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The Man Who Emerged From the Rubble - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Just a few weeks ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was almost a dead man politically with many observers expecting him to leave 10 Downing Street. However, economic figures have shattered the hopes of his opponents.

The doors have been opened again for the former British Chancellor of the Exchequer and current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, demonstrating that one man’s curse is another man’s blessing. Only a few weeks ago, there was talk of some members of Gordon Brown’s [Labour] party revolting against him and of disputes arising between Brown and other cabinet ministers. Yet today, he is a leader that people are looking up to.

The economic crisis that has engulfed the world, including Great Britain, has lifted Gordon Brown out of the economic rubble, not only saving him but making him a leader from whom the world should take example.

Gordon Brown presented his 37 billion pound rescue plan to some of the banks that have been affected by the crisis in the UK allowing the government to sit on the board of directors and in some cases, to take hold of the largest share of ownership of numerous banks. This is not the first time that this has occurred as Gordon Brown previously rescued Northern Rock.

In order to save their own banks, America and Europe must follow in the footsteps of Gordon Brown, who, today, is at his peak as he can throw his opponents into the Thames. Moreover, economic issues are once again proving that it can shape one’s political experience. We saw this before when former US President George Bush (senior), who was victorious in the war to liberate Kuwait in 1991 and at the peak of his popularity to the extent that he, and his campaign team, felt that he could crush his then young opponent, Bill Clinton.

At the time, the US economy was undergoing a recession when James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist, coined the term, “It’s the economy, stupid,” and this expression caused the curtain to fall on one of America’s most well-established politicians and paved the way for Bill Clinton to enter the White House.

In America today, we can see how the economy raises one politician above another. The Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is ahead of his Republican competitor John McCain not because of a clearer plan to save the economy but by focusing on portraying McCain as a continuation of the incumbent US president George W. Bush, to whom the economic crisis is associated.

This does not mean that the race for the White House is over for McCain; he still has four weeks to go and as they say, a week is a long time in politics. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the global financial crisis has given Obama a better chance.

The lesson that can be learnt from the transformation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown from a dead man politically to a leading figure in the battle to repair the world economy is that at the end of the day, people want somebody who can guarantee their economic security.

The citizen’s concern, whether he is a voter or not, is to ensure that he is able to provide the family with a home, pay the family bills and give the family a dignified life. Regardless of what attracted the people to political and ideological slogans, at the end of the day, they are more cautious of politicians especially when it comes to their pockets!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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