Sunday, October 2, 2011

How Gordon Brown Saved Britain from the Euro and Why that Makes him a Hero

In his new book, Alistair Darling describes Gordon Brown's political style as "appalling," "volcanic," and "brutal." He should know. The two men sat together in the cabinet for years while Brown was chancellor. Darling then served as chancellor himself when Brown finally became prime minister. Now that Brown is out of office, it seems he has few political friends left. Still, his successors should erect a statue to him, for one accomplishment if nothing else: He saved Britain from the euro. Here's why that makes him a hero.

The story starts back in 1997, when Tony Blair was new to the job of prime minister. The euro was still three years away from realization, but already Blair was an enthusiast. Brown was skeptical, but he had a problem. Political solidarity required him to support the euro in principle, but his stronger sense of economic reality made him realize that it was a bad idea for the UK. His solution was to endorse the euro subject to the following five tests, which together were vague enough and tough enough that they could never be fully met: >>>READ MORE

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