Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gordon Brown

I have just bought an interesting book from ebay written by Gordon Brown (in 1989). It's called Where There Is Greed... and details all that was wrong with Thatcher's Britain. It's actually extremely well written for a polemic, although some of the chapter headings (such as 'Privatisation: Who Benefits' and 'Unequal Britain: How the Rich Became Richer') are now a little ironic. He also refers to Scotland:

'Within days of Mrs Thatcher's coming to power hopes of a Scottish Assembly were betrayed. A majority referendum vote was ignored, the promise that ministers would bring forward new proposals was forgotten and all-party talks on devolution, also pledged, never took place.'

This is a little disingenuous, as it was a Labour MP's amendment which scuppered devolution, not Mrs Thatcher. And the all-party talks did take place, although admittedly not in any substantial fashion.

'The Scottish Office lost power and influence,' he says of the department during the Thatcher years. Again, this isn't entirely fair, as George Younger - and to a lesser extent Malcolm Rifkind - generally got what they wanted. 'Scotland became a laboratory of social engineering, with the Poll Tax, a formal abnegation of the concept of fairness, being exacted as this book goes to press...In Scotland Mrs Thatcher has always governed without support.'

Interestingly, the book's foreword thanks Paul McKinney, who worked with Brown in the House of Commons. McKinney was later head of news and current affairs at Scottish TV when I worked there as a reporter, and is now at Al Jazeera Television in the Middle East.

[Gordon Brown, Where There Is Greed...Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain's Future]


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