Best for Britain?: The Politics and Legacy of Gordon Brown by Simon Lee

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By Simon Lee

On twenty eighth June 2007, Gordon Brown ultimately succeeded Tony Blair as best Minister for excellent Britain, having waited within the wings for over ten years. Does his premiership sign a shift to the left in British Politics? what's going to it suggest for the UK's dating with the U.S.? Simon Lee systematically examines Brown's politics during the last ten years of Labour energy, and offers an exam of Britain's most vital political determine.

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In relation to the wider question of the relationship between socialism and nationalism, Brown argued that Scottish identity had been forged on the anvil of successful British capitalism. qxd 24 8/31/2007 2:49 PM Page 24 Best for Britain? 58 In short, the SNP had merely brought the professional and commercial classes back into politics. 59 Claiming that devolution had become ‘all things to all people’, including ‘the insertion of a sixth tier of government which threatens to make us the most over-governed country in Europe’,60 Brown concluded his socialist challenge by focusing on the opportunity presented by events ‘to force the pace towards socialism in Britain as a whole’.

Brown’s introduction highlighted the new poverty in Scotland, where more than one million people existed on or below the Government’s official poverty line. 70 Brown claimed the welfare state was now endangered by ‘a new Tory social ideology which is doing to the legacy of Beveridge what “monetarist” dogma has done to the heritage of Keynes’. He noted that the New Right’s proposals for the welfare state would mean market forces would determine the shape and price of social services. 71 As an alternative, Brown advocated the Left should re-assess its social strategy to address changing circumstances, if not the ideological challenge posed by the Thatcherite New Right.

He began his speech by highlighting the impact of de-industrialisation on the people of Dunfermline East and the assault on social justice inflicted by ‘mass unemployment and its inevitable consequence, mass poverty’. qxd 26 8/31/2007 2:49 PM Page 26 Best for Britain? In Scotland, welfare dependency had increased. In 1979, 405,000 were on supplementary benefit; by July 1983, 750,000 received means-tested benefits. Paradoxically, even with benefits as low as £26 per week, the government argued that they were a disincentive to employment, although a study from the influential think-tank, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, indicated that only one claimant in 40 was receiving more income than they would have received from employment.

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