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Archive for June 22, 2012

John Howard Davies, English television producer and director (Fawlty Towers, The Good Life), former child actor (Oliver Twist), died from cancer he was 72

John Howard Davies  was an English television director and producer and former child actor died from cancer he was 72..
Davies was born in Paddington, London, the son of the scriptwriter Jack Davies. His credits as a child actor include the title role at the age of nine in David Lean‘s production Oliver Twist (1948), followed by The Rocking Horse Winner (1949), Tom Brown’s Schooldays (1951) and a few episodes of the television series William Tell (1958).

(9 March 1939 – 22 August 2011)

After school at Haileybury, further education in Grenoble, France and national service in the Navy,[2] he started working in the City, the financial centre of London, then as a carpet salesman. Ending up in Melbourne, Australia he returned to acting and met his first wife Leonie in when they both appeared in The Sound of Music.[3] Back in Britain he tried selling oil to industry in Wembley.
He is best known for his adult career as a director and producer of several highly successful British sitcoms. Davies became a BBC production assistant during 1966, being promoted to producer in 1968.[4] During this early period Davies worked on sketch shows such as The World of Beachcomber (1968), the earliest episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969) and The Goodies (1970–72). He also worked on All Gas and Gaiters (1969–70) and the 1972 series of Steptoe and Son.
He briefly left the BBC to become managing director of EMI Television Productions in 1973,[1] but soon returned to the corporation.[4] From this time came Fawlty Towers (1975). The actress the writers wished to cast as Sybil was uninterested, and casting Prunella Scales was Davies’s idea. John Cleese recalled: “We realised she was doing it differently but better than the way we had envisaged it when we were writing it.”[1] Davies was producer for all four series of The Good Life (1975–78).
He was the BBC‘s Head of Comedy during 1977-82, then head of light entertainment, before joining Thames Television in 1985. Thames was then an ITV contractor, for which Davies was head of light entertainment from 1988.[3] During the last role he was cited by the popular press as the man who sacked comedian Benny Hill when the company decided not to renew his contract[5] after a connection lasting 20 years. He told Hill’s biographer Mark Lewisohn, “It’s very dangerous to have a show on ITV that doesn’t appeal to women, because they hold the purse strings, in a sense.”[3]
During this period he worked on No Job for a Lady (1990–92) and Mr. Bean (1990), returning to the BBC later in the 1990s.[6]
He died from cancer[7] on 22 August at his home in Blewbury, Oxfordshire, with his third wife Linda,[1] whom he married in 2005, son William and daughter Georgina at his bedside.
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Jerry Leiber, American songwriter (“Stand By Me”, “Hound Dog”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Kansas City”), died from cardiopulmonary failure he was 78 .

Jerome “Jerry” Leiber an American songwriting and was recording and  producing partners with Mike Stoller died from cardiopulmonary failure he was 78 .. Stoller was the composer and Leiber the lyricist. His most famous songs include “Hound Dog“, “Jailhouse Rock“, “Kansas City“, “Stand By Me” (with Ben E. King), and “On Broadway” (with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil).

(April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011)


Leiber and Stoller’s initial successes were as the writers of such crossover hit songs as “Hound Dog” and “Kansas City.” Later in the 1950s, particularly through their work with The Coasters,
they created a string of ground-breaking hits that are some of the most
entertaining in rock and roll, by using the humorous vernacular of the
teenagers sung in a style that was openly theatrical rather than
personal, songs that include “Young Blood,” “Searchin’,” and “Yakety Yak.”[2] They were the first to surround black music with elaborate production values, enhancing its emotional power with The Drifters in “There Goes My Baby” and influencing Phil Spector who worked with them on recordings of the Drifters and Ben E. King. Leiber and Stoller went into the record business and, focusing on the “girl group” sound, released some of the greatest classics of the Brill Building period.[3]
They wrote hits including “Love Me,” “Loving You,” “Don’t,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “King Creole,” among others, for Elvis Presley.[4]
The pair were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.[5]



Both born to Jewish families, Leiber came from Baltimore, Stoller from Long Island, but they met in Los Angeles in 1950, where Stoller was a freshman at Los Angeles City College while Leiber was a senior at Fairfax High. Stoller had graduated from Belmont High School. After school, Stoller played piano and Leiber worked in a record store and, when they met, they found they shared a love of blues and rhythm and blues. In 1950, Jimmy Witherspoon recorded and performed their first commercial song, “Real Ugly Woman.”
Their first hit composition was “Hard Times,” recorded by Charles Brown, which was a rhythm and blues hit in 1952. “Kansas City,” which was first recorded in 1952 (as “K. C. Loving”) by rhythm & blues singer Little Willie Littlefield, became a No. 1 pop hit in 1959 for Wilbert Harrison. In 1952 they wrote “Hound Dog” for blues singer Big Mama Thornton, which became a hit for her in 1953. The 1956 Elvis Presley rock version, which was a takeoff of the adaptation that Presley picked up from Freddie Bell‘s lounge act in Las Vegas,[6] was a much bigger hit. Presley’s showstopping mock-burlesque version of “Hound Dog,” playfully bumping and grinding on the Milton Berle Show, created such public excitement that on the Steve Allen Show they slowed down his act, with an amused Presley in a tuxedo and blue suede shoes singing his hit to a basset hound.
Allen pronounced Presley “a good sport,” and the Leiber-Stoller song
would be forever linked to Presley. Their later songs often had lyrics
more appropriate for pop music, and their combination of rhythm and blues with pop lyrics revolutionized pop, rock and roll, and punk rock.
They formed Spark Records in 1953 with their mentor, Lester Sill. Their songs from this period include “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” and “Riot in Cell Block #9,” both recorded by The Robins.[7]
The label was later bought by Atlantic Records,
which hired Leiber and Stoller in an innovative deal that allowed them
to produce for other labels. This, in effect, made them the first
independent record producers.[7] At Atlantic, they revitalized the careers of The Drifters and wrote a number of hits for The Coasters, a spin-off of the Robins. Their songs from this period include “Charlie Brown,” “Searchin’,” “Yakety Yak,”[8]Stand By Me” (written with Ben E. King), and “On Broadway” (written with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil). For the Coasters alone, they wrote twenty-four songs that appeared in the US charts.
In 1955 Leiber and Stoller produced a recording of their song “Black Denim Trousers and Motorcycle Boots” with a white vocal group, the Cheers.[7] Soon after, the song was recorded by Édith Piaf
in a French translation titled, “L’Homme à la Moto.” The European
royalties from another Cheers record, “Bazoom (I Need Your Lovin’),”
funded a 1956 trip to Europe for Stoller and his first wife, Meryl, on
which they met Piaf. Their return to New York was aboard the ill-fated SS Andrea Doria, which was rammed and sunk by the Swedish liner MS Stockholm.
The Stollers had to finish the journey to New York aboard another ship.
After their rescue, Leiber greeted Stoller at the dock with the news
that “Hound Dog” had become a hit for Elvis Presley.[6]
Stoller’s reply was, “Elvis who?” They would go on to write more hits
for Presley, including the title songs for three of his movies—Loving You, Jailhouse Rock,[9] and King Creole—as well as the rock and roll Christmas song, “Santa Claus Is Back in Town,” for Presley’s first Christmas album.


In the early 1960s, Phil Spector served an apprenticeship of sorts with Leiber and Stoller in New York, developing his record producer‘s craft while observing and playing guitar on their sessions, including the guitar solo on The Drifters‘ “On Broadway.”
After leaving the employ of Atlantic Records—where they produced, and often wrote, many classic recordings by The Drifters with Ben E. King—they produced a series of records for United Artists Records, including hits by Jay and the Americans (“She Cried”), The Exciters (“Tell Him”), and The Clovers (“Love Potion #9,” also written by Leiber and Stoller).
In the 1960s, Leiber and Stoller founded and briefly owned Red Bird Records, which issued The Shangri-Las‘ “Leader of the Pack” and The Dixie Cups‘ “Chapel of Love.”
After selling Red Bird, they continued working as independent
producers and songwriters. Their best known song from this period is “Is That All There Is?” recorded by Peggy Lee in 1969 and earning her a Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy. Earlier in the decade, they had had a minor hit with Lee with “I’m a Woman.” Their last major hit production was “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel, taken from the band’s 1972 eponymous debut album, which the duo produced. In 1975, they recorded Mirrors, an album of art songs with Peggy Lee. A remixed and expanded version of the album was released in 2005 as Peggy Lee Sings Leiber and Stoller.
In the late seventies, A&M Records recruited Leiber and Stoller to write and produce an album for Elkie Brooks. The album Two Days Away (1977) proved a success in the UK and most of Europe. Their composition “Pearl’s A Singer” (written with Ralph Dino & John Sembello) became a hit for Brooks, and remains her signature tune. They produced another album for her, Live and Learn, in 1979. In 1978, mezzo-soprano Joan Morris and her pianist-composer husband William Bolcom recorded an album, Other Songs by Leiber and Stoller,
featuring a number of the songwriters’ more unusual (and satiric)
works, including “Let’s Bring Back World War I,” written specifically
for (and dedicated to) Bolcom and Morris; and “Humphrey Bogart,” a
tongue-in-cheek song about obsession with the actor.[10]
In 1982, Steely Dan member Donald Fagen recorded their song, “Ruby Baby,” on his album, The Nightfly. That same year, former Doobie Brothers member Michael McDonald released “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near),” adapted from Leiber and Stoller’s “I Keep Forgettin’.”
With collaborator Artie Butler, Stoller wrote the music to the musical The People in the Picture, with book and lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart. Stoller and Butler’s music received a 2011 Drama Desk Award nomination.
Jerry Leiber died in Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 78 on August 22, 2011, from cardio-pulmonary failure.[1] He was survived by his sons Jed, Oliver, and Jake.[11]

Awards and honors

They won Grammy awards for “Is That All There Is?” in 1969, and for the cast album of Smokey Joe’s Cafe, a 1995 Broadway musical revue based on their work. Smokey Joe’s Cafe was also nominated for seven Tony awards, and became the longest-running musical revue in Broadway history.
Other awards include:


In the 1950s the rhythm and blues
of the black entertainment world, up to then restricted to black clubs,
was increasing its audience-share in areas previously reserved for traditional pop music, and the phenomenon now known as “crossover” became apparent.[4]
Leiber and Stoller affected the course of modern popular music in
1957 when they wrote and produced the crossover double-sided hit by The
Coasters, “Young Blood“/”Searchin’.”[9] They released “Yakety Yak,” which was a mainstream hit, as was the follow-up, “Charlie Brown.” This was followed by “Along Came Jones,” “Poison Ivy,” “Shoppin’ for Clothes,” and “Little Egypt (Ying-Yang).”[2]
They produced and co-wrote “There Goes My Baby,” a hit for The Drifters in 1959,[14] which introduced the use of strings for saxophone-like riffs, a tympani for the Brazilian baion rhythm they incorporated, and lavish production values into the established black R&B sound, laying the groundwork for the soul music that would follow.[3]
In 2009, Simon & Schuster published Hound Dog: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography, written by Leiber and Stoller with David Ritz.

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Jack Layton, Canadian politician, Leader of the Official Opposition (2011) and New Democratic Party (2003–2011), died from cancer he was 61.

