Monday, April 09, 2007

Show Us Your Arguments, Not Tittle-Tattle

The Conservative Party has never been comfortable with the British Chancellor, Gordon Brown proclaiming that Adam Smith would support New Labour if he were alive today and also his writing a foreword to a book by Oxford Professor Ian MacLean, titled, provocatively, ‘Adam Smith, Radical and Egalitarian: an interpretation for the 21st century’, (Edinburgh University Press).

John Redwood, an MP on the rightwing of the Conservative Party, in his Blog, entitled, unimaginatively, John Redwoods’ Diary (‘Incisive and topical campaigns and commentary on today’s issues and tomorrow’s problems’) has been teasing Gordon Brown in short snippets about his self-proclaimed admiration of Adam Smith as a closet socialist.

Today he asks: “When did Gordon Brown learn to admire Adam Smith?”:

“We now have Adam Smith on the banknotes, and have heard Gordon Brown praise his fellow countryman as a great economist. I agree.
Strange then, that in his book of 1989 Gordon Brown wrote about the “sinister insights of the historical Adam Smith”.

I wonder when he changed his mind and why?”

The book in question is: “Where There Is Greed: Margaret Thatcher and the Betrayal of Britain’s Future” by Gordon Brown, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, 1989 (available on for £4, plus shipping).

I would prefer that John Redwood examined Gordon Brown’s claims in detail than make, albeit, amusing remarks about Brown’s welcome journey from anti-Smithian apparatchik in the Labour Party to pro-Smithian apparatchik in New Labour and soon to be, probably, Prime Minister.

There is a case to answer from both parties about their mutually conflicting claims and counter-claims to have inherited the mantle of Adam Smith. I would be interested in Redwood’s explanations of why he agrees with Brown that Smith was ‘a great economist’ (I have read Gordon Brown’s claims for his case and I am not overly impressed).

[Read John Redwood at:]


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