Gordon Brown

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010

James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British politician who was elected to Parliament in 1983 and who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010. He was the Labour Party's treasury spokesman since 1992, and Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997. He is currently serving as Special Envoy for Global Education at the United Nations.

Gordon Brown in Davos 2008

Quotes edit

  • There are as many Scottish roads to Socialism as there are predictions of Britain's economic doom - but most of them demand three things: a coherent plan for an extension of democracy and control in society and industry which sees every reform as a means to creating a socialist society; a harnessing of the forces for industrial and community self-management within a political movement; and a massive programme of education by the Labour Movement as a whole.
    Gramsci's relevance to Scotland today is in his emphasis that in a society which is both mature and complex, where the total social and economic processes are geared to maintaining the production of goods and services (and the reproduction of the conditions of production), then the transition to socialism must be made by the majority of the people themselves and a socialist society must be created within the womb of existing society and prefigured in the movements for democracy at the grass roots. Socialists must neither place their faith in an Armageddon or of capitalist collapse nor in nationalisation alone. For the Jacobin notion of a vanguard making revolution on behalf of working people relates to a backward society (and prefigures an authoritarian and bureaucratic state), then the complexity of modern society requires a far reaching movement of people and existing conditions and as a co-ordinator for the assertion of social priorities by people at a community level and control by producers at an industrial level. In such a way political power will become a synthesis of – not a substitute for – community and industrial life.
    This requires from the Labour Movement in Scotland today a postive commitment to creating a socialist society, a coherant strategy with rhythm and modality to each reform to cancel the logic of capitalism and a programme of immediate aims which leads out of one social order into another. Such a social reorganisation - a phased extension of public control under workers' sustained and enlarged, would in EP Thompson's words lead to "a crisis not of despair and disintegration but a crisis in which the necessity for a peaceful revolutionary transition to an alternative socialist logic became daily more evident."
    • Introduction to "The Red Paper On Scotland", 1975.

Member of Parliament edit

  • Our new economic approach is rooted in ideas which stress the importance of macro-economics, post neo-classical endogenous growth theory and the symbiotic relationships between growth and investment, and people and infrastructure.
    • Michael White, "The gift of tired tongues", The Guardian, 30 September 1994; Norman Macrae, "You've never had it so incoherent", Sunday Times, 2 October 1994.
    • Speech at an economic seminar, Tuesday 27 September 1994.

Chancellor of the Exchequer edit

  • My first rule – the golden rule – ensures that over the economic cycle the Government will borrow only to invest, and that current spending will be met from taxation.
    • Hansard, 6 ser, vol 297 col 304 (2 July 1997)
    • From Brown's first Budget speech.
  • I said that this would be a Budget based on prudence for a purpose and that guides us also in our approach to public spending.
    • Hansard, 6 ser, vol 308 col 111 (17 March 1998)
    • From the 1998 Budget speech.
  • Under this Government, Britain will not return to the boom and bust of the past.
    • Pre-Budget Report, 9th November 1999.
  • David Blunkett and I both take the same view that it is scandalous that someone from North Tyneside, Laura Spence, with the best qualifications and who wants to be a doctor, should be turned down by Oxford University using an interview system more reminiscent of the old school network and the old school tie than justice. It is about time for an end to that old Britain where what matters more are the privileges you are born with, rather than the potential you actually have.
    • Alexandra Frean, John O'Leary, Philip Webster, "Brown goes to war over Oxford elite", The Times, 26 May 2000, p. 1.
    • Speech at a Trade Union Congress meeting, 25 May 2000.
  • Politics seems much less important today. When you see your young daughter smiling as she was, and moving around, it's a superb feeling.
    • Colin Wills, "'This will be a big change in my life .. politics is now less important' says new dad Gordon Brown", Sunday Mirror, 30 December, 2001, p. 4.
    • Press conference on the birth of his first daughter, Jennifer Jane Brown, 29 December 2001; she died nine days later.
  • I'm here – but I haven't been given permission to drive.
    • George Pascoe-Watson, "I wannabe No10 pilot", The Sun, 19 May 2006, p. 2.
    • Response to question by Sky News journalist "Do you like the feeling of being in the driving seat?" when in the Cockpit of an Airbus A380 on 18 May 2006.
  • I understand that in the UK there have already been 10,000 complaints from viewers about these remarks, which people see, rightly, as offensive. I want Britain to be seen as a country of fairness and tolerance. Anything detracting from this I condemn.
    • Alexa Barcia, Shekhar Bhatia, "C4 bosses under fire in race row", Evening Standard, 17 January 2007, p. 4.
    • Asked about racist bullying of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother, during a visit to India on 16 January 2007.
  • We will not return to the old boom and bust.
  • I want to lead a government humble enough to know its place – where I will always strive to be – and that is on people's side.
  • It is time to train British workers for the British jobs that will be available over the coming few years and to make sure that people who are inactive and unemployed are able to get the new jobs on offer in our country.
    • "Brown pledges 'British workers for British jobs'", Evening Standard, 5 June 2007, p. 1.
    • Speech to the GMB Union, 5 June 2007.