John Gilbert “Jack” Layton,  was a Canadian social democratic politician and Leader of the Official Opposition died from cancer he was 61. He was leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, occasionally holding the title of “Acting Mayor” or “Deputy Mayor” of Toronto during his tenure as city councillor.[1] He was the Member of Parliament for Toronto—Danforth from 2004 until his death.

(July 18, 1950 – August 22, 2011)

Son of a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, Layton was raised in Hudson, Quebec. He rose to prominence in Toronto municipal politics where he was one of the most prominent left-wing voices on city and Metropolitan Toronto councils, championing many progressive causes. In 1991, he ran for mayor, losing to June Rowlands. Returning to council he rose to become head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In 2003, he was elected leader of the federal NDP on the first ballot of the convention.
Under his leadership, support for the NDP increased in each election. The party’s popular vote almost doubled in the 2004 election, which gave the NDP the balance of power in Paul Martin‘s minority government. In May 2005 the NDP supported the Liberal budget in exchange for major amendments, in what was promoted as Canada’s “First NDP budget”.[2] In November of that year, Layton voted with other opposition parties to defeat the Liberal government over the findings of the Gomery Commission. The NDP saw further gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections, in which the party elected 29 and 37 MPs, respectively.
In the 2011 election Layton led the NDP to the most successful result in the party’s history, winning 103 seats—enough to form Canada’s Official Opposition.[3] Federal support for Layton and the NDP in the election was unprecedented, especially in the province of Quebec where the party won 59 out of 75 seats.
Layton died on August 22, 2011, aged 61, after suffering from an
undisclosed type of cancer. He was survived by his wife of 23 years,
fellow MP Olivia Chow. Shortly before he had named Nycole Turmel as interim leader of both the New Democratic Party and subsequently of the Official Opposition; Thomas Mulcair eventually won the formal leadership election that followed.

Early life and education

John Gilbert “Jack” Layton was born in Montreal and raised in nearby Hudson, Quebec, a comfortable and largely Anglophone community.[4] His parents were Doris Elizabeth (Steeves), a grand-niece of William Steeves, a Father of Confederation,[5] and Progressive Conservative MP Robert Layton. He was elected student council president of his high school, Hudson High School, and his yearbook predicted that he would become a politician;[6] he would later also credit classmate Billy Bryans, who went on to become a prominent musician with the band Parachute Club, for having played a role in his student council victory.[7] He graduated from McGill University in 1970 with an Honours BA in political science and became a Brother of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
In 1969–70 he was the Prime Minister of the Quebec Youth Parliament.[8]
Layton credits a professor at McGill, the political philosopher Charles Taylor,
with being the primary influence in his decision to switch from a
science degree to an arts degree. Moreover, it was on Taylor’s advice
that he pursued his doctorate in Toronto to study the work of University
of Toronto political philosopher C.B. Macpherson. In what is perhaps
his most complete articulation of his political philosophy, a foreword
he wrote for Canadian Idealism and the Philosophy of Freedom, he
explains that, “The idealist current holds that human society has the
potential to achieve liberty when people work together to form a society
in which equality means more than negative liberty, the absolute and
protected right to run races against each other to determine winners.
Idealists imagine a positive liberty that enables us to build together
toward common objectives that fulfill and even surpass our individual
goals.”[9] Upon reading Canadian Idealism and the Philosophy of Freedom, Layton came to understand himself as part of the intellectual tradition of Canadian Idealists.
In 1970, the family moved to Toronto where Layton graduated the following year from York University with an MA in political science.[8] In 1974, he completed his PhD in political science at York. In 1974, Layton became a professor at Ryerson University.[10]
Over the next decade, he taught at Ryerson, York, and the University of
Toronto. He also became a prominent activist for a variety of causes.
He wrote several books, including Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis and a book on general public policy, Speaking Out.[8]

Family and personal life

Jack Layton and Olivia Chow on their way to vote, May 2, 2011

Layton’s great-granduncle, William Steeves, was a Father of Confederation. His great-grandfather Philip E. Layton was a blind activist who founded the Montreal Association for the Blind[11] in 1908[12] and led a campaign for disability pensions
in the 1930s. Philip was the senior partner in the family business,
Layton Bros. Pianos. Layton Pianos had been made in London, England
since 1837, and Philip had emigrated to Montreal at the age of 19.[13]
Philip was a blind organist, composer (“Dominion March”, played on
carillon at Jack’s lying-in-state), piano tuner, and piano retailer. The
family business survives as Layton Audio in Montreal.[14]
Jack Layton’s grandfather, Gilbert Layton, was a cabinet minister in the Union Nationale government of Maurice Duplessis in Quebec, and resigned due to the provincial government’s lack of support for Canadian participation in World War II. His father, Robert Layton, was a Liberal Party activist in the 1960s and 1970s, and served as a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) and Cabinet minister in the 1980s under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.[15]

Jack Layton wearing a custom made uniform at a Star Trek convention in 1991.

Layton was raised as a member of the United Church of Canada, and was a member of the Bloor Street United Church parish in Toronto.[16] However, he also sometimes attended services at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, whose pastor, Brent Hawkes, was a longtime New Democratic Party activist and a personal friend of Layton’s.[16]
In 1969, at age 19, Jack married his high school sweetheart Sally Halford, with whom he had two children, Mike, currently a Toronto City Councillor, and Sarah, currently a senior staffer for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.[17] Layton and Halford’s marriage ended in divorce 1983 after 14 years.
Layton first met Olivia Chow in 1985, during an auction at Village by the Grange, in which Jack was the auctioneer and Olivia was the interpreter for the Cantonese language
observers. They had been previously acquainted, however, they realized
that they were both candidates in the upcoming election and decided to
have lunch together to talk about the campaign. Three weeks after the auction, they went on their first date. Chow went on a pre-arranged canoeing trip, with three other men, and spent a weekend at a cottage then moved in together. Olivia’s mother did not approve of Jack, at first, because of his race as well as him not being a lawyer or doctor. Jack was invited to dinner at the home of Olivia’s mother, where they also played mahjong. After the dinner, Jack attempted to thank Olivia’s mother, in Cantonese, however, Jack’s incorrect tone
had him inadvertently saying, “Thank you for the good sex.” Layton
stated “My faux pas broke the ice completely. We’ve been good buddies
ever since.”[18]
Layton was known for playing music and singing songs at party gatherings. Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason remembered during the three-day board meetings when Layton was running for the president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities: “He would gather people together in his hotel room and play the guitar and get everybody singing old folk songs from the ’60s. He just got people involved, just with his personality, not politics.”[19]
At the 2005 Parliamentary Press Gallery
Dinner (typically a satirical event), Layton sent up himself and his
party, playing guitar and singing three songs; “Party for Sale or Rent”
(to the tune of “King of the Road“), a re-worked version of “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” with different humorous lyrics, and “If I Had Another $4.6 Billion”.[20][21]
Layton was a keen Trekkie, having a custom Starfleet uniform made by a tailor. Layton was famously photographed wearing his uniform at a Star Trek convention in 1991.[22]

Toronto City Council

At York and Ryerson, Layton developed close links with a number of Toronto figures including John Sewell and David Crombie. He was first elected to Toronto City Council in 1982, in a surprise upset against incumbent Gordon Chong. He quickly became one of the most outspoken members of council, and a leader of the left wing.[23] He was one of the most vocal opponents of the massive SkyDome project,[24] and an early advocate for rights for AIDS patients.[25] In 1984, he was fined for trespassing when he handed out leaflets at the Toronto Eaton Centre during a strike by Eaton’s staff, but the charge was later thrown out on freedom of speech grounds.[26] Layton was also one of the few opponents to Toronto’s bid for the 1996 Summer Olympics.[27] In 1985, he moved to the Metropolitan Toronto council, in the first direct elections for members of that body.[28][29] In the 1988 municipal elections, Layton traded places with City Council ally Dale Martin,
with Martin going to Metro and Layton returning to Toronto City
Council. Layton was easily elected in a contest with former high school
teacher Lois MacMillan-Walker. The election was a major victory for
Layton as the reformist coalition of which he was the de facto
head gained control of City Council, the first time in city history a
coalition of New Democrats and independents controlled council.[30]
On July 9, 1988, he married Hong Kong-born Toronto District School Board trustee Olivia Chow in a ceremony on Algonquin Island.[31][32]
Their whitewater rafting honeymoon plans had to be abandoned, however,
when days before the wedding Layton collided with a newspaper box while
Chow later joined Layton on the Toronto City Council. She has been a
candidate for the federal New Democrats five times, first winning her
seat the third time in a close race against Tony Ianno in the 2006 Canadian election, and re-elected in 2008 and 2011.
Layton and Chow were also the subject of some dispute when a June 14, 1990, Toronto Star article by Tom Kerr accused them of unfairly living in a housing cooperative subsidized by the federal government, despite their high income.[34]
Layton and Chow had both lived in the Hazelburn co-op since 1985, and
lived together in an $800 per month three-bedroom apartment after their
marriage in 1988. By 1990, their combined annual income was $120,000,
and in March of that year they began voluntarily paying an additional
$325 per month to offset their share of the co-op’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
subsidy, the only members of the co-op to do so. In response to the
article, the co-op’s board argued that having mixed-income tenants was
crucial to the success of co-ops, and that the laws deliberately set
aside apartments for those willing to pay market rates, such as Layton
and Chow.[35]
During the late 1980s and early 1990s they maintained approximately 30%
of their units as low income units and provided the rest at what they
considered market rent. In June 1990, the city’s solicitor cleared the
couple of any wrong-doing,[36] and later that month, Layton and Chow left the co-op and bought a house in Toronto’s Chinatown together with Chow’s mother, a move they said had been planned for some time.[37] Former Toronto mayor John Sewell later wrote in NOW that rival Toronto city councillor Tom Jakobek had given the story to Tom Kerr.[38]
Originally known for coming to council meetings in blue jeans with
unkempt hair, Layton worked to change his image to run for mayor in the 1991 civic election. He also started wearing contact lenses, abandoning his glasses, and traded in his blue jeans for suits.[39] In February 1991, Layton became the first official NDP candidate for the mayoralty, pitting him against centrist incumbent Art Eggleton.[40] In a move that surprised many, Eggleton elected not to run again.[41]
Layton was opposed by three right-of-centre candidates: Susan Fish, June Rowlands, and Betty Disero.
Right-wing support soon coalesced around former city councillor
Rowlands, preventing the internal divisions Layton needed to win office.[42] Layton was also hurt by the growing unpopularity of the provincial NDP government of Bob Rae,[43] and by his earlier opposition to Toronto’s Olympic bid. Bid organizer Paul Henderson accused Layton and his allies of costing Toronto the event.[44] Despite this, October polls showed Layton only four points behind Rowlands, with 36% support.[45]
However on October 17, Fish, a former provincial Tory cabinet minister
who had only 19% support, pulled out of the race, and many of her
supporters moved to Rowlands. Layton lost the November 12 election by a
considerable margin.[46] However, in the same election Olivia Chow easily won a seat on City Council.
Layton returned to academia and founded the Green Catalyst Group Inc., an environmental consulting business.[47] In 1993, he ran for the Canadian House of Commons in the riding of Rosedale
for the NDP, but finished fourth in the generally Liberal riding. In
1994, he returned to Metropolitan Toronto Council, succeeding Roger Hollander in the Don River ward, and he resumed his high profile role in local politics; following the “megacity” merger of Metropolitan Toronto into the current city of Toronto, he was again re-elected to Toronto City Council, serving alongside Pam McConnell
in a two-member ward. He remained on Toronto City Council until
pursuing the leadership of the federal New Democrats. He also came to
national attention as the leader of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.[48] Federally, he ran again in the 1997 election, but lost to incumbent Dennis Mills
by a wide margin. In June 1999, as chair of Toronto’s environmental
task force, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, he was instrumental in the
preliminary phases of the WindShare wind power cooperative in Toronto through the Toronto Renewable Energy Co-operative.[49]

