The impact of the former PM's intervention is impossible to overstateby Peter Kellner / September 19, 2014 / Leave a comment
Gordon Brown deserves two monuments: one, painted in gold leaf, in Wall Street, for the man who saved the world economy in 2008; the other, in granite, outside Buckingham Palace, or possibly Balmoral, for the man who saved the United Kingdom this week.
Yes, I know: Brown is also the man whose battles with Tony Blair almost capsized New Labour, who blew his chance to win an election shortly after he became Prime Minister, whom voters ended up distrusting and whose three years in Downing Street culminated in comprehensive defeat. By 2010, inside the Labour Party, his detractors comfortably outnumbered his friends. Judged by polling numbers and election results, his career ended badly.
Except that it didn’t quite end. Now, with the possible exception of Clement Attlee (and, some would contend, Margaret Thatcher) I cannot think of another peacetime Prime Minister who made such a positive and decisive difference as Brown has done over the past six years. Global slump and a constitutional crisis have been averted. The big banks and the United Kingdom are safe, at least for the time being.
The impact of Brown’s intervention in Scotland’s campaign is hard to overstate. With 11 days to go, YouGov’s poll for the Sunday Times showed that a big No lead, which has looked solid as late as mid-August, had crumbled to dust. Our headline figures put Yes, 51 per cent, narrowly ahead of No, 49 per cent. In practice the two sides were neck-and-neck.