NEWSMAKER-UK’s Brown steps down as Prime Minister

By Sumeet Desai

LONDON, May 11 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s Gordon Brown bowed to
the inevitable on Tuesday and stepped down as prime minister
after accepting his Labour party could not form a government
following last week’s inconclusive election.

Brown defied the odds to stay on as prime minister for five
days after the most closely fought election in decades ended
with the opposition Conservatives winning most seats but no
overall majority.

On Monday Brown said he would step down as Labour leader in
a last-ditch attempt to strike a deal with the third-placed
Liberal Democrats that would keep Labour in power.

But on Tuesday he accepted that would not be possible.

Commentators had been polishing Brown’s political obituary
for years but the 59-year old Scot repeatedly refused to be
written off. Time and time again, the clergyman’s son surprised
his critics with his doggedness.

“The most important thing in one’s life is to be determined
when bad things happen to you, and not to let events beat you,”
Brown once told Reuters, referring to a sporting injury when he
was 16 that cost him an eye and nearly made him completely
blind.

Much older than his rivals and lacking their easy charm,
Brown was widely judged to have come last in each of the three
televised debates between the leaders of the three main parties
during the election campaign.

“Bigotgate” made people only more certain that he was
doomed. The prime minister was caught on an open microphone
during the campaign complaining to aides that a pensioner he
just met was “a bigoted woman”.

Informed of his mistake, he rushed to the woman’s house to
apologise. But the damage was done and the next day’s newspapers
mostly showed Brown with his head in his hands looking utterly
spent.

BOOM AND BUST

Finance minister for a decade before succeeding Tony Blair
in June 2007, Brown was long lauded for skilful management of
the economy. His masterstroke was Bank of England independence
in 1997 and it was also his decision to not join the euro.

That reputation took a body blow as Britain suffered its
worst recession since World War Two, finally putting paid to his
once oft-repeated promise of ending boom and bust.

For a long time, he must have rued his decision not to call
an election in October 2007 before the crisis really hit, when
he was 10 points ahead in the polls.

Brown, a serious, sometimes brooding figure, then saw his
popularity plummet. By mid-2008, ministers were testing the
waters to see if he could be toppled.

But just as the global financial system was staring into the
abyss in the autumn of 2008, Brown came up with his plan to
recapitalise the banks. It was soon followed around the world.

Then came the London summit in April 2009. Brown got a
standing ovation from his fellow G20 leaders for brokering a
trillion-dollar lifeline for the crisis-hit global economy.

Any political capital vanished on news one of his closest
aides had sent emails smearing opposition politicians, followed
by an expenses scandal that tarnished all the main parties.

Perhaps the darkest hour of Brown’s premiership came in June
2009 when support for Labour plunged to its lowest level in a
century in European elections and cabinet minister James Purnell
resigned, calling Brown an electoral liability.

Brown survived but was weakened further, and was unable to
move his protege education minister Ed Balls to replace Alistair
Darling at the Treasury.

BROWN SUGARS

Brown had once wanted to be footballer. But at 16, a
sporting injury put him in hospital for months and he now has a
glass eye. Sight in his remaining eye is bad.

He threw himself into left-wing politics at Edinburgh
University, his beliefs shaped by the poverty he saw growing up
in Kirkcaldy, a Scottish town with a failing linoleum industry
and which he now represents as a member of parliament.

The Brown Sugars, mini-skirted female fans, cheered him to
his first election victory as a university official in the
1970s.

Brown himself conceded his presentational skills could be
improved but believed that people would in the end respect his
judgments about the big issues.

“I loved the job, not for its prestige and its titles and
its ceremony — which I do not love at all,” he said in his
resignation speech. “No, I loved the job for its potential to
make this country I love fairer, more tolerant, more green, more
prosperous and more just — truly a greater Britain.”

His voice cracking, Brown thanked his wife Sarah, who is
widely credited with having softened his dour image. The nation
mourned with them when their daughter, Jennifer Jane, died 10
days after her premature birth in 2001.

“I want to thank Sarah for her unwavering support as well as
her love, and for her own service to our country,” he said.

Fiercely protective of the privacy of his sons, Brown
brought the two boys out of the front door of No. 10 in front of
the media for the first time following his resignation
announcement.

“I thank my sons John and Fraser for the love and joy they
bring to our lives, and as I leave the second most important job
I can ever hold, I cherish even more the first, as a husband and
father. Thank you and goodbye.”

Stock Report

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NEWSMAKER-UK’s Brown steps down as Prime Minister