PM Brown Calls For A "New Progressive Era Across the World"
by Charles Lemos, Thu Jan 01, 2009 at 07:55:25 AM EST
In his annual New Year's Message, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown delivered a fiery though tempered speech. Cognizant that dark days do indeed lie ahead, the Prime Minister was also quick to assign the blame. Brown noted the "the failure of previous governments in previous global downturns was to succumb to political expediency and to cut back investment across the board, thereby stunting our ability to grow and strangling hope during the upturn." The Prime Minister added that 2008 would be remembered as the year in which "the old era of unbridled free market dogma was finally ushered out". Let's hope so but let's also realize that the conservative ideology of unfettered free markets, limited government and low taxes is far from defeated on both sides of the Atlantic. The fight goes on.
From the UK Guardian:
Gordon Brown today braces Britain for potentially its worst recession since the second world war by promising to work with Barack Obama to create a new progressive era across the world. He claims he can build "a global coalition for change" with the US president-elect.
The prime minister said 2008 would be remembered as the year in which "the old era of unbridled free market dogma was finally ushered out". In his traditional new year message, Brown struck a tone of tempered optimism, saying that Britain can this year build a better tomorrow through strategic investments while dealing with the dangerous challenges of today.
Hoping for a "new progressive era across the world," Mr Brown sees "purposeful and energetic governments giving real help to families and businesses when they need it the most; and through expanding through the downturn vital investments in our future."
He said: "The failure of previous governments in previous global downturns was to succumb to political expediency and to cut back investment across the board, thereby stunting our ability to grow and strangling hope during the upturn. This will not happen on my watch."
Brown is looking forward to working with Obama on the US fiscal injection package, a co-ordinated approach to climate change and on 2 April a meeting of the G20 countries in London to discuss setting up a new global financial structure. A co-ordinated reflation is twice as effective as isolated action, he said.
He contrasted his government's promise to help people through the recession with those putting forward "do nothing" policies, notably the Tories: "Today the risk of attempting to do too little is a greater threat than the risk of attempting to do too much. For those worried about jobs we will take every action we can. For those worried about their homes let me tell you that ordinary homeowners should not be the first to pay the price of financial failures. We will help people trying their best to pay their mortgages to stay in their own homes."
"The scale and speed of the global financial crisis was, at times, almost overwhelming. I know that people felt bewildered, confused and sometimes frightened," he said. "That is why the response had to be swift and decisive."
I am not sure if President-elect Obama shares these all of these sentiments, though well he should. It's time to place the dogma of unbridled free markets that has proved nothing but a race to the bottom upon the dustbin of history. It's time for a single-payer health system, it's time to invest in a new energy economy that weans us slowly off fossil fuels, it's time to rebuild our cities and our fraying national infrastructure, it's time to enact a national manufacturing plan, it's time to tackle the environmental challenges posed by climatic change, it's time to tackle the issue of corporate personhood, it's time to reverse the growing social inequality, it's time to restore honor and competence to government, in short it's to time undo the damage of 40 years of a Friedmanistic free market ideology run amok. It's our job to push the President-elect leftward so that indeed Gordon Brown's vision of a new progressive era across the world may come to fruition. It's time. Happy New Year.