Six things Gordon Brown did that were not a complete disaster

Six things Gordon Brown did that were not a complete disaster

Gordon Brown has already described himself as an "ex-politician".

Now, the BBC reports, he will make it official and announce this evening he is standing down as the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath at the 2015 election. Vince Cable once famously told Brown he had transformed from Stalin to Mr Bean during his time in office - but here are six things he actually did right during nearly two decades in frontline politics.

1. Preventing Britain from joining the euro

Gordon Brown has said he was prepared to quit as chancellor to prevent Britain from adopting the euro as its currency after Labour came to power in 1997. "When I first expressed my doubts about Britain's entry, I stood virtually alone in the Cabinet," he wrote in his memoir, Beyond the Crash. "Indeed, I was ready to resign as chancellor if I was unable to persuade my colleagues of the grave risks of taking us immediately into euro membership."

2. International development

In 1999 while chancellor, Brown wrote-off hundreds of million pounds in debt owed to Britain by third world countries. Outside of office, he has fought to secure the education rights of girls around the world as the UN's special envoy for Global Education and through the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown.

3. Saving the world...

Yes, he accidentally slipped up and claimed he saved the world during PMQs in December 2008. But Brown, alongside Alistair Darling, did help preserve the global banking system, playing a leading role in the response to the 2008 financial crisis. As Paul Krugman wrote at the time: "The Brown government has shown itself willing to think clearly about the financial crisis, and act quickly on its conclusions. And this combination of clarity and decisiveness hasn’t been matched by any other western government."

4. And helping save the Union

Brown won plaudits from the left and the right after making this passionate plea to keep the United Kingdom united the day before the Scottish independence referendum in September.

5. Not forgetting this speech, on the eve of the 2010 election

Continuing with the theme of last-minute barnstorming speeches by Brown, he gave this rousing talk to community organising charity Citizens UK in May 2010, three days before losing the general election. "As you fight for fairness, you will always find in me a friend, a partner and a brother," he told the audience.

6. Leaving office.

The Brown family left hand-in-hand, with their heads held high.

More: Andrew Marr's impression of Gordon Brown is terrifying

The Conversation (0)