|Brown's Congress address Posted by Fraser at 7 44 PM on Saturday, February 28|
NEXT week, Gordon Brown will become one of only five British Prime Ministers invited to speak to the US Congress.
So how to strike the right note? In a spirit of citizenship, I have written a draft here for the speech he should give . . .
Thank you Mr President for your generous introduction. I’m impressed that you delivered it with a straight face.
Let’s drop the pretence. I’m no conquering hero, but a doomed PM trying to postpone an election I know I’ll lose.
That’s life. Last autumn, I was a hero who “saved the world”. Now I’m seen as some jinxed Nick Leeson, a serial bank killer.
How did this happen? If you want to learn something, I’ll tell you. Because you can’t afford to repeat my mistakes.
At home, I’m not known for saying sorry. But I thought on the plane over: who am I kidding? Who doesn’t know?
I was Chancellor since 1997. I wasn’t just at the scene of the crime, but wrote the script and cast the actors. I knighted the bankers, taxed all their bonuses. And now I have to pretend to be shocked at what went on.
So I say to you today quite simply, in the words of your president: “I screwed up”. And let me tell you just how much.
There’s a scene from that film Rogue Trader where the anti-hero screams “I, Nicholas Leeson, have just lost £15 million in one day.”
Well I, James Gordon Brown, am adding £15 million to my country’s national debt every hour. That’s £120 per household per week.
It should have been so different. But I realise now that my genius contained five deadly sins.
I RAIDED the pension funds. Didn’t think anyone would notice. Turns out 20 million pensioners did – and they all vote.
I designed a USELESS banking regulatory system, about as effective as asking a nun to referee a boxing match.
I badly UNDERFUNDED the military. So we lost men, we lost Basra and are now going nowhere in Afghanistan.
I then FLOODED the economy with cheap debt, hoping people would feel rich and vote for me before it went pop.
Finally I RUSHED to nationalise the banks before working out what I was buying. I let them fleece the taxpayer.
You can say it’s poetic justice. I bullied my way into No10, forcing Tony Blair out. No one outside Fife has ever cast a vote for me. But I did this all for the very best of reasons. I genuinely believed my way would lead to a fairer, safer, better-run Britain.
Like so many, I was spellbound by banking profits. I didn’t ask questions, and spent the tax receipts.
I’m not going to stand here and blame it all on the sub-prime market in Idaho. The dodgy thinking wasn’t American, but Scottish.
I came to this great country 15 years ago to learn from the Clinton era. I was full of hope. But I placed my hope in government, not the people.
So I say most sincerely to you: don’t try this at home. For this path leads to debt, misery, ignominy and – ultimately - electoral defeat.
Thank you and God Bless America. And you if you have any after-dinner speaking gigs from June 2010, please see my agent Lord Levy.