Gordon Brown: ‘Brexit was fought on Project Fear. Nobody put the case for Europe. Nobody’

The former British PM on Brexit, Ireland and his new book, Seven Ways to Change the World

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown: ‘You’ve got to work at Northern Ireland ... it needs time, and until you have a prime minister and a leadership that is prepared to spend that time listening to people.’ Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown: ‘You’ve got to work at Northern Ireland ... it needs time, and until you have a prime minister and a leadership that is prepared to spend that time listening to people.’ Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Fintan O’Toole: The current pandemic represents a huge global crisis and after the banking collapse of 2008 you found yourself in the middle of a very different crisis. What is it like to be in that position?

Gordon Brown, former British prime minister and Labour MP: There’s two things I learned about this. One is you’ve got to get to the root of the problem quickly; if you don’t understand what your problem is, you will spend ages trying to have palliatives and expedients that don’t actually deal with the problem . . . And secondly you’ve got to be ahead of events . . . and the real problem about this [Covid-19] crisis is that most of our leaderships were behind the curve.

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