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In his conference speech today, Gordon Brown attacked George Osborne for words he used in response to events of recent weeks in the financial markets:

In the week that banks were collapsing the man who wants to run our economy not only said: this is not a problem caused by the financial markets but went on to say and, I quote, "that it’s a function of financial markets that people make loads of money out of the misery of others."

Jim Pickard of The Financial Times, which also reported the supposed quotation, has described Brown as twisting the words Osborne in fact used:

Gordon Brown twists the words of the shadow chancellor

True, George Osborne didn’t sound desperately sympathetic to the plight of credit crunch victims when he said on Newsnight last week: “Well look, no one takes pleasure from people making money out of the misery of others, but that is a function of capitalist markets.”

But that is NOT the same as the quote attributed to him by the prime minister just now:

“That it’s a function of financial markets that people make loads of money out of the misery of others.”

The attack on Osborne was preceded by claims that Labour had given women and working men the vote in the face of Conservative opposition. ConservativeHome noted that in fact it was a Conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli which extended the vote to working men in 1867 – decades before the Labour Party was formed. It was also a Liberal/Conservative National Government that gave women over the age of 30 the vote in 1918 and a Conservative government under Stanley Baldwin that in 1928 established an equal voting age of 21 for men and women.

Peter Cuthbertson

38 comments for: Financial Times rejects Brown’s misuse of George Osborne quotation

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