I think that one of my New Year resolutions will be to give up reading  more news, views and reflections on what did or did not happen to the Blair/ Brown partnership during the New Labour Regime! I made an exception with Richards book as he is one of the few political commentators who I beleive offers an authentic and fair voice. I love his coherance and insight.

The book is a balanced misture of criticism and compassion. Richards understands what a messy world politics is and has some (proper) sympathy with the strength and even genius of both Blair and Brown.

Listen to this:

 ‘our changing views of Brown are partly explained by the contradictions in his character and his attempts to create so many false trails. He was a cautious risk taker, sweating neurotically over incremental moves and yet presiding over a revolution in the Treasury. he was hated by some of his colleagues, while others were so devoted to him they would have died for him. He was the greatest bibliophile in Downing Street since Gladstone, and yet struggled to write a decent speech. he entered politics with a desire above all to alleviate poverty and yet became an admiring ally of Alan Greenspan, the evangelist for the lightly regulated marketplace. He wanted Blairs job with an ambition that tortured him and yet he waited for more than a decade to make his move’ (page 440)

For those who are quick to judge, to dismiss, and to write off – beware – the future of this coalition Goverment is less that certain. Whether Goverment can afford to provide public services and at what level is part of our present struggle. What can be sacrificed for electoral popularity , how to reform effectively remain reall challenges for any Government!

I share Richards conviction that time will help the often confused picture of these years of achievement and failure to emerge and that a warmer and bolder and more understanding of Browns contribution will be allowed to be seen.

Whatever the case – this is a good book. Political commentary at its best.

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