Leader of the NDP

Jack Layton addresses the 2003 NDP convention in Toronto, where he was elected leader

Layton was elected leader of the NDP at the party’s leadership convention in Toronto, on January 25, 2003. Layton won on the first ballot with 53.5% of the vote, defeating Bill Blaikie, Lorne Nystrom, Joe Comartin and Pierre Ducasse.[50] His campaign was focused on the need to reinvigorate the party, and was prominently endorsed by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent.[51]
Layton did not seek election to the House of Commons by running in a
by-election, as is the tradition among new party leaders without a seat.
Instead, he waited until the 2004 federal election to contest the riding of Toronto—Danforth
against Liberal Dennis Mills. With no seat in the House of Commons, he
appointed the runner-up, longtime Winnipeg-area MP Bill Blaikie, as
parliamentary leader.[52] Although he had no parliamentary seat, Layton was noted for drawing considerable attention from the Canadian mass media.[53][54] Much of his rhetoric involved attacking the policies of then Canadian Prime Minister
Paul Martin as conservative, and arguing the ideology of the Liberal
Party of Canada had shifted in a more right wing direction. Another
focus of Layton’s leadership was to focus the party’s efforts on Quebec,
one of the party’s weaker provinces.[55] One of his opponents in the leadership race, Pierre Ducasse, was the first Québécois to run for leader of the NDP. After the race, Layton appointed Ducasse as his Quebec lieutenant and party spokesperson.[56]
The result of Layton’s efforts was a strong increase in the party’s
support. By the end of 2003, the party was polling higher than both the Canadian Alliance or the Progressive Conservatives[57] and it was even suggested that the next election could see the NDP in place as official opposition.[58]

2004 election

During the 2004 Canadian federal election,
controversy erupted over Layton’s accusation that Liberal Prime
Minister Paul Martin was responsible for the deaths of homeless people
because he failed to provide funding for affordable housing.[59]
While rates of homelessness and homeless deaths increased during the
eleven years of Liberal government, the link to Martin’s decisions was
indirect as affordable housing is a mainly provincial jurisdiction.[60] Layton’s charge was defended by some, including the Ottawa Citizen,[61] but most attacked it as inaccurate and negative campaigning. Moreover the controversy consumed the campaign, overshadowing policy announcements over the next week.[62]
Further controversy followed as Layton suggested the removal of the Clarity Act,
considered by some to be vital to keeping Quebec in Canada and by
others as undemocratic, and promised to recognize any declaration of
independence by Quebec after a referendum.[63] This position was not part of the NDP’s official party policy, leading some high-profile party members, such as NDP House Leader Bill Blaikie and former NDP leader Alexa McDonough,
to publicly indicate that they did not share Layton’s views. His
position on the Clarity Act was reversed in the 2006 election to one of
Layton also continued his effort to improve his party’s standing in
Quebec. The NDP ran French-language ads in the province and Layton, who
spoke colloquial Québécois French, appeared in them. He advocated
replacing the first-past-the-post system with proportional representation.
He threatened to use the NDP’s clout in the event of a minority
government. However, it was dismissed out of hand by the Liberal and Bloc Québécois
leaders, as they tend to be favored by the first-past-the-post system,
normally being allocated a greater proportion of seats than the
proportion of votes cast for them. Historically, the NDP’s popular vote
does not translate into a proportional number of seats because of
scattered support. This was most opposed by the Bloc Québécois, who
usually had the lowest popular vote but nonetheless won many seats
because their support was concentrated in Quebec. Despite these
problems, Layton led the NDP to a 15% popular vote, its highest in 16
years. However, it only won 19 seats in the House of Commons, two less
than the 21 won under Alexa McDonough in 1997, and far short of the 40
that Layton predicted on the eve of the election. However, some
potential NDP voters may have voted Liberal to prevent a possible
Conservative win. Olivia Chow and several other prominent Toronto NDP
candidates lost tight races and Layton won his own seat against
incumbent Liberal Dennis Mills by a much narrower margin than early
polls indicated.[citation needed]

Liberal minority government

Jack Layton speaks at an NDP Rally in Courtenay, British Columbia the night of January 12, 2005

With the ruling Liberal Party being reduced to a minority government, revelations of the sponsorship scandal damaging its popularity to the point where both the Conservative Party and the Bloc Québécois were pressing their advantage for a snap election, the Prime Minister approached the NDP for its support. Layton demanded the cancellation of proposed corporate tax
cuts and called for an increase in social spending. The ensuing
compromise in the NDP’s favour was protested by the other opposition
parties who used it as a pretext to force a non-confidence vote.
On May 19, two such votes were defeated and Layton’s amendments went on
to be passed on its final reading vote on June 23. As a result of this
political coup and his apparent civil behaviour in a spitefully raucous
parliament, many political analysts noted that Layton gained increased
credibility as an effective leader of an important party, becoming the
major second choice leader in many political polls – for example,
polling second in Quebec after Gilles Duceppe, despite the low polls for his party as a whole in the province.[citation needed]
In mid-November 2005, when Liberal support dropped after the Gomery Commission delivered its first report, Layton offered the Prime Minister several conditions in return for the NDP’s continued support.[citation needed] When the Liberals turned him down,[citation needed]
Layton announced he would introduce a motion requesting a February
election. However, the Martin government refused to allow the election
date to be decided by the opposition. A motion of non-confidence
followed, moved by Stephen Harper and seconded by Layton, triggering the
2006 federal election.

Coalition attempt with the BQ and the Conservatives

On March 26, 2011, in response to Harper’s allegations that a
coalition is not a legitimate or principled way to form government,
Duceppe stated that Harper had once tried to form a coalition government with the Bloc and NDP.[65] In 2004 Stephen Harper privately met with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe and New Democratic Party
leader Jack Layton in a Montreal hotel. The meeting that took place
between the three party leaders happened 2 months before the federal
election.[66] On September 9, 2004, the three signed a letter addressed to then-Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, stating,

We respectfully point out that the opposition
parties, who together constitute a majority in the House, have been in
close consultation. We believe that, should a request for dissolution
arise, this should give you cause, as constitutional practice has
determined, to consult the opposition leaders and consider all of your
options before exercising your constitutional authority.[66]

On the same day the letter was written, the three party leaders held a
joint press conference at which they expressed their intent to
co-operate on changing parliamentary rules, and to request that the
Governor General consult with them before deciding to call an election.[67]
At the news conference, Harper said “It is the Parliament that’s
supposed to run the country, not just the largest party and the single
leader of that party. That’s a criticism I’ve had and that we’ve had and
that most Canadians have had for a long, long time now so this is an
opportunity to start to change that.” However, at the time, Harper and
the two other opposition leaders denied trying to form a coalition government.[66] Harper said, “This is not a coalition, but this is a co-operative effort.”[67]
One month later, on October 4, Mike Duffy,
now a Conservative senator (appointed by Harper), said “It is possible
that you could change prime minister without having an election,” and
that some Conservatives wanted Harper as prime minister. The next day
Layton walked out on talks with Harper and Duceppe, accusing them of
trying to replace Paul Martin with Harper as prime minister. Both Bloc and Conservative officials denied Layton’s accusations.[66]

2006 campaign

In a media scrum during the 2006 winter election campaign.

With a vote scheduled for January 23, 2006,
many New Democrats expected Layton to deliver substantially more seats
than he did in 2004. They hoped the NDP would hold the balance of power
in a new minority parliament, so that they could carry additional
leverage in negotiating with the governing party. Mike Klander, the
executive vice-president of the federal Liberals’ Ontario wing, resigned
after making posts on his blog comparing Chow to a Chow Chow dog and calling her husband an “asshole“.[68]
Through the course of the campaign, Layton attempted to cast himself as the sole remaining champion of universal health care.
Some opinion polls showed that Canadians found Layton the most
appealing and charismatic of the leaders. Layton repeatedly insisted
that “Canadians have a third choice”, and urged Liberals to “lend us
your vote”. Some commentators and pundits mocked Layton for over-using
these catchphrases instead of explaining the NDP platform.[citation needed]
The NDP’s strategy had changed in that they were focusing their
attacks on the Liberals rather than in 2004 where they criticized both
the Liberals and Conservatives in equal measure prompting some criticism
from Paul Martin.[69] Andrew Coyne
suggested that the NDP not only wanted to disassociate themselves from
the scandal-ridden Liberals, but also because the Liberals were likely
to receive credit for legislation achieved under the Liberal-NDP
partnership. The NDP had also lost close races in the 2004 election due
to the Liberals’ strategic voting. Early in the campaign, NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis had asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to launch a criminal investigation into the leaking of the income trust announcement.[70]
The criminal probe seriously damaged the Liberal campaign and
preventing them from making their key policy announcements, as well as
bringing alleged Liberal corruption back into the spotlight.
Layton’s campaign direction also caused a break between him and Canadian Auto Workers union head Buzz Hargrove over the issue of strategic voting.
Hargrove preferred a Liberal minority government supported by the NDP
and he had earlier criticized Layton for participating in the motion of
non-confidence that brought down the Liberal government. Hargrove allied
with the Liberals and publicly stated that he “did not like the
campaign that Jack Layton was running”, criticizing Layton for “spending
too much time attacking the Liberals”. During the final week of the
campaign, knowing that last-minute strategic voting had cost the NDP
seats in several close ridings during the 2004 election,[71] Hargrove and Martin urged all progressive voters to unite behind the Liberal banner to stop a Conservative government.[72]
Layton intensified his attacks on the Liberal scandals, pledging to use
his minority clout to keep the Conservatives in check. Shortly after
the election, the Ontario provincial branch of the NDP revoked
Hargrove’s party membership because he had violated the party’s
constitution by campaigning for other parties during an election
campaign, though Layton disagreed with this. Hargrove retaliated by
severing ties with the NDP at the annual CAW convention. The election
increased the NDP’s total seats to 29 seats, up from 18 MP before
Among the new NDP candidates elected was Olivia Chow, making the two
only the second husband-and-wife team in Canadian Parliament history (Gurmant Grewal and Nina Grewal
were the first husband-and-wife team in Canadian Parliament after the
2004 federal election). In the end, the NDP succeeded in increasing
their parliamentary representation to 29 MPs, though they had
significantly fewer seats than the Bloc Québécois (51) or the Opposition
Liberals (103).[73]

Conservative minority government

Jack Layton giving a speech on the 5th anniversary of his leadership of the NDP.

