Brown: My biggest regret as Prime Minister

Gordon Brown  on stage in Kirkcaldy (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Gordon Brown on stage in Kirkcaldy (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

Gordon Brown has revealed his biggest regret as Prime Minister was not persuading the British people to embrace the progressive policies he championed.

He said: ‘“We won the battle – to escape recession.

‘’But we lost the war – to build something better.’’

Mr Brown said he ‘’fell short’’ in communicating his ideas, adding ‘’I failed to rally the nation around the necessary fiscal stimulus and my plans for radical change.”

Mr Brown’s comments were revealed in the first extracts from his memories My Life, Our Times which are due to publish next week.

Ten years on from leaving Downing Street, he reflects on life in office, the challenges he faced, and how he struggled with the personal touchy-feely image that is now part of modern politics.

The former Prime Minister, Chancellor and MP for Kirkcaldy said he wasn’t aloof or remote - and for him, getting on with the job was key.

“In a far more touchy-feely era, our leaders speak of public issues in intensely personal ways and assume they can win votes simply by telling their electors that they ‘feel their pain,” Mr Brown said. “For me, being conspicuously demonstrative is uncomfortable.”

He admitted. “I was born about 40 years before the world wide web and arrived in Parliament, and 20 years before the advent of Twitter.

‘’During my time as an MP I never mastered the capacity to leave a good impression or sculpt my public image in 140 characters. Now, no politician can succeed without mastering social media – and yet, in it, the prime minister becomes one among millions of voices competing to be heard.

“I fully understand that in a media-conscious age every politician has to lighten up to get a message across and I accept that, in the second decade of the 21st century, a sense of personal reserve can limit the appeal and rapport of a leader.

“I am not, I hope, remote, offhand or uncommunicative.

‘’But if I wasn’t an ideal fit for an age when the personal side of politics had come to the fore, I hope people will come to understand this was not an aloofness or detachment or, I hope, insensitivity or a lack of emotional intelligence on my part.

“To my mind, what mattered was not what I said about myself, but simply what our government could do for our country.”

Gordon Brown - My Life, Our Times is published on Tuesday, November 7.