It pays to study Gordon Brown’s record, since his current campaign largely glosses over it. I am not just talking about Britain "best placed to face this recession" and then being last to emerge from it. Nor am I talking about "A Labour government pledges not to increase tax rates," before it raised income tax, firstly be removing the cap on National Insurance and then by increasing the top rate of income tax from 40 to 50 percent.
I am not talking about the government that "abolished boom and bust" before presiding over the biggest bust in history. Nor do I refer to the self-imposed rules about "only borrowing to invest" before borrowing more money to spend than previous governments have ever borrowed or spent. We can gloss over the pledge to "balance the budget over the course of a cycle" First he redefined the cycle to fudge the discrepancy, and then abandoned it altogether, blaming foreigners.
Promising financial prudence, he sold Britain’s gold reserves at the trough of the market, about a quarter of its current level). He promised to keep his predecessor’s budget targets, but raided the pension funds for over £5bn a year, took a windfall £23bn in 3G licence fees, using the proceeds to fund his spending.
Mr Brown likes spending. It creates dependent public sector workers and makes everyone more dependent on his largesse. But spending takes money, and that means taxation and borrowing. Jeff Randall has a very good piece in which he relates an early conversation with (then) Chancellor Brown.
He told me: "Interest payments on the national debt are £25 billion a year. We’re spending more on national debt repayment than on schools or law and order, and that is a situation I don’t want as a hallmark of a Labour government… The public borrowing requirement was £23 billion last year. We plan to get it down very substantially."
Randall points out that the current deficit is £180bn, with interest payments coming up to £40bn, more than is spent on defence.
Brown now tells us that it’s all about character, and that he has it, being a plain, straightforward guy. Unfortunately for him, that is on the record, too. He has been exposed as a bully with no regard for the truth. What on earth did we do to deserve him?