At the NDP’s 22nd Convention, held on September 10, 2006, in Quebec City, Layton received a 92% approval rating in a leadership vote, tying former Reform Party leader Preston Manning‘s record for this kind of voting.[74] At the same convention, the NDP passed a motion calling for the return of Canadian Forces from Afghanistan. On September 24, 2006, he met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai to discuss the NDP position. After the meeting Layton stated that Canada’s role should be focused on traditional peacekeeping and reconstruction rather than in a front line combat role currently taking place.[75]
Layton and his caucus voted to support the new proposed rules for income trusts introduced by the Conservatives October 31, 2006.[76]
The short-term result of the tax policy announcement was a loss to
Canadian investors of $20 billion, the largest ever loss attributed to a
change in government policy.[77] According to the Canadian Association of Income Trust Investors[78] some 2.5 million Canadian investors were affected by the change in income trust policy.[79]
Layton threatened to move a motion of non-confidence against the government over the “Clean Air Act” unless action was taken to improve the bill and its approach to environmental policy.[80]
Prime Minister Harper agreed to put an end to the Parliamentary logjam
by sending the bill to a special legislative committee before second
reading. He released his proposed changes to the “Clean Air Act” on
November 19, 2006.[81]
On June 3, 2008, Layton voted to implement a program which would “allow conscientious objectors…to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations…to…remain in Canada…”[82][83][84] Layton led the NDP to be instrumental in taking action on the peace issue of Canada and Iraq War resisters.
On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it known that he had received private counsel from Layton on the matter of Indian residential schools and the apology to former students of the schools. Before delivering the apology, Harper thanked Layton.[85]

2008 campaign

Broadbent and Jack Layton at a 2008 election rally in Toronto

Layton started off the 2008 federal election campaign with a speech similar to that of US presidential nominee Barack Obama.
Layton denied he was trying to draw comparisons with Obama, saying “I
mean, I am a lot shorter than he is. He is a brilliant orator. I’m never
going to claim to be that. But what I have noticed is that the key
issues faced by the American middle class, the working people
of the U.S. and their concerns about their families’ futures, are
awfully similar to the issues that I hear in Canada.” Layton said that
he has also written to Obama and Hillary Clinton saying that the North American Free Trade Agreement had hurt working people in both countries “and those stories have to be told.”
Layton, along with Prime Minister Harper and Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, initially opposed the inclusion of Green Party leader Elizabeth May in the leaders’ televised debates.[86][87] Layton initially said that he was following the rules of the broadcast consortium, while NDP spokesman Brad Lavigne confirmed that Layton had refused to attend if May was present, noting that May had endorsed Liberal leader Stéphane Dion
for prime minister, and arguing that her inclusion would in effect give
the Liberals two representatives at the debate. Rod Love, former chief
of staff to Ralph Klein, suggested that the Greens could potentially cut into the NDP’s support.[88] Layton’s stance drew criticism from the YWCA,[89] Judy Rebick, and members of his own party.[90]
Layton dropped his opposition to May’s inclusion on September 10, 2008.
“This whole issue of debating about the debate has become a distraction
to the real debate that needs to happen”, Layton said. “I have only one
condition for this debate and that is that the prime minister is
In October 2008, Layton posted an online video message speaking out in favour of net neutrality, torrent sites, video-sharing sites, and social-networking sites.[92]
In a separate interview he said that increasing corporate control “is
very, very dangerous and we have put the whole issue of net neutrality
right into the heart of our campaign platform,” and that the Internet is
“a public tool for exchanging ideas and I particularly want to say that
if we don’t fight to preserve it, we could lose it.” In the end, the
NDP gained 8 new seats, taking its tally to 37. This result still left
the NDP as Canada’s fourth party, behind the Bloc Québécois with 50. The
NDP managed to retain Outremont, held by Thomas Mulcair, its only seat in the province.[93]

Continued Conservative minority government

Layton during the 2008 election campaign

The 40th session of parliament
began on November 27, 2008, with a fiscal update by the Conservatives
that outlined their agenda for the upcoming term. This included a
temporary suspension of Federal employees’ right to strike and a removal
of monetary subsidies for political parties.[94]
All three opposition parties including the NDP stated that they could
not support this position. Layton along with Liberal leader Stéphane
Dion and Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe began negotiations to form
a coalition that would replace the Conservatives as the government. The
three opposition parties planned to table a motion of non-confidence in
the House of Commons, and counted on the likelihood that the Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, would invite the coalition to govern instead of dissolving parliament and calling an election so soon after the last election.[citation needed]
On December 1, 2008, the three opposition leaders signed an accord
that laid down the basis for an agreement on a coalition government. The
proposed structure would be a coalition between the Liberals and the
NDP, with the New Democrats getting six Cabinet positions. Both parties
agreed to continue the coalition until June 30, 2011. The Bloc Québécois
would not be formally part of the government but would provide support
on confidence motions for 18 months.[95]
Opposition to the proposed coalition developed in all provinces except Quebec.[96] On December 4, 2008, the Governor General granted Prime Minister Harper’s request to prorogue
parliament until January 26, 2009, at which time Harper had planned to
introduce the budget. Dion had since been ousted from the leadership of
the Liberals and his successor, Michael Ignatieff, had distanced himself from the coalition.
Layton remained committed to ousting the Harper government,[97][98] pledging that the NDP would vote against the Conservative budget regardless of what it contained.[99]
Layton urged Ignatieff’s Liberal Party to topple the Conservatives
before the shelf life of the coalition expired; constitutional experts
said that four months after the last election, if the government fell,
the Governor General would likely grant the Prime Minister’s request to
dissolve parliament instead of inviting the coalition.[100]

Jack Layton appearing in Toronto's Pride Parade 2009

Jack Layton making an appearance in Toronto’s Pride Parade in 2009

On January 28, 2009, the Liberals agreed to support the Conservative
budget with an amendment, ending the possibility of the coalition, so
Layton said “Today we have learned that you can’t trust Mr. Ignatieff to
oppose Mr. Harper. If you oppose Mr. Harper and you want a new
government, I urge you to support the NDP.”[101]
In March 2009, the NDP, under Layton’s leadership, re-introduced a motion (first passed June 3, 2008) which, if implemented, would allow conscientious objectors to the Iraq War to remain in Canada. The motion again passed March 30, 2009, by 129–125, but it was non-binding.[102][103] In a leadership review vote held at the NDP’s August 2009 federal policy convention, 89.25% of delegates voted against holding a leadership convention to replace Layton.[104] In October 2009, Layton paired up with the Stephen Lewis Foundation to raise money for HIV/AIDS affected families in Africa. As part of the foundation’s A Dare to Remember campaign, Layton busked on a busy street corner.[105]
Layton’s son, Mike was elected to Toronto City Council in the 2010 city council election.[106]
The Conservative government was defeated in a no-confidence vote
on March 25, 2011, with the motion gaining full support of all
opposition parties including the New Democrats, after the government was
found in contempt of parliament.[107] This was the first occurrence in Commonwealth history of a government in the Westminster parliamentary tradition losing the confidence of the House of Commons
on the grounds of contempt of parliament. The no-confidence motion was
carried with a vote of 156 in favour of the motion, and 145 against,[108] thus resulting in the Prime Minister advising a dissolution of parliament and a federal election.

2011 campaign

Layton with his chief of staff, Anne McGrath, campaigning in Quebec City

The day after the successful passing of the motion, Layton started the NDP election campaign, first with a speech in Ottawa followed later in the day by an event in Edmonton, Alberta.[109]
Questions about Layton’s health due to a recent hip surgery were often
directed to him during the campaign, with Layton insisting that he is
healthy enough to lead.[110][111]
On March 29, 2011, the New Democrats presented their first real
campaign promise, a proposal to cap credit card rates in order to reduce
credit card debt.[112]
Unlike the previous election, Layton stated he was in favour of Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaking at the leaders debates, despite the fact that she was once again being discouraged by the Canadian media networks.[113] The NDP also embarked upon the largest advertising campaign in its history, focusing on the Government’s health care record.[114] He also dedicated the federal election campaign to former Saskatchewan Premier Allan Blakeney, who died about halfway through the campaign.[115]
Despite entering the campaign with relatively low poll numbers,[116][117] the NDP recovered and increased their support significantly after Layton’s performance in the leaders debates.[118][119] In the English-language debate, Layton criticized Michael Ignatieff‘s
poor attendance record in the House of Commons, saying “You know, most
Canadians, if they don’t show up for work, they don’t get a promotion!”,
Ignatieff was unable to respond effectively.[120][121][122]
On February 4, 2011 Layton attended a rally against Usage Based Billing in Toronto with MPs Dan McTeague, Olivia Chow, Peggy Nash and others.[123][124][125] His attendance at this rally was accompanied by several press releases by the NDP denouncing metered internet usage in Canada.[126][127]

Layton in Quebec during the federal electoral campaign.

The NDP surge began in Quebec, with the NDP surprising many observers by surpassing the previously front-running Bloc in Quebec.[128]
In Canada overall, the NDP surged past the Liberals to take the second
place behind the Conservatives; in Quebec, the NDP took first place.[129][130]
The NDP surge became the dominant narrative of the last week of the
campaign, as other parties turned their attacks on the party and Layton.[131]
On April 29, 2011, a retired police officer told the Sun News Network and the Toronto Sun newspaper that in 1996, Layton had been found naked in a massage parlour
when police, looking for underage Asian hookers, raided the
establishment. The police informed Layton of the potentially
questionable use of the business and recommended that he avoid it in the
future. No charges were filed.[132][133][134] The Sun later ran a follow-up piece, in which Toronto city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti criticized Layton.[135]
Layton has said there was no wrongdoing in the matter, saying that he
simply “went for a massage at a community clinic” and did not return
after the police advised him not to.[136] He also referred to the release of the police report as a smear campaign against him.[137][138][139][140] Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe has also dismissed the claim.[141] A columnist for the National Post
suggested that it was a Liberal insider that leaked the story, although
a Liberal Party spokesman denied that they had anything to do with it.[142]
A subsequent Toronto Star column stated that most contributors to online discussions agreed there was a smear campaign against Layton.[143] As for political damage from this story, that same day’s update of the Nanos Leadership Index,
which assesses public opinion on the Canadian federal leaders’
trustworthiness, competence and vision for Canada, Layton rose from 80%
to 97%, surpassing Harper at 88% and Ignatieff at 39%. The polling
company speculated this improvement is due to strong sympathy by the
public for a political candidate they judged as being unfairly maligned.[144] The Toronto police launched an investigation into how official police notes were leaked to Sun Media. Police notebooks are closely guarded and may contain unfounded and unproven allegations.[140] On May 5, 2011, it was announced that no charges would be laid with regards to the leaked information.[145]
Layton appeared on the Radio-Canada talk show Tout le monde en parle
on April 3, an appearance that was credited for improving his party’s
standing among Francophone voters due to his informal Québécois French.[146] The show is the most popular program in Quebec.[147] He was also perceived to have performed well in the televised French-language party leaders’ debate on April 13.
In the May 2, 2011, election, Layton led the NDP to 103 seats, more
than double its previous high. This was also enough to make the NDP the
Official Opposition in the Commons for the first time ever. The NDP
gains were partly due to a major surge in Quebec as the party won 59 of
the province’s 75 seats, dominating Montreal and sweeping Quebec City and the Outaouais,
although the NDP also won more seats than any other opposition party in
the rest of Canada. The NDP had gone into the election with only one
seat in Quebec, that of Mulcair, and had won but a single seat in the
province historically (Phil Edmonston
in a 1990 by-election). Many of these gains came at the expense of the
Bloc, which was reduced to a four-seat rump without official party
status in Parliament.

