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Sunday, 15 April 2012
This book looks at the premiership of Gordon Brown, a man who seems to have gone down as one of the least successful prime ministers in recent history.

The book portrays Gordon Brown as almost a Shakespearian tragic figure. The man who waited years to be Prime Minister and yet when he achieved that goal he rather failed and did not seem to enjoy it. He failed to live up to his own high standards for several reasons;
1. He surrounded himself with schemers who plotted and back-stabbed to get him to number ten and was unable to ditch them when he was there. This meant he had a lot of divisions festering within the Labour party.
2. After planned for so long to get into Number 10, once he was there he did not really have much of an idea what to do and lacked a clear vision for domestic policies. His policies were little different to Blair's.
3. He was a poor organiser and weak at man management. This meant it was hard to develop ideas from others within his government. Policies that were adopted were often poorly implemented.
4. He was also poor at communicating with the public, he compared poorly with Tony Blair in this regard and had difficulty connecting with the electorate.

The strength of Gordon Brown seemed to be that he was an intelligent, hard working and decent individual and he seemed to do best in a time of crisis.
1. He was well good in a crisis. He seemed able to focus on the issue, determine the best course of action and get things done. In many ways he seemed to enjoy crisis, frequently rushing to the COBRA crisis room to take personal command.
2. On the international stage he seemed to do much better with a vision of fighting poverty, a deep commitment to globalisation and a determination to deal with the financial crisis. The banking crisis was the area in which he was able to lead the world and act far more decisively than the confused administration in the USA.
3. He was skilled political operator who managed to survive the challenges from within his party. The Labour Party went into the election united and ultimately prevented an outright Conservative victory.

The book ends with Gordon Brown heading off into the sunset to do more on the international stage in areas such as development. The book portrays him in a balanced, if not slightly positive light. I found this book has a lot of research behind it, but this can make it feel a bit unstructured. It is also a bit long.