Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I, for One, Am Not So Grateful, Dave

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I, for One, Am Not So Grateful, Dave

Article excerpt


ONCE again I am proud to bring you a column that is spectacularly out of touch with the mood of the region, the nation and quite possibly the entire human race.

I fear this must be so because I spent last Tuesday evening doing a badly co-ordinated jig of glee in front of the television while the helicopters hovered over Downing Street.

Between swigs from my celebratory glass, I loudly enquired why the departure of the Browns could not be more like that of the Ceausescus, while my wife murmured soothingly "He's gone now, love. Just let it go."

Then David Cameron arrived at the famous front door and blow me down if almost his first words were not a glowing tribute to his predecessor: "Compared to a decade ago, this country is more open at home and more compassionate abroad and that is something we should all be grateful for."

Really? More open to all those immigrants who hoovered up most of the new jobs created in the New Labour years, certainly, but how else? And what exactly do our major foreign policy initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan have to do with compassion? My mystification only deepened when I turned, for light relief, to a social networking site, and found a friend reporting that she had wept over Gordon Brown's departure, even though she is not a Labour voter. It must have been those well-scrubbed children that brought a lump to the throat, I guess. At least Lord Mandelson and Alastair Campbell have not lost their touch.

A myth is being constructed in which Gordon Brown was all along simply a dedicated public servant who strove to do his best for his country, was unluckily wrong-footed by a global financial crisis that blew up on his watch, and finally departed with dignity. This is untrue in every particular.

Right from the start, with the cut-price sale of our gold reserves, the destruction of our private pension system and the introduction of divided, "light touch" financial regulation, Mr Brown's 13 years in Downing Street were a disaster. …

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