taxes, Ministers are beholden to the people.

    If Government spending is financed by borrowing, Ministers are beholden to the banks.

    Selah!

  • Comment number 100.

    Once again wise after the event.
    However thankfully he resisted the temptation to takes us into the Euro.

 

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