Friday, 9 October 2009

Statesman of the Year or American Stooge?

Ben Storrs, Press & Publicity Officer

Gordon Brown may have won the statesman of the year award in New York last month but opinion polls still record all time lows in his domestic popularity. On an international level he is much more popular after leading the G20 to deliver a global plan for recovery at the London summit. But he is especially liked in America for his decisive action after congress rejected the trillion dollar Federal Reserve plan to buy up toxic assets in US banks. Gordon Brown swept in to use British money to buy hefty stakes in banks. Barack Obama has said Brown’s actions were unprecedented and bold. He “saved the world” – and this was the reason the G20 summit was held in the UK.

When presenting the award Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, praised Gordon Brown’s “dedication to handling the world economic crisis”. Yet this is the problem. The credit crunch may have had global implications but it wasn’t a crisis for the whole world; it was an Anglo-Saxon crisis; it originated in America and Britain and it affected us more than anyone else. Yet it was left to the junior partner to bail out the financial system first. Brown mortgaged Britain to pay for America.

We are spending the equivalent of 45 to 50% of our GDP to bail out the economy because America didn’t, and in return Brown has been fobbed off with this award. Yet he doesn’t see a problem with this. On receiving the award he said “After 1945, the world summoned its energies to build a new international order. Now we are being tested again...something bigger and even more lasting than the great reconstruction of the post-war era is possible: the creation of the first truly global society.” A global society? Was that really in his job description?

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