July, 30th 2007

Here's a stupid assessment of why people are worried about Gordon Brown defaulting to "Old Labour"

– Liz Mair

Something is up at the Washington Post this morning.

In addition to screwing up some reporting in relation to the YouTube debate, they're also running what I can only describe as one of the most asinine pieces in history, on the subject of Brown and Bush, which states this:

But it is Brown's association with Shrum that has provoked perhaps the most murmuring in British political circles. Shrum's background as a more traditional liberal, closely aligned with Ted Kennedy, has been taken as a sign that perhaps Brown is looking to depart from the "Third Way" politics that defined Clinton and Blair. And Shrum's notable lack of success at the presidential level has provoked grumbling among some Brits that Brown might have found just the strategist to help lead Labour back to the wilderness from which it came before Blair.

OK. Let me get this straight. The reason that people in Britain are worried that Gordon Brown might go back to Old Labour, genuinely leftist tradition, is because he's pals with Bob Shrum?

You mean that they might not have got the tip-off that Brown is going to veer hard left, quite quickly, now that Tony Blair is off the scene by virtue of:

- him having been ever so happy to adjust the thresholds applicable to different bands of taxation by reference to inflation, as opposed to increases in earnings (which has had the effect of increasing the amount of tax that people in the same relative financial position have had to pay, as earnings in the UK are increasing at a greater rate than inflation)?

- him having vastly expanded spending, following his initial two years as Chancellor, when he stuck to Tory fiscal plans?

- him having increased the quasi-equivalent of Social Security taxes to pay for vastly increased health spending?

- him having effectively increased taxes to a level of 42.4% of GDP in 2006-- a higher rate than in tax-happy Germany?

- him having begun taxing dividends accruing on stock held in pension funds?

- him being a consistent class warfare lambaster of anything that looks like "elitism"-- be it the manner in which Oxford University runs its admissions process (which, incidentally, results in Oxford taking in a lot more students from state, i.e., public schools, than many Universities, including some considered less "elite") to the continued existence of some grammar (i.e., AP public) schools, which Brown doesn't seem to like very much?

Gordon Brown was always the (much more) socialist of the Blair-Brown duo, and anyone who has ever lived in Britain, or spent any vaguely significant amount of time reading about British politics knows this.

The tip-off that Brown is going to go "Old Labour," and very likely very soon, is not that he's buddies with Bob Shrum. It's that he's Gordon Brown.


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