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A new climate for Britain’s leader

Stephen Beard Jul 25, 2008
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A new climate for Britain’s leader

Stephen Beard Jul 25, 2008
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TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Actually, the ailing British economy played a major role in The Labor Party’s crushing defeat in special election. And this morning, there are more concerns about the future of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Stephen Beard has more from London.


Stephen Beard: The parliamentary seat of Glasgow East in Scotland has been a Labor stronghold for 60 years. But voters there delivered a stunning rebuff to the ruling party.

Economics is the key. The district is one of Britain’s most deprived. The average life expectancy is only 64. Unemployment is 20 percent. As the British economy slows down, the district is fearful that it will suffer even further hardship.

When he was finance chief, Gordon Brown presided over 10 years of national prosperity. He was hailed a maestro. Not anymore, says analyst David Buik:

David Buik: You can’t blame him for the downturn in the world’s economy. What you can blame him for is spending money indiscriminately in the public sector where the taxpayer has not felt any benefit at all. And that’s what I think they’re unforgiving about.

Brown’s opinion poll rating has slumped, and speculation is growing that his party will force him out of the top job long before they face a national election in two years time.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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