Documentary on the Brown Years

Michael Cockerell, the doyen director of documentaries about politics and government, took us through the humiliations of politicians who have mismanaged our economy – the Wilson/Callaghan devaluation of 1967, the Callaghan/Healey IMF debacle of 1976, and the Major/Lamont withdrawal from the ERM. The highlight of the program, however, was the ‘performance’ of Gordon Brown There he was entering the Treasury in 1997 to fervent applause. There he was, presenting his Budget to Parliament, in which he boasted of the tenth year of continuous growth, and crowed yet again about how there would be “no return to boom and bust”. And there he was unveiling Lehman Brothers’ new London office in 2004, showering the bank with praise. And there he was in December 2008, following the collapse of that very same bank, telling the House of Commons that he had “saved the world”. These visual records of Brown over 13 years gave far more vivid proof of why his hands should now be prised from the levers of power than any Conservative Party political broadcast could begin to do. The programme helped one remember that what Brown did was not an honest mistake, but a series of manifestly dishonest ones. He is also the grand architect of our misfortunes. Having Brown still in charge in 2010 is as if Neville Chamberlain had still been Prime Minister in 1942. And at least Chamberlain, whatever his faults, was not a liar.

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