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Tuesday 25th January 2011 | 13:30
Gordon Brown has spent very little time in recent months talking about the current Government. Sure, he's published his book on The Crash and made the odd speech here and there on Africa and development. But it's not exacty been frontline stuff.
Today, after dipping his toe last week on the issue of youth unemployment, he was firmly back in the saddle to talk about the GDP figures.
In a move that may or may not be welcomed by Ed Balls, who was doing an effective job on the airwaves (although executing his own U-turn on his doubts about the Darling deficit plan), the ex-PM popped up on CNBC for a "World Exclusive".
In the interview, Brown attacked the "complacency" of George Osborne over Britain's lack of growth and said he hoped President Obama's fiscal stimulus alternative could pull the West towards a viable recovery.
"Whatever you take account of in terms of the weather it's clearly a trend where the rate of growth has been slowing,
He also stressed that it was time for the G20 to agree a consensus on how to stimulate growth while cutting deficits.
"I think we often underestimate the importance of leadership [for a global recovery plan]. You've got to have deficit reduction as part of that plan, and it's got to be a serious part of the plan. But if you are not sending out a message collectively as international leaders, as we tried to do at the G20, then of course people will try to draw other conclusions and they will try to pick off one country after another or alternatively they will make a judgement about the inability of politicians to take a grip on the situation."
Brown also sounded like he'd been talking to Obama and the Dems ahead of the Pres's State of the Union speech.
"I think President Obama understands that this is an issue and I think he will speak about it this evening. It's something that President Sarkozy wants the G20 to be active on this year. But I would not underestimate the importance of giving markets confidence by governments saying, just as in 2009, 'We've got a grip on this situation. We know there's a deficit reduction to take place, but we also know that growth has got to happen.'"
But then he added his wider point about the dangers of cutting too fast, too soon.
"To be honest, if we have only deficit reduction, then that's the policy of the 1930s."
"The question for Britain, for Europe, for America is whether you are prepared for the next challenge. Simple blanket cuts without any thought for tomorrow, and without any recognition that they've got to be staged in a way that you don't imperil growth, is I think the policies of the '30s and that's just not going to work.
"We are starting to see that you would have less growth in some parts of Europe than people have been predicting. And you'll find, I'm afraid, that America will have higher growth but still higher unemployment."
UPDATE: Tory deputy chairman Michael Fallon is now onto this:
“Ed Miliband spent two decades working with Brown's cronies. Not only has he given them all the top jobs but he's even using Gordon Brown as a spokesman. These people brought Britain to the brink bankruptcy and all the Labour leader has to say is vote for me, I'd do it all again. Ed Balls can’t escape his record and now he can’t escape Gordon Brown”
FURTHER UPDATE: CNBC have now put up the full vid. Here it is:
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