Illness and death

An impromptu memorial emerged on Parliament Hill after news of Jack Layton’s death

On February 5, 2010, Layton announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He noted that his father Robert Layton had suffered from the same type of cancer 17 years before and recovered from it. His wife, Olivia Chow, had battled thyroid cancer
a few years before. He vowed to beat the cancer and said it would not
interrupt his duties as member of Parliament or as leader of the NDP.[148][149]

Jack Layton’s casket is carried into the Centre Block for his lying-in-state.

Following the 2011 federal election, Layton led the party into the
first month of the new session of Parliament, as well as attending the
NDP Federal Convention in Vancouver.
After Parliament rose for the summer, Layton announced on July 25, 2011
that he would be taking a temporary leave from his post to fight an
unspecified, newly diagnosed cancer. He was hoping to return as leader
of the NDP upon the resumption of the House of Commons on September 19,
2011. Layton recommended that NDP caucus chair Nycole Turmel serve as interim leader during his leave of absence.[150]
Layton died at 4:45 am ET on August 22, 2011, at his home in Toronto.[151][152][153] He was 61 years old.
Upon hearing the news, there was a “nationwide outpouring of grief,”[154] and the Governor General, David Johnston,[155] Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP deputy leader Libby Davies,[156] and United States Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson issued statements praising Layton and mourning his loss.[157]
Layton’s family released an open letter, written by Layton two days
before his death. In it, he expressed his wishes regarding the NDP’s
leadership in the event of his death, and addressed various segments of
the Canadian population, concluding, “My friends, love is better than
anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let
us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”[158]
Layton was accorded a state funeral by the Governor-General-in-Council, which took place between August 25 and 27, 2011, with the final memorial service at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.[159] Only two opposition leaders have died while in office; the first, Sir Wilfrid Laurier,
had been a former prime minister, and so a state funeral was consistent
with protocol. Layton is only the first opposition leader to die for
whom a state funeral would not otherwise have been afforded, but Prime
Minister Harper made the offer to Layton’s widow who accepted. Layton
was cremated following the funeral,[160] with one portion of his ashes scattered on the Toronto Islands, a second portion buried at St. James Cemetery in Toronto under a memorial marker and a third portion planted with a memorial tree at the Wyman United Church cemetery in Hudson, Quebec, where his father and maternal grandparents are buried.[161][162]

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Samuel Menashe, American poet, died of natural causes he was 85

Samuel Menashe was an American poet. Born in New York City as Samuel Menashe Weisberg, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents,[1] Menashe grew up in Elmhurst, Queens, and graduated from Townsend Harris High School and Queens College died of natural causes he was 85..

(September 16, 1925 – August 22, 2011) 

 During World War II he served in the US Army infantry,[1] and in 1944 fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he used his GI Bill money to study at the Sorbonne[2] where he received an advanced degree.
In the 1950s, Menashe returned to New York where, except for frequent sojourns in England and Ireland, he lived most of his life.[3] In 1961, he garnered the blessing of the British poet Kathleen Raine who arranged for his first book, The Many Named Beloved, to be published by Victor Gollancz in London.[4]
Menashe’s short, intense, spiritual poems, which canvass existential
dilemmas and use implication and wordplay as a way of deepening the
linguistic force of his words, gained wide acclaim in Britain from
reviewers such as Donald Davie, who became one of Menashe’s most committed backers. He was later included in the Penguin Modern Poets series.
Despite much acclaim, Menashe remained marginal on the American
poetry scene. He persisted in writing, however, producing several more
powerful books culminating in The Niche Narrows in 2000. Prominent poets, critics and editors who have admired Menashe’s work include Dana Gioia, Denis Donoghue, Billy Collins, Geordie Greig, and Christopher Ricks.
In 2004 he became the first poet honored with the “Neglected Masters Award”[2] given by Poetry magazine and the Poetry Foundation.[2] The award was also to include a book to be published by the Library of America,
which turned out to be a “Selected Poems” edited by Ricks. This volume
appeared in 2005 on the occasion of the poet’s 80th birthday, and was
widely reviewed. A revised edition, with ten additional poems, was
published in 2008. Bloodaxe Books in the UK published the volume (which also contained a DVD film about the poet’s life and work) in 2009.[1]
Menashe was also a teacher and writing instructor. During the 1960s, he taught literature and poetry courses at C. W. Post College. Previously, he taught at Bard College.
Menashe died in his sleep in New York on August 22, 2011.[2]


  • The Many Named Beloved (1961)
  • Penguin Modern Poets, vol. 7 of the 2nd series (1966). Poems by Donald Davie, Samuel Menashe, and Allen Curnow.
  • No Jerusalem But This (1971)
  • Fringe of Fire (1973)
  • To Open (1974)
  • Collected Poems (1986)
  • The Niche Narrows (2000)
  • New and Selected Poems (2005)

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Casey Ribicoff, American socialite and philanthropist, died from lung cancer she was 88.

Casey Ribicoff born “Lois Ruth Mell”,  was an American philanthropist, socialite and the second wife and widow of United States Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and later United States Senator from Connecticut, Abraham Ribicoff. Ribicoff was the President of the ladies auxiliary of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida and in 1963 became the became the first woman to be selected to serve on the hospital’s board of trustees.

December 5, 1922 -August 22, 2011

As a socialite, she was known as a great woman of style who, after
years of appearing on best-dressed lists, was inducted into the
international Best-Dressed Hall of Fame in 1988. Ribicoff counted among
her friends Bill Blass (of whose estate she was the principal executor of).
Ribicoff also counted Nancy Kissinger, Barbara Walters, Annette de la Renta, Dominick Dunne and Tom Brokaw among her close friends.
President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the board of the Kennedy Center, a seat in which she served for twenty years.

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Michael Showers, American actor (Treme, Breaking Bad, The Vampire Diaries), died by drowning he was 45.

Michael Showers was an
American actor who was best known for his role as Captain John Guidry on
the television series Treme died by drowning he was 45..

(March 14, 1966 – August 22, 2011)


On August 24, 2011, Showers’ body was discovered in the Mississippi River near the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans police speculated that Showers had been dead for at least two days when his body was found.[3] Autopsy results confirmed that Showers’ death was caused by drowning.[4]




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Peter Terpeluk, Jr, American diplomat, Ambassador to Luxembourg (2002–2005), died from a heartattack he was 63

J. Peter Terpeluk, Jr. was a Republican politician from Pennsylvania and a American diplomat who was the United States Ambassador to Luxembourg for part of the tenure of President George W. Bush died from a heart attack he was 63..

(February 18, 1948 – August 23, 2011) 

Born in Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, Terpeluk graduated from Malvern Preparatory School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from La Salle College and master’s degree in public administration from Rider College, as well as honorary doctorates from Sacred Heart University and La Salle College.[1]
From 1972 to 1981, Terpeluk served as town manager in two townships in southeastern Pennsylvania and later served in the Small Business Administration until 1984.[2]
He founded the consulting firm Terpeluk and Associates in 1986, which
he continued to operate while a principal in the Washington office of
the firm S.R. Wojdak & Associates from 1989 to 1993. He served as
finance chairman for the Republican Party.
President George W. Bush
nominated Terpeluk in December 2001, and the U.S. Senate confirmed
Terpeluk on March 20, 2002. Terpeluk swore his oath to the President on
April 17, 2002 and presented his credentials to Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg on April 30, 2002.[2] From 2002 to 2005, he served as United States ambassador to Luxembourg.[3]
From 2009 until his death, Terpeluk served as national finance chairman for the Republican National Committee.[4] Terpeluk died on August 23, 2011 when he was leaving his Chevy Chase, Maryland home to meet Texas Governor Rick Perry.[1]

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John Abley, Australian football player, died from cardiac arrest he was 81.

John Abley was an Australian rules footballer who played with Port Adelaide in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) between 1950 and 1961 died from cardiac arrest he was 81..

(1 October 1930 – 19 August 2011) 

Abley spent some of the 1949 season playing reserves football with
Hawthorn and turned his back on a possible career in the seniors when he
moved to Adelaide. He could easily have played for Glenelg (as his younger brother Kevin
did) instead of Port as after he arrived in Adelaide the area he
planned on residing in was part of Glenelg’s recruiting zone. Port
Adelaide officials, at the suggestion of Bob McLean, hastily arranged alternate accommodation in the hope of acquiring his services and he debuted for them in 1950.
A fullback, Abley first played in that position for Port in a “Challenge match” in Broken Hill
at the end of his debut season and after impressing was kept there for
the remainder of his career. He was a member of the famed Port team
which won six premierships in succession from 1954 to 1959, an
Australian record.
He was a regular South Australian interstate representative and
played a total of 23 games for his state. On three occasions he was
selected as an All-Australian for his performances at the carnivals, in 1956, 1958 and 1961.
In 1959, John was named as a life member of the Port Adelaide
Football Club because of his talent, his warmth off the field and being
one of only six players to play in all of Port Adelaide’s premierships
in the 1950s (1951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959).
In 1998, John was inducted to the South Australian Football Hall of Fame.
In 2001 Abley was named as the fullback in Port Adelaide’s official
“Greatest Team”, taking into account all players to have represented the
club since 1870.
Abley died on the 19 August 2011, aged 81, after a short illness.

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Dame Christine Cole Catley, New Zealand journalist, publisher and author, died from lung cancer she was 88

Dame Christine McKelvie Cole Catley,   was a New Zealand journalist, publisher and author died from lung cancer she was 88. In 2006 she was awarded the Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit
for services to literature. In 2009 the award was redesignated Dame
Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) after the New Zealand
government decided to restore the titles of knights and dames to the
honours system. She died 21 August 2011 from lung cancer aged 88.[1][2]

(19 December 1922 – 21 August 2011)

She started working for the Taranaki Daily News while still at school and then The Press while she attended Canterbury University in Christchurch. She also wrote for the Labour Party‘s daily paper, The Southern Cross, the New Zealand Listener, Radio New Zealand and Australia’s ABC Network. She was a member of the Broadcasting Council, but was removed by prime minister Robert Muldoon of the National Party. She also wrote for The Dominion (as Sam Cree) and for the Sunday Times.
While working as an advertising copywriter she coined the name Kiwi berry for Chinese gooseberries which evolved into kiwifruit.
She was instrumental in setting up memorials for writers Frank Sargeson (the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship) and Michael King.[3]

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Sir Donald Farquharson, British jurist, died he was 83.

Sir Donald Henry Farquharson (1928 – 21 August 2011) was a British judge, who served as a High Court Judge for eight years and as a judge of the Court of Appeal for six years died he was 83..

(1928 – 21 August 2011)

Farquharson was educated at the Royal Commercial Travellers School before studying at Keble College, Oxford. He was called to the bar as a member of Inner Temple in 1952 and thereafter practised as a barrister. He was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Essex Quarter Sessions in 1970, and took silk in 1972. He was a Recorder of the Crown Court from 1972 until 1981, when he was appointed as a judge of the High Court of Justice, assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division.
He received the customary knighthood upon appointment. In 1989, he was promoted to become a Lord Justice of Appeal as a member of the Court of Appeal, and became a member of the Privy Council. He was made an Honorary Fellow of Keble College in the same year.
He was chairman of the Judicial Studies Board from 1992 to 1994. Farquharson retired from the bench in 1995.[1]

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Brian Harrison, Australian-born British politician and businessman, MP for Maldon (1955–1974), died he was 89.

