GORDON BROWN “deliberately” ran down Britain’s manufacturing base when he was Labour chancellor in a bid to mimic the US economy, a former trade union leader has claimed in a new book.
John Edmonds had an unmatched insight into the then-chancellor’s project as GMB general secretary until he stepped down in 2003.
And he claims Mr Brown created “a bastard” race to the bottom by abandoning industry for retail and financial services.
“It was a matter of deliberate policy,” Mr Edmonds told author Tim Newark for his book Protest Vote: How Politicians Lost the Plot.
“Brown believed that the model for an innovative economy was the [United] States, not Germany and not Japan.
“This was the great mistake because the model in the States is low labour regulation, low minimum wage — all that he thought was part of a fast-growing innovative economy.
“Now that’s a bastard for us.”
Mr Brown and new Labour PM Tony Blair slapped down arguments that Britain should retain high-skilled and well-paid manufacturing jobs as old fashioned, according to Mr Edmonds.
The longest-serving GMB leader remembers mass redundancies were the devastating and direct impact of their decision.
“Most of those people got worse jobs in the service sector, not just in pay but in terms of security and jobs opportunity,” he added.
That in turn drove down trade union and Labour party membership but Mr Edmonds said that Blair considered the new situation “paradise.”
Mr Newark writes that other trade union leaders felt there was little alternative to Mr Brown’s blueprint.
Former TUC general secretary John Monks calls the policies “understandable” in the book.
He said: “We’d being trying, since the war, to keep up with Germany as far as manufacturing was concerned and we’d not succeeded.”
The two former union leaders contest New Labour’s legacy on immigration.
Mr Monks said Labour ministers made a “massive underestimation” of the numbers of European people who would move to Britain for work. But Mr Edmonds claims Mr Brown used immigration to keep wages low and used multiculturalism to sell his plan to Labour MPs.
The Star contacted Mr Brown’s office to give him the right to reply but received no response.