The downturn, the recovery, Gordon Brown and the role of political leadership
Well done Gloria de Piero, Labour’s Shadow Home Office Minister, for praising Gordon Brown’s leadership during the financial crisis on last night’s Question Time (21 mins in on BBC i-Player). Given that Gordon is about as popular as a toothache, I half expected the audience to boo or laugh, but the fact that this comment was applauded showed the sense of justice among the audience.
Without naming names, Barack Obama does much the same thing in today’s FT. Obama writes:
“When we met in London two years ago … we forged a response that pulled the global economy back from the bring of catastrophe. That’s the leadership we’ve demonstrated before. That’s the leadership we need now…”
Remind me who was in the Chair at the London G20 summit?
Given the abuse that’s been hurled at him in recent years, I’d imagine that Gordon is past caring one way or the other, but Coalition arguments that Labour created this mighty mess, a mess which they must now clear up, must continue to be challenged. Memories are short and its easy to forget how close we came to a world economic collapse during the downturn.
Neither do I mention this simply for posterity. Barack Obama is right to say in the FT that when the G20 meets in Cannes next week, we need “the same sense of common purpose that allowed us to rescue the global economy two years ago”. In other words, the situation remains critical.
With the eurozone in crisis, and a Coalition Government still refusing to acknowledge the damage of its spending cuts, in spite or rising unemployment and non-existent economic growth, we need political leadership as badly as ever. Let’s hope we get some.