(Alastair) Brian Clarke Harrison  was a British Conservative politician died he was 89..

(3 October 1921 – 21 August 2011)

Harrison was born in 1921 in Melbourne, Australia. He was the son of the soldier and politician Eric Harrison.[2] He was educated at Geelong Grammar School and during World War II served in the Australian Army from 1940 and as a volunteer with the Australian Independent Companies (Commandos) in Halmahera and Borneo.[2]
After the war he was at Trinity College, Cambridge. He rowed for Cambridge in the record-breaking crew in the 1948 Boat Race. Most of the crew rowed for Great Britain in the 1948 Summer Olympics; Harrison did not participate in the Games as Australia did not enter a squad.[2]
Harrison returned to Australia from 1950 to 1951 and studied
immigration and development. He then settled in the UK to become a
farmer and estate manager near Colchester.[2] He became London director of the Commercial Bank of Australia in January 1966. He served as a councillor on Lexden and Winstree Rural District Council in Essex.[citation needed] He was also High Sheriff of Essex in 1979 and a Deputy Lieutenant of the county.[2]
Harrison was elected in the 1955 general election as Member of Parliament (MP) for Maldon and served until he stood down in February 1974 general election. [1] He served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to John Hare[2] while Hare was Minister of State for the Colonies between 1955 and 1956, Secretary of State for War from 1956 to 1958 and Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from 1958 to 1960.
Harrison died in Colchester on 21 August 2011 aged 89 following a short illness.[3]

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Budd Hopkins, American artist and UFO researcher, died from liver cancer he was 80.

Budd Hopkins was an American painter, sculptor, and prominent figure in abduction phenomenon, and related UFO research died from liver cancer he was 80.

 (June 15, 1931 – August 21, 2011 )


Born in 1931 and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1953, that same year moving to New York City, where he lived until his death in 2011.[3]
Hopkins’ art is in the permanent collections in the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, Hirshhorn Museum, and at the Museum of Modern Art; he received grants or endowments from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His articles on art appeared in magazines and journals, and he lectured at many art schools, including Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill.

Interest in UFOs

In 1964, Hopkins and two others reported seeing a UFO in daylight for several minutes[4]. Fascinated, Hopkins joined the now-defunct UFO research group National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) and began reading many UFO books and articles.
In 1975, Hopkins and Ted Bloecher studied a multiple-witness UFO report, the North Hudson Park UFO sightings, which occurred in New Jersey[5]. In 1976, the Village Voice printed Hopkins’ account of the investigation.
Hopkins began receiving regular letters from other UFO witnesses, including a few cases of what would later be called “missing time” — inexplicable gaps in one’s memory, associated with UFO encounters.

Alien abduction

With Bloecher and psychologist Aphrodite Clamar, Hopkins began
investigating the missing time experiences, and eventually came to
conclude that the missing time cases were due to alien abduction.
By the late 1980s, Hopkins was one of the most prominent people in
ufology, earning a level of mainstream attention that was nearly
unprecedented for the field. He established the non-profit Intruders
Foundation 1989 to publicize his research.
Hopkins wrote several popular books about abductees, notably Missing Time, and was the founder of the Intruders Foundation, a non-profit organization created to document and research alien abductions, and to provide support to abductees.
For roughly the first seven years of his investigation of the
abduction phenomenon, Hopkins himself conducted no hypnosis sessions.
Rather, he secured the aid of licensed professionals. He noted that
three of these therapists (Drs. Robert Naiman, Aphrodite Clamar and Girard Franklin)
were quite skeptical of the reality of abduction claims, yet all
“uncovered” detailed abduction scenarios from their patients. (Hopkins,
The 1992 made-for-television film Intruders was based on Hopkins’ research, and portrayed abduction scenes. Additionally, Hopkin’s 1996 book, Witnessed,
portrays a classic abduction case that was alleged to have occurred in
late 1989 near the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. This case is unique
in that it is one of the first publicized episodes that involved
multiple abductees (who did not previously know each other) that come to
know each other in the “real” world through a variety of circumstances
connected to their abductions. Additionally, this case involved
inter-generational abductions within the same family.


Controversy was a persistent feature of Hopkins’ career in alien
abduction and UFO studies. While few seemed to doubt Hopkin’s motives or
sincerity, critics charged that Hopkins was out of his element when he
used hypnosis, thereby aiding his subjects in confabulation —
the blending of fact and fantasy. However, Hopkins insisted such
criticism is specious. He wrote, “I have often frequently invited
interested therapists, journalists and academics to observe hypnosis sessions. Theoretical psychologist Nicholas Humphrey, who has held teaching positions at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and psychiatrist Donald. F. Klein, director of research at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and professor of psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University,
are but two of those who have observed my work firsthand. None of these
visitors … have reported anything that suggested I was attempting to
lead the subjects.” (Hopkins, 238-239)

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John R. Hubbard, American diplomat, President of University of Southern California (1970–1980), United States Ambassador to India (1988–1989), died he was 92.

John Randolph “Jack” Hubbard  was the eighth president of the University of Southern California (USC) between 1970 and 1980  died he was 92.. He succeeded Norman Topping and was succeeded by James Zumberge. He had served as USC vice president and provost in 1969 after spending four years in India as chief education adviser to the U.S. Agency for International Development. After USC, he served as the United States Ambassador to India from 1988 to 1989.

(December 3, 1918 – August 21, 2011)

In 1970, USC became a member of the Association of American Universities. Between 1970 and 1980, USC rose from 33 to 19 in National Science Foundation
federal research rankings and applications rose from 4,100 to more than
11,000. Hubbard’s Toward Century II campaign, started in 1976, raised
more than $306 million. Hubbard continued to teach history during his
term as president and afterward, until shortly before his death. Hubbard
served on the USC Board of Trustees. USC’s Student Services building
was renamed John Hubbard Hall in September 2003. Late in life, he taught
two undergraduate seminars at USC, entitled “British Empire From the
Mid-19th Century” and “The Era of the First World War”.[citation needed]
Prior to USC, he was dean and professor at Tulane University, New Orleans; visiting professor at Yale University, and assistant professor at Louisiana State University (at Baton Rouge).
Hubbard earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Texas and honorary degrees from Hebrew Union College, Westminster College, College of the Ozarks and USC Law School. Hubbard was a pilot in the United States Navy during World War II, winning four Air Medals.

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John J. Kelley, American Olympic long-distance runner, winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon, died he was 80.

John Joseph Kelley  was the winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon and the marathon at the 1959 Pan American Games and a member of two United States Olympic Marathon teams. He was often dubbed John “The Younger” to avoid confusion with Johnny “The Elder” Kelley, the winner of the 1935 and 1945 Boston Marathons. The two men were not related.

(December 24, 1930 – August 21, 2011)

Kelley was born in Norwich, Connecticut. He began racing in marathons during his college years. From 1950-54, he attended Boston University,
located about a mile from the Boston Marathon finish line. While there,
he excelled in team races and would run his first two Boston Marathons,
in 1953 and 1954. He finished fifth in the 1953 race before following
up with a 7th place finish the next year. After graduating, he finished
2nd in the 1956 Boston Marathon and made his way onto the U.S. Olympic
Marathon team which competed in Melbourne, Australia
during the same year. He would go on to win the Boston Marathon
outright in 1957 while setting a new course record on the remeasured
After his win at Boston, Kelley would win several other marathons, including eight consecutive wins of the Yonkers Marathon in Yonkers, New York.[2]
As a result of his record setting performance at Yonkers in 1960, he
again found his way onto the U.S. Olympic Marathon team and competed in
the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He placed 21st and 19th in the Melbourne and Rome Olympic marathons, respectively.

John J. Kelley’s Boston Marathons

  • 1953 2:28:19 5th
  • 1954 2:28:51 7th
  • 1956 2:14:33 2nd
  • 1957 2:20:05 1st
  • 1958 2:30:51 2nd
  • 1959 2:23:43 2nd
  • 1960 DNF
  • 1961 2:23:54 2nd
  • 1962 2:28:37 4th
  • 1963 2:21:09 2nd
  • 1964 2:27:23 7th
  • 1965 2:25:23 14th
  • 1967 2:25:25 12th
  • 1968 2:37:03 15th
  • 1969 2:31:36 22nd
  • 1970 2:36:50 63rd
  • 1971 2:44:10 96th
  • 1972 2:40:05 79th
  • 1973 2:41:13 66th
  • 1974 2:32:18 78th
  • 1975 2:34:11 169th
  • 1976 2:46:43 154th
  • 1977 2:46:26 353rd
  • 1980 2:55:45
  • 1982 2:55:50
  • 1983 2:55:30
  • 1984 2:58:35
  • 1986 3:01:40
  • 1987 3:08:46
  • 1988 3:28:53
  • 1989 3:46:50
  • 1992 4:07:32


Kelley is the only runner to ever win both the Boston Marathon and the Mount Washington Road Race,
which he won in 1961. He made the ascent in one hour and 8 minutes 54
seconds, nearly seven minutes faster than the winning times in the three
previous years the race had been held, 1936-1938.

Later years

After his career as a runner ended, he went on to a successful career as high school running coach. At Fitch High School in Groton, Connecticut, Kelley coached Amby Burfoot,
winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon. In addition to coaching, he found
work over the years as a newspaper columnist, free lance writer, cab
driver and running wear store co-owner.

Personal life

Kelley married Jacinta C. Braga in 1953, and together they had three children, Julia, Kathleen, and Eileen.

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George C. Axtell, American military officer, United States Marine Corps lieutenant-general, died he was 90.

Lieutenant General George C. Axtell was a United States Marine Corps lieutenant general, a World War II ace, and Navy Cross recipient for heroism during the Battle of Okinawa died he was 90.. During World War II, he was also the youngest commanding officer of a Marine Fighter Squadron.[2]


(November 29, 1920 – August 20, 2011)

Axtell was born in the Pittsburgh suburb of Ambridge, Pennsylvania on 29 November 1920 and graduated from high school there in 1938. He attended the University of Alabama
before enlisting in the Marine Corps in July 1940 as a Marine Aviation
Cadet. He held a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Arts degree
(Comptroller) from George Washington University.
Axtell was assigned to flight school and was commissioned as a second lieutenant and designated a Naval Aviator in May 1941. From May until December 1941, he was an instructor at Naval Air Station Pensacola, and then was transferred to the U.S. Naval Academy‘s
Postgraduate School where he studied meteorological engineering,
graduating in March 1943. He was promoted to first lieutenant in June
1942, and to captain in August 1942.
Promoted to major in May 1943, Axtell saw duty from that July until June 1945, as Commanding Officer, Marine Fighter Squadron 323 (VMF-323), from the date of its formation at Cherry Point, North Carolina, and then throughout the Okinawa campaign.
During the Okinawa campaign, VMF-323 scored 124 enemy planes. Following
the Okinawa campaign, he was assigned as the Commanding Officer, Marine
Carrier Air Group-16, operating from the USS Badoeng Strait. Following the deactivation of MCVG-16 in March 1946, he served as Commanding Officer, VMF-452 until the following January.
Axtell completed the Junior Course at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Virginia, early in 1947, and began his first tour of duty at Headquarters Marine Corps as Naval Aviator Detail Officer, followed by a two-year tour with the Judge Advocate General‘s Office. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in January 1951.
In 1952, Axtell was ordered to Korea where he took part in combat with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing as Tactical Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 12, and later, as Commanding Officer of Marine Attack Squadron 312. He served next with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Cherry Point, North Carolina, as Assistant to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, for a year, then as Commanding Officer, Marine Air Control Group 1.
In 1955, Axtell reported to Headquarters Marine Corps for four years’
duty as Assistant Head of Aviation Training and Distribution Branch, and
Head of Program Planning, Division of Aviation. He was promoted to
colonel in July 1959.
From 1959 until 1960, Axtell served in Japan as 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Legal Officer and, later, as Commanding Officer, MAG-12.
Returning to MCAS, Cherry Point, for a three-year period, he was
initially assigned as 2nd Wing Legal Officer and then reassigned as
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3.
After completing the National War College, Washington, D.C., in June 1964, Axtell was assigned as Chief of Staff, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific. Ordered to the Far East in September 1965, he served as Chief of Staff, III Marine Amphibious Force, and was awarded his first Legion of Merit with Combat “V,” for service in this capacity.

