Whichever side of our sharply polarised political landscape you espouse as your own, it is hard to escape a degree of frustration with our current leaders. Gordon Brown is also a divisive figure, but one that remains an unquestioned giant. With Tony Blair, he rewrote the political landscape in the 1990s. The longest serving Chancellor of the Exchequer in the modern era, Gordon Brown introduced the minimum wage, debt relief for the poorest countries, tax credits to lift British children out of poverty and doubled spending on education. He subsequently served as Prime Minister for three years and his interventions arguably saved both the union with Scotland and the global financial system.
Despite these achievements, he has always appeared an austere figure. A ‘son of the manse’, Gordon Brown looms large in the imagination as a dour bastion of all that is dutiful. However, the reality belies the myth. In school on Monday evening, Gordon Brown spoke without notes to a packed audience in the Great Hall. His wit and humour enlivened an evening of insight into both the past and present. Gordon was generous with both his time and his goodwill - no one who heard him would doubt that he is as pleasant a companion as he was a political heavyweight.
Our lecture programme at MTS is very active, and has brought many people of note to the school - Michael Palin, Lord Sacks and Terry Waite are all recent highlights. To that list of fascinating luminaries, we can now add Gordon Brown.