Gordon Brown and the Doom Loop

How can you reconcile the Gordon Brown of 2014 and the Gordon Brown of 2024?

The 2014 version had Britain as an economic colossus, a font of multicultural progression, and a family of equals. Scotland he warned would be stupid to go it alone when we could rely on the  ‘broad shoulders’ of British fiscal and economic certainty.

Now Brown complains we are all stuck in a ‘Doom Loop’ of relentless poverty. He explains solemnly: ” …these are desperate times for today’s poor children. That 4.3 million children – a number equivalent to four cities the size of Birmingham – were last week declared to be below the official poverty line is shameful enough, but on the ground we are now witnessing types of penury we once imagined we had consigned to history. Children now form 1.5 million of the 6 million people enduring ‘very deep’ poverty, living not only below the standard breadline, drawn at 60% of the typical income, but below 40%. One million children are thought to have had a recent brush with ‘destitution’, defined as being without the absolute basics: keeping warm, dry, clean, housed and fed.

Last night, 140,000 children were homeless, and 1.1 million youngsters tried to go to sleep without a bed of their own; it is estimated that 2.6 million children are missing out on meals.”

What happened to all that economic security?

 On the one hand – one of the family members of the self-styled ‘family of equals’ – elected a bunch of sociopathic MPs who formed a series of governments committed to monumental self-harm and relentless profiteering – on the other hand Britain is in the grip of institutional forces that reject any reform or progressive change of any substance.

But what’s Brown’s solution to this Doom Loop?

I mean, he won’t be in office so its sort of an abstract question, Brown’s role is a talismanic one – he’s brought out every so often to be aired in public like a sacred icon – a reliquary of an imaginary past when Labour were a socialist party (or something).

He offers three solutions:

Better Gift Aid

“By simplifying the Gift Aid system, £700m of ancillary relief, which currently can end up being back with higher-earning donors, can go straight to good causes.”

He argues that we should appeal to the mega-rich and ask them to give a tiny fraction of their wealth: “The top 1% donate overall just 0.2% of their income – But if that top 1% were incentivised to donate just 1%, £1.4 billion a year could be raised for good causes.”


We covered this HERE. 

Brown suggests that families in deep poverty should be referred through social workers, teachers, health visitors and GPs to the new corporate-funded Multibanks – which “are food, clothes, bedding, toiletries, furnishings, and baby banks rolled into one.”

Get People off Benefits and Back to Work

Brown writes: “There can be no ducking the changing nature of the poverty we are addressing. A generation ago, worklessness was the overwhelming cause.”

His solution? “We should offer NHS help to those who are sick and economically inactive to restore their fitness.”

Taken together it is an extraordinary manifesto, and incredible that this is presented as the progressive face of Labour.

The Gordon Brown of 2024 has abandoned the Gordon Brown of 2014. This is a study in the collapse of principle and ideals, and a study in the decline of Britain. What we are left with as an offering is the idea that the solution to a society distorted by grotesque poverty and inequality should ask for hand-outs from the 1% wealthiest people. What an obscene vision.

Comments (22)

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  1. Jim Ritchie says:

    The 2024 version had Britain as an economic colossus, a font of multicultural progression, and a family of equals. Scotland he warned would be stupid to go it alone when we could rely on the ‘broad shoulders’ of British fiscal and economic certainty.

    I think there’s a small typo. This is the 2014 version I believe.

    1. Oops, damn, fixed, thanks.

      1. Jim Ritchie says:

        Easily done!

    2. Oops, damn, fixed, thanks.

  2. MacGilleRuadh says:

    It has always amused me how The Broon is such a slavish devotee to the British state despite the clear contempt that state’s hierarchy has for him and his ideas.
    You’d think at some point this (allegedly) massive intellect would question his lifelong devotion to that state. But no he ploughs on and on, ever the willing little helper……………

    1. Jim Ritchie says:

      I completely agree. He’s stuck in a unionist rut and can’t get out.

      1. Nick says:

        The Unionist Doomloop

  3. Kevin Mulhern says:

    Who cares what he has to say.

    How about the 2002 Brown: “With Bank of England independence, tough decisions on inflation, new fiscal rules, and hard public spending controls, we today in our country have economic stability not boom and bust”

    There is one way to deal with idiots, ignore them!