During March 1966, he organized and commanded the Force Logistics Command, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, located in the Republic of Vietnam. A second Legion of Merit with Combat “V” was awarded him for exceptionally meritorious conduct during this assignment.
Upon his return to the United States in December 1966, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, and assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps.
For his service as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, from December 1966
until June 1970, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of his third Legion
of Merit. He was promoted to major general on 7 August 1969.
From late June 1970 to March 1972, he served as Commanding General, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Cherry Point, North Carolina.
On 10 March 1972, it was announced that President Nixon
had nominated Axtell for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general
and assignment as the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic,
in Norfolk, Virginia. He was advanced to three-star rank on 1 April 1972. He received the Distinguished Service Medal upon his retirement on 1 September 1974.

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3 people got busted on December 6, 2011

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3 people got busted on December 5, 2011

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4 people got busted on December 4, 2011

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1 person got busted on December 3, 2011

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1 person got busted on December 2, 2011

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Who is James Gordon Brown?

Who is James Gordon Brown? The political world knows him as Gordon Brown, he is known as an English politician, is a British Labour Party politician, who has been a Member of Parliament (MP) since 1983, currently for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. He served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 until 2010. Brown became Prime Minister in June 2007, after the resignation of Tony Blair and three days after becoming leader of the governing Labour Party. Immediately before this, he had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour Government from 1997 to 2007. His tenure ended in May 2010, when he resigned as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Brown was one of only three people to serve in the Cabinet continuously from Labour’s victory in 1997 until its defeat in 2010, the others being Jack Straw and Alistair Darling.
Brown has a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh and spent his early career working as a lecturer at a further education college and a television journalist.[3][4] He has been a Member of Parliament since 1983; first for Dunfermline East and since 2005 for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.[5][6] As Prime Minister, he also held the offices of First Lord of the Treasury and the Minister for the Civil Service.
Brown’s time as Chancellor was marked by major reform of Britain’s monetary and fiscal policy architecture, transferring interest rate setting powers to the Bank of England, by a wide extension of the powers of the Treasury to cover much domestic policy and by transferring responsibility for banking supervision to the Financial Services Authority.[7] Controversial moves included the abolition of advance corporation tax (ACT) relief in his first budget,[8][9] and the removal in his final budget of the 10% “starting rate” of personal income tax which he had introduced in 1999.[10]
After initial rises in opinion polls following Brown’s selection as leader, Labour performed poorly in local and European election results in 2009.[11][12][13] A year later, Labour lost 91 seats in the House of Commons at the 2010 general election, the party’s biggest loss of seats in a single general election since 1931,[14] giving the Conservative Party a plurality and resulting in a hung parliament.[15][16] On 10 May 2010, Brown announced he would stand down as leader of the Labour Party, and instructed the party to put into motion the processes to elect a new leader.[17] On 11 May 2010, Brown officially resigned as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. He was succeeded as Prime Minister by David Cameron,[18] and on 25 September 2010, he was succeeded as Leader of the Labour Party by Ed Miliband.

Early life and career before Parliament

Gordon Brown was born February 20, 1951 at the Orchard Maternity Nursing Home in Giffnock, Renfrewshire, Scotland.[19][20] His father was John Ebenezer Brown, a minister of the Church of Scotland and a strong influence on Brown. He died in December 1998, aged 84.[21] His mother Jessie Elizabeth Souter, known as Bunty, died on 19 September 2004, aged 86.[22] She was the daughter of John Souter, a timber merchant.[23] Brown was brought up with his elder brother John and younger brother Andrew Brown[22] in a manse in Kirkcaldy — the largest town in Fife, Scotland across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh.[24] In common with many other notable Scots, he is therefore often referred to as a “son of the manse”.[25]
Brown was educated first at Kirkcaldy West Primary School where he was selected for an experimental fast stream education programme, which took him two years early to Kirkcaldy High School for an academic hothouse education taught in separate classes.[26] At age 16 he wrote that he loathed and resented this “ludicrous” experiment on young lives.[27]
He was accepted by the University of Edinburgh to study history at the same early age of 16. During an end-of-term rugby union match at his old school he received a kick to the head and suffered a retinal detachment. This left him blind in his left eye, despite treatment including several operations and weeks spent lying in a darkened room. Later at Edinburgh, while playing tennis, he noticed the same symptoms in his right eye. Brown underwent experimental surgery at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and his eye was saved.[28] Brown graduated from Edinburgh with First Class Honours MA in History in 1972, and stayed on to complete his PhD in History (which he gained ten years later in 1982), titled The Labour Party and Political Change in Scotland 1918–29.[29][30] In 1972, while still a student, Brown was elected Rector of the University of Edinburgh, the convener of the University Court.[31] He served as Rector until 1975, and also edited the document The Red Paper on Scotland.[32]
From 1976 to 1980 Brown was employed as a lecturer in Politics at Glasgow College of Technology. In the 1979 general election, he stood for the Edinburgh South constituency, losing to the Conservative candidate, Michael Ancram.[29] From 1980 he worked as a journalist at Scottish Television, later serving as current affairs editor until his election to parliament in 1983.[33] He also worked as a tutor for the Open University.[34]

Election to parliament and opposition

Gordon Brown was elected to Parliament on his second attempt as a Labour MP for Dunfermline East in 1983 general election. His first Westminster office mate was a newly elected MP from the Sedgefield constituency by the name of Tony Blair. Brown became opposition spokesman on Trade and Industry in 1985. In 1986, he published a biography of the Independent Labour Party politician James Maxton, the subject of his PhD thesis. Brown was Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1987 to 1989 and then Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, before becoming Shadow Chancellor in 1992.[3][29] Having led the Labour Movement Yes campaign, refusing to join the cross-party Yes for Scotland campaign, during the 1979 Scottish devolution referendum, while other senior Labour politicians — including Robin Cook, Tam Dalyell and Brian Wilson – campaigned for a No vote, Brown was subsequently a key participant in the Scottish Constitutional Convention, signing the Claim of Right for Scotland in 1989.[35]
After the sudden death of Labour leader John Smith in May 1994, Brown did not contest the leadership after Tony Blair became favourite. It has long been rumoured a deal was struck between Blair and Brown at the former Granita restaurant in Islington, in which Blair promised to give Brown control of economic policy in return for Brown not standing against him in the leadership election.[36][37] Whether this is true or not, the relationship between Blair and Brown has been central to the fortunes of “New Labour“, and they have mostly remained united in public, despite reported serious private rifts.[38]
As Shadow Chancellor, Brown as Chancellor-in-waiting was seen as a good choice by business and the middle class. While he was Chancellor inflation sometimes exceeded the 2% target causing the Governor of the Bank of England to write several letters to the Chancellor, each time inflation exceeded three per cent.[39][40] In 2005 following a reorganisation of parliamentary constituencies in Scotland, Brown became MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath at the general election.[41]

Chancellor of the Exchequer

In the 1997 general election, Labour defeated the Conservatives by a landslide to end their 18-year exile from government on when Tony Blair, the new prime minister, announced his ministerial team on 2 May 1997, he appointed Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He would remain in this role for 10 years and two months, making him the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history.[28] The Prime Minister’s website highlights some achievements from Brown’s decade as Chancellor: making the Bank of England independent and delivering an agreement on poverty and climate change at the G8 summit in 2005.[29]

Early economic reforms

On taking office as Chancellor of the Exchequer Brown gave the Bank of England operational independence in monetary policy, and thus responsibility for setting interest rates through the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.[42] At the same time he also changed the inflation measure from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index and transferred responsibility for banking supervision to the Financial Services Authority.[43] Some commentators have argued that this division of responsibilities exacerbated the severity, in Britain, of 2007 global banking crisis.[44]

Taxation and spending

In the 1997 election and subsequently, Brown pledged to not increase the basic or higher rates of income tax. Over his Chancellorship, he reduced the basic rate from 23% to 20%. However, in all but his final budget, Brown increased the tax thresholds in line with inflation, rather than earnings, resulting in fiscal drag. Corporation tax fell under Brown, from a main rate of 33% to 28%, and from 24% to 19% for small businesses.[45] In 1999, he introduced a lower tax band of 10%. He abolished this 10% tax band in his last budget in 2007 to reduce the basic rate from 22% to 20%, increasing tax for 5 million people[46] and, according to the calculations of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, leaving those earning between £5,000 and £18,000 as the biggest losers.[47] According to the OECD UK taxation has increased from a 39.3% share of gross domestic product in 1997 to 42.4% in 2006, going to a higher level than Germany.[48] This increase has mainly been attributed to active government policy, and not simply to the growing economy. Conservatives have accused Brown of imposing “stealth taxes“. A commonly reported example resulted in 1997 from a technical change in the way corporation tax is collected, the indirect effect of which was for the dividends on stock investments held within pensions to be taxed, thus lowering pension returns and contributing to the demise of most of the final salary pension funds in the UK.[49] The Treasury contends that this tax change was crucial to long-term economic growth.
Brown’s 2000 Spending Review outlined a major expansion of government spending, particularly on health and education. In his April 2002 budget, Brown increased national insurance to pay for health spending. He also introduced working tax credits.[50][51]

European single currency

In October 1997, Brown took control of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European single currency issue by announcing the Treasury would set five economic tests[52] to ascertain whether the economic case had been made. In June 2003 the Treasury indicated the tests had not been passed.[53]

Other issues

Lord Jenkins

In 2000, Brown was accused of starting a political row about higher education (referred to as the Laura Spence Affair) when he accused the University of Oxford of elitism in its admissions procedures, describing its decision not to offer a place to state school pupil Laura Spence as “absolutely outrageous”.[54] Lord Jenkins, then Oxford Chancellor and himself a former Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, said “nearly every fact he used was false.”[55]
Between 1999 and 2002 Brown sold 60% of the UK’s gold reserves shortly before gold entered a protracted bull market, since nicknamed by dealers as Brown Bottom.[56][57][58] The official reason for selling the gold reserves was to reduce the portfolio risk of the UK’s reserves by diversifying away from gold.[59] The UK eventually sold about 395 tons of gold over 17 auctions from July 1999 to March 2002, at an average price of about US$275 per ounce, raising approximately US$3.5 billion.[60] By 2011, that quantity of gold would be worth over $19 billion, leading to Brown’s decision to sell the gold being widely criticised.[61]
During his time as Chancellor, Brown was reported to believe that it is appropriate to remove much of the unpayable Third World debt, but does not think that all debt should be erased.[62] On 20 April 2006, in a speech to the United Nations Ambassadors, Brown outlined a “Green” view of global development.[63]

