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Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown is the enigma at the centre of British economic and social policy. Despite being cliquey and thin-skinned, he could make a first class chancellor, says Robert Chote. But can he reconcile macroeconomic orthodoxy with his heartfelt social reforming ambitions?

By Robert Chote   March 1998

When an unnamed confidant of the prime minister remarked on Gordon Brown’s “psychological flaws” last month, he coined a phrase which may haunt Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer for the rest of his political career. Officials dismissed suggestions of a rift at the top, but the comment reflects worries about Tony Blair’s most powerful minister which are felt even by those who consider themselves the chancellor’s allies. As a government policy adviser put it: “I have a great deal of sympathy with Gordon’s views. Tony is too right-wing for my taste, but you have to accept that the party’s instincts…

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