Prime Minister edit

  • I have just accepted the invitation of Her Majesty The Queen to form a Government. This will be a new Government with new priorities and I have been privileged to have been granted the great opportunity to serve my country and at all times I will be strong in purpose, steadfast in will, resolute in action in the service of what matters to the British people, meeting the concerns and aspirations of our whole country.
  • On this day I remember words that have stayed with me since my childhood and which matter a great deal to me today, my school motto: "I will try my outmost". This is my promise to all of the people of Britain and now let the work of change begin.
    • Statement at Downing Street, 27 June 2007.
    • Statement outside 10 Downing Street immediately after becoming Prime Minister. The motto referred to is an English translation of the Latin Usque conabor. Brown said "outmost", as spelled on the BBC News transcript, but other sources usually give "utmost".
  • I think Mrs Thatcher, Lady Thatcher, saw the need for change and I think whatever disagreements you have with her about certain policies - there was a large amount of unemployment at the time which perhaps could have been dealt with better – we have got to understand that she saw the need for change. I also admire the fact that she is a conviction politician. She stands very clearly for principles. I believe, and I have said before, that I am also a conviction politician. I am convinced about certain things, that we have got to support the talent of every individual in the country, that people have got to respect other people, that we have got to have a work ethic that works, that we have got to have discipline, as I have said, in our communities, and that is the only way with families working well and communities well, that we can do well as a country. So I am a conviction politician like her, and I think many people will see Mrs Thatcher as not only a person who saw the need for change in our country and took big decisions to achieve that, but also is and remains a conviction politician, true to the beliefs that she holds.
  • 56,000 companies have already benefited from the schemes that we have brought in. If we have taken the advice of the Conservative Party, no money would have been used. As Barack Obama said only yesterday, doing nothing is not an option.
  • What has become clear is that Britain cannot trust the Conservatives to run the economy. Everyone knows that I'm all in favour of apprenticeships, but let me tell you this is no time for a novice.
  • Good strong banks are essential for every family and for every business in the country and extraordinary times call for the bold and far-reaching solutions that the Treasury has announced today.
    • Press Conference, 8 October 2008, announcing the policy of buying shares in banks in order to prevent the spread of the financial crisis.
  • I take full responsibility for what happened. That's why the person who was responsible went immediately.
  • The Conservative Party always opposed the fiscal stimulus; they want to cut now the support we are giving to jobs, homes and businesses.

    A few days ago they said they want to tear up the 2010 budget, impose deep cuts immediately and accused us of moral cowardice for not doing so. Of course, typically of them, they called for big cuts before they called for small cuts before they called for modest cuts before they called for big cuts yet again.

    So their biggest claim to be the party of change is that they are the Party that keeps changing their minds.

    • [2], Welsh Labour Conference, 27 February 2010.
  • I agree with Nick.
    • First Leaders' Debate, showing his apparent approval for Nick Clegg and his policies, 15 April 2010.
  • That was a disaster. Sue should never have put me with that woman... Everything, she was just a sort of bigoted woman who said she used to be Labour.
    • Comment caught on microphone following a confrontation with Gillian Duffy, a Rochdale pensioner who asked a question about Brown's stance on immigration. The incident was later dubbed Bigotgate by the media. 28 April 2010.
    • The Guardian, 28 April 2010.
  • Above all, I want to thank Sarah for her unwavering support as well as her love, and for her own service to our country. I thank my sons John and Fraser for the love and joy they bring to our lives. And as I leave the second most important job I could ever hold, I cherish even more the first – as a husband and father. Thank you and goodbye.

Post premiership edit

  • "And if you’re like me and a million more people who are convinced that the case for cooperation is greater than any case put for separation then I say to you: hold your heads high. Show dignity and pride. Be confident. Let us have confidence that our values are indeed the values of the majority of the people of Scotland. That our principles of sharing and cooperation are far better and mean more to them than separation and splitting apart."
  • If this referendum is about anything it is about what kind of Britain we are and what kind of Britain we aspire to become. We should be a leader in Europe, not simply a member. We should not be fully out and we should not be half out. We should be fully in. We should recognise that the world has changed since the first referendum and we should be advocates for cooperation in an inter-dependent world.
  • She should take no deal off the table - it's a terrible, catastrophic result to end up with a no deal and end up with businesses at risk, with trade at risk, with the supplies of health service products at risk.

Attributed edit

  • There is nothing that you could say to me now that I could ever believe.
    • Melissa Kite, "Revealed: Brown's furious response to Blair after PM reneged on his promises to quit last year", Sunday Telegraph, 9 January 2005, p. 1.
    • According to Brown's biographer Robert Peston, Brown made this remark to Tony Blair in October 2004 when Blair announced his intention to fight for a third term of government, after telling Brown he intended to stand down.

Quotes about Brown edit

  • The next election will be a flyweight versus a heavyweight. However much the right hon. Gentleman (David Cameron) may dance around the ring beforehand, at some point, he will come within the reach of a big clunking fist.
    • Hansard, House of Commons, 6th series, vol. 453, col. 29 (15 November 2006)
    • Tony Blair, speaking in the House of Commons; the term 'big clunking fist' was taken as a reference to Brown.
  • The House has noticed the Prime Minister's remarkable transformation in the past few weeks, from Stalin to Mr. Bean.
    • Hansard, House of Commons, 6th series, vol. 468, col. 275 (28 November 2007)
    • Vincent Cable, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats.
  • Luckily for the world economy, however, Gordon Brown and his officials are making sense. And they may have shown us the way through this crisis.
  • I think he is a clever man and I have a very considerable regard for him. Yes, much more than for Tony [Blair] in many ways. First of all, I think he's not as tacky as Tony. I can't see him feathering his own nest in the rather awful way in which the Blairs have done. The proverbial holidays in Tuscany with dubious people, shall we say? ... Now I don't see Gordon doing that. I think he's still too much a son of the Manse...a principled man in his personal conduct.
    • Norman Tebbit, interview with The Times Magazine (29 September 2007), pp. 38–39

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