Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband try to fix the world

Two ex-leaders of UK Labour set out their visions in worthwhile books, with a glaring omission

Then UK prime minister Gordon Brown, right, with energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband in London, 2008. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Pool/AP Photo

Then UK prime minister Gordon Brown, right, with energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband in London, 2008. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Pool/AP Photo

Politicians usually write books about how to change the world before they serve in government. The pursuit of high office can be a catalyst for ambition to remake the world. Being in government is normally a reminder of the difficulty of fulfilling such ambition. 

It is a tribute to Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband that governing at the highest level has not lessened their enthusiasm for politics. Each has absorbed the low moments that politics relentlessly serves and they still want to change the world.  Their books also point to the challenge of reconciling their agendas with the ascendancy of the Conservative Party and the reconfiguration of British politics by Brexit.

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