May 19, 2007


How Much Change from Gordon Brown?: The next occupant of 10 Downing St. is distancing himself from predecessor Tony Blair, but details are vague (Sebastian Borger , 5/18/07, Business Week)

Brown has openly distanced himself from the style and the political choices of his predecessor. A government under his leadership will be "a government humble enough to know its place, where I will always strive to be on the people's side," Brown said, adding that "I do not believe politics is about celebrity."

However, Brown remains vague on the issues. There is talk of greater efforts in the area of public housing. Five low-emission, so-called "eco-cities" in the southeast of England are to alleviate the lack of housing there and provide new impulses for environmental protection, and obsolete Royal Air Force bases are being considered as possible locations. Brown has also promised the British parliament greater powers -- including the decision on whether or not to send British troops abroad, which until now has formally fallen to the prime minister.

Brown says he will go to Afghanistan and Iraq before making any decisions on the British military's two most important foreign deployments. "Mistakes" have been made in Iraq, Brown has said, but without going into details. So far, there has been nothing to suggest Brown disapproved of Britain's involvement in the Iraq war or that he would now demand a faster withdrawal of troops. The British want to withdraw most of their troops from southern Iraq by the end of this year anyhow.

For Brown, good (economic) relations with the United States have always been more important than European unity -- a unity that will once more be put to the test during the negotiations on the planned European constitution. Britain will "hide behind the Poles and the Czechs," Katwala predicts. Both of the new EU countries are hostile to the current attempts to revive the constitution, which was believed dead following its defeat in national referendums in France and the Netherlands.

Brown is considered a far greater euroskeptic than Blair.

The danger for Mr. Brown is that David Cameron seems to be Tony Blair's natural heir, as Blair was the Lady Thatcher's.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 19, 2007 7:22 AM
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