  4. cherson says:

    So the “great” Broon’s solutions amount to charity (extending gift aid and corporate donations) and giving more responsibilities to an already overburdened NHS which has relatively high levels of vacancies. Nothing about additional financial aid from the state (such as the Scottish Child Payment). Asking the very wealthy to donate money but no mention of taxing them more. This sounds like an abdication of responsibility by Government. He has certainly come a long way (and not in a good way) since his socialism of the 1970s. Another example of Labour’s shift to the right and their attempt to mimic the Tories.

  5. Paddy Farrington says:

    Spot on Mike. Back to Victorian philanthropy. This is the logical consequence of abandoning a view of socialism as redistributing power to one based solely on values.

  6. Mark Howitt says:

    Is Gordon Brown’s simplification to Gift Aid to abolish higher rate tax relief on donations made through the scheme? I think that’s what he means by “£700m of ancillary relief, which currently can end up being back with higher-earning donors”. If so – and I agree with the sentiments of the article that as a society we shouldn’t be reliant on hand-outs from the wealthy – then my guess is that many higher rate tax payers will just look elsewhere to get higher rate tax relief, and overall donations through Gift Aid will reduce.

  7. Jennie says:

    I never held a very high opinion of Brown – he and I were in the same Economics class a loooooong time ago and at the end of lectures when every normal person was stumbling off for coffee, he’d be lumbering town to the lecturer, huge tomes under each arm, to ask questions, the big sook. Humourless, dour, pompous – but I thought the son of the manse at least had some kind of moral code.
    These ‘solutions’ are almost obscene in their heartlessness.

    1. It does seem remarkable in its complete abandonment of any fragment of social change. The assumption is that massive super wealth should sit side by side extraordinary poverty and inequality, and that the only thing wrong with the growth in foodbanks is that they don’t have other services on offer.

      1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

        Yes, that is exactly what he is proposing. He has written about this previously based on his experience of volunteering at a food bank in the Kirkcaldy area. It evolved into the kind of ‘multi bank’ that he refers to. Some large local businesses like Amazon made donations of items. However, essentially, however you look at it, this is paternalistic charity by the very organisations that caused and continue to exacerbate inequality and poverty. His proposals do not seek to change the socioeconomic paradigm, set out by Thatcher and continued by Blair and him.

        Essentially it is ‘know your place and respect people who are better than you’ (and ‘better’ means ‘wealthier’)

        By promoting the mendacious concept of ‘meritocracy’, Blair and Brown were saying poverty is failure and failure is your fault because you have no merit.

        1. John says:

          Alasdair – the Amazon Unit in Fife that Gordon Brown got involved with had received some very bad publicity around throwing out returned items prior to their involvement so the hook up was useful for Amazon.
          I find Gordon Brown very perplexing these days as his socialist principles (assuming he ever really had any) seem to have morphed into philanthropy from the Uber rich.
          I can only think this is due to:
          1)spending so much time with rich financial and business people over many years.
          2)the son of the manse coming to the fore.
          3)he is mirroring the shift in Labour Party policies of last 30 years (Corbyn years excepted).
          I suspect that it is the primary reason and at heart he is now just a deeply tribal Labour member above all else.

    2. Graeme Purves says:

      I’m afraid it’s the moral code of dour, humourless, pompous 19th Century Presbyterianism, Jennie. It’s straight out of the Victorian manse. It’s Thomas Chalmers’ belief in relief of the poor being dependent on self-help and voluntary charity.

  8. Wul says:

    Wasn’t it John Mclean who berated the Labour party for attempting the alleviation of poverty, but making no effort towards it’s eradication? Seems little has changed.

  9. Wul says:

    Get the super-wealthy to donate 1%? Peanuts!

    In the 1970’s, they were “donating” 83% via income tax. How much would that bring in Gordo?

  10. Graeme Purves says:

    Just so.

  11. Colin says:

    Typo . .

    ‘He explains solemely’


  12. Mike Parr says:

    Brown – not so much a “has-been” as a “never-wuz”. The man even when chancellor was a moron (light touch regulation anybody? ) incapable of thinking for himself and once out of office spouts irrelevancies – the latest is a good example. T
    he sad thing is – the MSM gives the idiot space/still “promotes him and his dribblings – rather than the likes of Kelton or Matzucarto etc etc.

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