Ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a "backbencher" at home, global thinker abroad, feted at swanky D.C. book party
There's a standard path for ex-world leaders -- write a book, travel the world selling it, deliver great-man's-perspective-on-history speeches -- and Gordon Brown is following it. Well, in part, anyway.
On Saturday, the former British prime minister was feted at a requisite VIP-mobbed party at the Jefferson Hotel on the occasion of his new tome, "Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation."
But back at home, the ex-PM is doing something that would be unimaginable for an ex-POTUS: He's still in Parliament as a "backbencher," repping his old district, a string of small mining communities in the southern part of Scotland.
"He's enjoying getting back in it," Sarah Brown told us when we caught up with her in a quiet corner of the clamorous party as camera flashes exploded around her husband a few feet away, "He's visited every school in the district since he's been back."
It was an image we liked, especially since it was so far from the scene at the Jefferson -- a party hosted by hotel owner Connie Milstein, her husband J.C. de La Haye St. Hilaire, consultant Ted Greenberg and media operative Tammy Haddad -- with the passed flutes of champagne, black Town Cars, the clipboard girls, a live Huffington Post videocast. . . and Brown himself cordoned off by a velvet rope from the guests. An A-listy parade lined up to greet him (David Axelrod, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Terry McAuliffe, Matthew Morrison of "Glee," for some reason), and we missed our own chance when Brown caught sight over our shoulder of Piers Morgan -- i.e., the British guy taking over Larry King's CNN job -- and his va-voomy wife Celia (Google her!), the daughter of a former member of Parliament.
In his remarks, Brown joked a bit about the fate of ex-PMs -- Churchill, who marked his departure from office by switching his rule from no-drinking-before-lunch to no-drinking-before-breakfast; Disraeli, a poet who was unbothered by the fact that "after he left office no one was ever interseted in reading his poetry." But then on to the book, and the fiscal meltdown he's witnessed across Europe.
"We have a world economy that is changing almost irreversibly, in a transformation that is greater than the Industrial Revolution," Brown warned. "America and Europe are being outproduced, outinvested, outtraded, out-exported by the rest of the world." Huh. Another salmon-and-caviar canape, anyone?
The Reliable Source
| December 14, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories: Parties, Politics
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