Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gordon Delano Roosevelt

I don't officially use this blog anymore, preferring to blog about music on Lower End Spasm as ever, and various other bits and bobs on The Guardian's Comment is Free blog (In Defence of Hipsters and In Defence of Musical (ahem) Miscegenation).

But I just wanted to express my consternation that so few people are connecting the whole financial apocalypse/end of the world as we know it to some of its historical forebears:

In particular, that so few commentators saw fit to connect Gordon Brown's fantastic Labour Party conference speech calling for a "new settlement" to FDR's 1933 speech calling for a (the) New Deal. The latter called for cross-party unity and grand public works projects to raise up a poverty-stricken nation. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" he said; a message the spiralling markets could do with heeding today. In April 2007 The Guardian published a series of Great Speeches in pamphlet form, and one of them was FDR's 1933 new Deal speech. Here are some timely words from the introduction to that pamphlet:

"The old order had collapsed; the old certitudes were as bankrupt as the countless companies that had gone under. Roosevelt... would discard one of the clearest pledges of this inaugural speech - that the cost of government would be "drastically reduced" - when he saw that the only way forward was for government to stimulate the economy, invest in great public works, feed the hungry and for a time employ millions who had nowhere else to turn."

And who wrote this elegy to FDR back in April 2007, just before things began to go belly-up? A man you may know called Gordon Brown.


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