Monday, May 24, 2010

What's Up For Gordon Brown?

The axe in British politics is like the executioner’s chop during the reign of Henry VIII, swift and brutal. In recent weeks we have seen this happened again tp Dr. Gordon Brown. Within 30 minutes he moved from the highest office in the land and a chance to survive as Prime Minister of a coalition to a commoner when the Liberal Democrats decided they rather want to work with David Cameron's Conservatives than with the Labour Party.

The Conservative newspaper, The Sun, never known for its high ethics in diplomacy and never shy for publicity, showed how ruthless the British press can be by running an article with a headline like this.

But what happens to ex-British Prime Ministers? In the USA, recent Republican Presidents wrote their memoirs and fade away. Ronald Reagan retired to California, George H Bush, #41, retired to spend his time between Houston, TX and his beach house in Maine and jump out of airplanes of course, and George W Bush, #43, retired to Dallas and is seldom heard off…so far...let’s hope it continue. Democrat Presidents went on to have active roles after office. Jimmy Carter became more active, and more loved, after office than when in office. He was extremely active as election observer all over the world, and charity work in many part of Africa. Bill Clinton is still going strong and has hardly left the spotlight since leaving office, being active in his foundation and being the UN ambassador for Haiti.

Gordon Brown left 10 Downing Street for his North Queensferry Home in Fife. Not too shabby.

It is not much different for British Prime Ministers. A true mixed bag. Recent Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair finds it hard to retire. He had aspirations to become the first European President, but in the end pulled out when the job description was watered down to a barely-something job. He is still very active as a Middle East peace envoy, does lectures and gives advice to investment bankers, and organizes faith-based organizations.

[Basically a nice high-paid jet-set life.]

The last Conservative PM John Major retired quietly to devote his life to his first love, cricket. His predecessor Margaret Thatcher found it harder to leave the political arena and tried for some time to direct the Conservative Party from the backseat before becoming a Baroness and taking up a seat in the House of Lords.

And although David Cameron's London home looks like a normal, average English row house, he, and his wife comes from very wealthy families.

So what’s up for Gordon Brown? At 59, he will stay on as a Member of Parliament for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath in Scotland, but I hardly think he will want to listen to local complaints the whole day.

[Probably call them bigots.]

The Cameron's country home in Oxforshire. During the recent expense claims scandal in Britian it was announced that Dave Cameron claimed $21,000 per year from the government for mortgage payments, while he is worth an estimated $20-30 million.

Will Brown become a sulking backbencher like Edward Heath? (Heath became the “longest sulk” after he lost his party’s leadership to Margaret Thatcher.) Brown was a former university rector at Edinburgh so he can return to education and he did play a major role in world economics for 10 years as Chancellor of the Exchequer and 5 years before that as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. A top position in world economics or finance is not ruled out, although he did say he does not want to work in the business world. But it will not be the first time he said he will not do something and turn around and do exactly what he said he won’t. (He said before becoming Prime Minister that he will not use Chequers, the country estate for British PMs, for weekend retreats, and then shortly after becoming PM he started to use it extensively for the very purpose.)

[Once a politician always a politician.]

David Cameron's first cabinet. For a politician that sold himself as progressive I was rather surprised to see so few women in his cabinet. A paltry 4 out of 30 members.
[The more things change the more they stay the same]

Heading image: Executioner's axe in the London Tower

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