Alistair Darling served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2007 to 2010, during the most turbulent and far-reaching economic crisis the world had seen for 60 years. He introduced the measures needed to avert a collapse of the banking system, and played a leading part in restoring stability to global financial markets.
Alistair worked as a solicitor in Edinburgh before being called to the Scottish Bar and entering Parliament. He became Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Tony Blair’s first Cabinet, moving to Work & Pensions, then taking joint responsibility for the Scotland Office and the Department of Transport. His final role under Prime Minister Blair was at the helm of Trade & Industry, after which Gordon Brown promoted him to the Treasury.
In September 2007, for the first time in more than century, there was a run on a British bank. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling was at the helm. He authorised massive financial support for the ailing Northern Rock, borrowing up to 20 billion from the Bank of England and faced severe criticism for spending so much public money on a private company. And yet despite further bail outs for banking giants RBS and Lloyds, his moves are now credited with preventing a full-scale economic depression. His 2011 memoir Back from the Brink: 1,000 Days at Number 11 relives those days, offering a unique perspective on events that had far reaching effects on economic and financial systems worldwide. By the time he left office, government borrowing was less than forecast, and unemployment and repossessions were both lower than many had anticipated. Looking forward he believes that Labour must stay in the centre ground, and that the country won’t be able to adapt to future needs unless both private and public sectors work together. In speeches he offers a dispassionate account of what’s going on in the world economy.
Having left parliament after 28 years, and after leading the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK, Alistair now looks at the events in Westminster and the financial markets with a new perspective. He also has more time to enjoy fishing and walking in the Hebrides, and spending time in the family croft. His love of the island of Lewis led the venerated journalist Magnus Linklater to celebrate his “perfect balance of Gaelic romanticism and Edinburgh canniness.”
A sought after keynote speaker, Alistair Darling can educate on subjects such as Brexit, the economic climate and the financial crisis.
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