Brown hails end of ‘free market dogma’ ahead of G20 meeting (Lead)

January 1st, 2009 - 9:28 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 1 (IANS) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Thursday hailed with apparent relief the end of “free market dogma,” saying he would now work to build a “progressive era” around the world.“When the history books come to be written, 2008 will largely be remembered for the scale of the great economic and financial crisis. A year in which an old era of unbridled free market dogma was finally ushered out,” Brown said in his New Year’s day message to the nation.

“And I want 2009 to be the year when the dawn of a new progressive era breaks across the world: purposeful and energetic governments giving real help to families and businesses when they need it the most; and through expanding the downturn vital investments in our future - real hope for that future too.”

“The failure of previous governments in previous global downturns was to succumb to political expediency and to cut back investment across the board, thereby stunting our ability to grow and strangling hope during the upturn. This will not happen on my watch,” he added.

Brown, who has won praise domestically for coming up with plans to rescue failing British banks, said he will try to build “a global coalition for change” along with US president-elect Barack Obama.

The British prime minister is reportedly keen to work closely with Obama on the US fiscal injection package, a coordinated approach to climate change and an Apr 2 meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) countries in London.

The G20 meeting will discuss a new global financial structure, following up from a similar meeting in Washington, attended by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among others, in November.

However, the opposition Tory Party reiterated criticism of Brown’s record as finance minister from 1996 to 2007, claiming his failure to save money during the boom years had contributed to the bust in Britain.

“He talks of tomorrow, but ignores the role he played in creating the mess of today,” said George Osborne of the Tory party.

“He offers no apology for leading Britain from boom into bust, no explanation of why our country is now the worst affected in Europe, no excuse for why six months of policy announcements have achieved nothing except to add to our national debt.

“He has the arrogance to use Churchillian language when he will go down in history as the politician who spent 10 years in high office failing to prepare Britain for the gathering storm,” Osborne maintained.

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