One year ago, Gordon Brown was being hailed by many as the saviour of the world’s banking system. On October 14 2008 Hank Paulson, the US Treasury secretary of the time, announced a rescue plan for America’s stricken banks. Germany, Italy, France and Spain had just done the same. All the initiatives had something in common: they looked very similar to the move announced a week earlier by the British prime minister, says George Parker of the Financial Mail.
It intrigues me that this is one of the political PR gaffs of the decade. On the face of it Gordon Brown may have saved the world for the brink of a financial catastrophe. Time will tell… Yet he has been unable to capitalise on this and be seen as a leader who acted decisively. Part of the problem is in Mr Brown’s behaviour. Finance is his natural habitat and it is even argued that, at the time of the crisis, he was more interested in settling long-term questions of financial reform than the nitty-gritty of winning a general election.
I’m not a fan of Gordon Brown, or David Cameron for that matter, but I do think Gordon Brown deserves credit for the leadership and intelligence that he showed twelve months ago. The Financial Times printed an article on the 14 October 2009 called His Finest Hour. It covers the timeline from Sept 17, 2008 to October 14, 2008 and shows the steps that Mr Brown took to pull the world back from the edge of disaster. For this alone I think he deserves some credit, even though the implications of his action mean that we still have a tough road ahead of us, at least there is still a road and not a great abyss.
For all the global approbation for his decisive action a year ago, domestically there has, so far been little dividend. “It was perhaps Gordon’s finest moment,” says one cabinet minister. I’m not sure how many voters see it this way. Gordon Brown you need a new more talented PR agency, I know a good one if you are interested.
You can read the Financial Times article here