The name Gordon Brown may not immediately ring a bell to many people, even people who consider themselves to be at least mildly politically-involved. Yet, this name belongs to the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Gordon Brown helped to shape the current political system in the UK prior, during, and after his time as Prime Minister.
A Short History
Gordon Brown was born on February 20, 1951 in Giffnock, Renfrewshire, Scotland. He grew up with two brothers, and was raised by his mother, Jessie, and his father, John. He studied History at the University of Edinburgh. And, before his decorated time as a career politician, he worked as a lecturer at a few universities and a journalist for Scottish Television.
Early Political Career
Gordon Brown first entered Parliament as a Labour Party MP for Dunfermline East in 1983. Interestingly enough, when he was first elected he shared a Westminster office with none other than Tony Blair, whom he would later replace as Prime Minister. Brown became the Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1987-1989. He then progressed to Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, after which he became the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1992. In 1997, the Labour Party won the general election in the UK, and Gordon Brown became the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom.
Later Political Career
As Chancellor, Brown is noted as having made many reforms to the United Kingdom’s fiscal and monetary structure. He expanded the powers of the Treasury, granted the power of setting interest rates to the Bank of England, and gave more responsibility for the supervision of banking to the Financial Services Authority. Additionally, he removed the Advance Corporate Tax relief and abolished the 10% starting rate of individual income tax.
In 2007, Tony Blair stepped down as Prime Minister and as Leader of the Labour Party. Brown was selected as his successor as both in an uncontested election. As happens with most newly-elected officials, Brown started out popular in the polls. However, with the onset of the financial collapse of 2008, Brown did not retain his public approval ratings. The Labor Party began to lost popularity and has continued to do so in every election since.
Gordon Brown remained an MP in Parliament, after his time as Prime Minister, until 2015. He was a vocal member of the Better Together side of the Scottish referendum issue in 2014. It is quite interesting to note that a few years before the Scottish separatist referendum, a Scotsman was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in Westminster.