Run-up to succeeding Tony Blair

Tony Blair

In October 2004, Tony Blair announced he would not lead the party into a fourth general election, but would serve a full third term.[64] Political comment over the relationship between Brown and Blair continued up to and beyond the 2005 election, which Labour won with a reduced parliamentary majority and reduced vote share. Blair announced on 7 September 2006 that he would step down within a year.[65] Brown was the clear favourite to succeed Blair; he was the only candidate spoken of seriously in Westminster. Appearances and news coverage leading up to the handover were interpreted as preparing the ground for Brown to become Prime Minister, in part by creating the impression of a statesman with a vision for leadership and global change. This enabled Brown to signal the most significant priorities for his agenda as Prime Minister; speaking at a Fabian Society conference on ‘The Next Decade’ in January 2007, he stressed education, international development, narrowing inequalities (to pursue ‘equality of opportunity and fairness of outcome’), renewing Britishness, restoring trust in politics, and winning hearts and minds in the war on terror as key priorities.[66]

Prime Minister

Brown ceased to be Chancellor and became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 27 June 2007.[5] Like all modern Prime Ministers, Brown concurrently served as the First Lord of the Treasury and the Minister for the Civil Service, and was a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. Until his resignation from the post in May 2010 he was Leader of the Labour Party. He is Member of Parliament for the constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. He is the sixth post-war prime minister, of a total of 12, to assume the role without having won a general election.[67] Brown was the first prime minister from a Scottish constituency since the Conservative Sir Alec Douglas-Home in 1964. Not all British prime ministers have attended university, but of the ones that did Brown was one of only five that did not attend either Oxford or Cambridge, the others were, the Earl of Bute (Leiden), Lord John Russell (Edinburgh), Andrew Bonar Law (University of Glasgow), and Neville Chamberlain (Mason Science College, later Birmingham).[68] Brown proposed moving some traditional prime ministerial powers conferred by royal prerogative to the realm of Parliament, such as the power to declare war and approve appointments to senior positions. Brown wanted Parliament to gain the right to ratify treaties and have more oversight into the intelligence services. He also proposed moving some powers from Parliament to citizens, including the right to form “citizens’ juries”, easily petition Parliament for new laws, and rally outside Westminster. He asserted that the attorney general should not have the right to decide whether to prosecute in individual cases, such as in the loans for peerages scandal.[69]

During his Labour leadership campaign Brown proposed some policy initiatives which he called ‘The manifesto for change.’[70][71] The manifesto included a clampdown on corruption and a new Ministerial Code, which set out clear standards of behaviour for ministers.[72] Brown also stated in a speech when announcing his bid that he wants a “better constitution” that is “clear about the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen in Britain today”. He planned to set up an all-party convention to look at new powers for Parliament and to look at rebalancing powers between Whitehall and local government. Brown said he would give Parliament the final say on whether British troops are sent into action in future. Brown said he wanted to release more land and ease access to ownership with shared equity schemes. He backed a proposal to build new eco-towns, each housing between 10,000 and 20,000 home-owners — up to 100,000 new homes in total. Brown also said he wanted to have doctors’ surgeries open at the weekends, and GPs on call in the evenings. Doctors were given the right of opting out of out-of-hours care in 2007, under a controversial pay deal, signed by then-Health Secretary John Reid, which awarded them a 22% pay rise in 2006. Brown also stated in the manifesto that the NHS was his top priority. There was speculation during September and early October 2007 about whether Brown would call a snap general election. Brown announced that there would be no election in the near future and seemed to rule out an election in 2008. His political opponents accused him of being indecisive, which Brown denied.[73] In July 2008 Brown supported a new bill extending this pre-charge detention period to 42 days. The bill was met with opposition on both sides of the House and backbench rebellion. In the end the bill passed by just 9 votes.[74][75] The House of Lords defeated the bill, with Lords characterising it as “fatally flawed, ill thought through and unnecessary”, stating that “it seeks to further erode fundamental legal and civil rights”.[76]
Brown was mentioned by the press in the expenses crisis for claiming for the payment of his cleaner. However, no wrongdoing was found and the Commons Authority did not pursue Brown over the claim. Meanwhile, the Commons Fees Office stated that a double payment for a £153 plumbing repair bill was a mistake on their part and that Brown had repaid it in full.[77][78]

Foreign policy

Brown in Iraq

Brown was committed to the Iraq War, but said in a speech in June 2007 that he would “learn the lessons” from the mistakes made in Iraq.[79] Brown said in a letter published on 17 March 2008 that the United Kingdom will hold an inquiry into the Iraq war.[80] He is also a member of the lobby group, Labour Friends of Israel.[81][82][83]
Brown has gone to great lengths to empathise with those who lost family members in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. He has often said “War is tragic”, echoing Blair’s memorable quote that “War is horrible”.[84] Nonetheless, in November 2007 Brown was accused by some senior military figures of not adhering to the ‘military covenant‘, a convention within British politics stating that in exchange for them putting their lives at risk for the sake of national security, the armed forces should in turn be suitably looked after by the government.[85]
Brown skipped the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics, on 8 August 2008 in Beijing. He attended the closing ceremony instead, on 24 August 2008. Brown had been under intense pressure from human rights campaigners to send a message to China, concerning the 2008 Tibetan unrest. His decision not to attend the opening ceremony was not an act of protest, rather made several weeks in advance and not intended as a stand on principle.[86]

In a speech in July 2007, Brown personally clarified his position regarding Britain’s relationship with the USA[87] “We will not allow people to separate us from the United States of America in dealing with the common challenges that we face around the world. I think people have got to remember that the relationship between Britain and America and between a British prime minister and an American president is built on the things that we share, the same enduring values about the importance of liberty, opportunity, the dignity of the individual. I will continue to work, as Tony Blair did, very closely with the American administration.”
Brown and the Labour party had pledged to allow a referendum on the EU Treaty of Lisbon. On the morning of 13 December 2007, Foreign Secretary David Miliband attended for the Prime Minister at the official signing ceremony in Lisbon of the EU Reform Treaty. Brown’s opponents on both sides of the House, and in the press, suggested that ratification by Parliament was not enough and that a referendum should also be held. Labour’s 2005 manifesto had pledged to give British public a referendum on the original EU Constitution.[88][89] Brown argued that the Treaty significantly differed from the Constitution, and as such did not require a referendum. He also responded with plans for a lengthy debate on the topic, and stated that he believed the document to be too complex to be decided by referendum.[90]

Drug policy

During Brown’s premiership, in October 2008, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) recommended to the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that cannabis remain classified as a Class C drug.[91] Acting against the advice of the Council, she chose to reclassify it as class B.[91] After Professor David Nutt, the chair of the ACMD, criticised this move in a lecture in 2009, he was asked to step down by the current Home Secretary Alan Johnson.[92] Following his resignation, Professor Nutt said Gordon Brown had “made up his mind” to reclassify cannabis despite evidence to the contrary.[93] Gordon Brown had argued, “I don’t think that the previous studies took into account that so much of the cannabis on the streets is now of a lethal quality and we really have got to send out a message to young people – this is not acceptable”.[94][95] Professor Nutts predecessor at the ACMD, Sir Michael Rawlins, later said, “Governments may well have good reasons for taking an alternative view… When that happens, then the government should explain why it’s ignoring the particular advice”.[96]

Global recession

Brown’s premiership coincided with the global recession, during which Brown called for fiscal action in an attempt to stimulate aggregate demand. Domestically, Brown’s administration introduced measures including a bank rescue package worth around £500 billion (approximately $850 billion), a temporary 2.5% cut in Value Added Tax (Sales Tax)[97] and a “car scrappage” scheme.[98]

Plots against leadership

Siobhain McDonagh, one of the first to fired during the Lacashire Plot

In mid-2008, Brown’s leadership was presented with a challenge as some MPs openly called for him to resign. This event was dubbed the ‘Lancashire Plot’, as two backbenchers from (pre-1974) Lancashire urged him to step down and a third questioned his chances of holding on to the Labour Party leadership. Several MPs argued that if Brown did not recover in the polls by early 2009, he should call for a leadership contest. However, certain prominent MPs, such as Jacqui Smith and Bill Rammell, suggested that Brown was the right person to lead Britain through its economic crisis.[99] In the Autumn, Siobhain McDonagh, a MP and junior government whip, who during her time in office had never voted against the government,[100] spoke of the need for discussion over Brown’s position. McDonagh was sacked from her role shortly afterwards, on 12 September. Whilst McDonagh did not state that she wanted Brown deposed, she implored the Labour party to hold a leadership election, she was sacked from her role shortly afterwards.[101] McDonagh was supported by Joan Ryan (who applied, as McDonagh had, for leadership nomination papers, and became the second rebel to be fired from her job), Jim Dowd, Greg Pope, and a string of others who had previously held positions in government, made clear their desire for a contest.[102] In the face of this speculation over Brown’s future, his ministers backed him to lead the party, and Harriet Harman and David Miliband denied that they were preparing leadership bids. After Labour lost the Glasgow East by-election in July, Harman, the deputy leader of the party, said that Brown was the “solution”, not the “problem”; Home Secretary Smith, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Cabinet Office Minister Ed Miliband all re-affirmed their support for Brown.[103] The deputy Prime Minister under Blair, John Prescott, also pledged his support.[104] Foreign Secretary David Miliband then denied that he was plotting a leadership bid, when on 30 July, an article written by him in The Guardian was interpreted by a large number in the media as an attempt to undermine Brown. In the article, Miliband outlined the party’s future, but neglected to mention the Prime Minister. Miliband, responded to this by saying that he was confident Brown could lead Labour to victory in the next general election, and that his article was an attack against the fatalism in the party since the loss of Glasgow-East.[105] Miliband continued to show his support for Brown in the face of the challenge that emerged in September, as did Business Secretary John Hutton, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, and Chief Whip Geoff Hoon.[106]
On 6 January 2010, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon jointly called for a secret ballot on the future of Brown’s leadership.[107] The call received little support and the following day Hoon said that it appeared to have failed and was “over”. Brown later referred to the call for a secret ballot as a “form of silliness”.[108]

By-elections and 2009 local and European elections

In the local elections on 1 May 2008, Labour suffered their worst results in 40 years finishing in third place with a projected 24% share of the national vote.[109] Subsequently the party has seen the loss of by-elections in Nantwich and Crewe and Henley as well as slumps in the polls. A by-election in Glasgow East triggered by the resignation of David Marshall saw the Labour party struggle to appoint a candidate, eventually settling for Margaret Curran, a sitting MSP in the Scottish Parliament. The SNP, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have all derided the party for their disorganised nature with Alex Salmond commenting “This is their ‘lost weekend’ – they don’t have a leader in Scotland, they don’t have a candidate in Glasgow East, and they have a prime minister who refuses to come to the constituency”.[110] Labour lost the constituency to the Scottish National Party‘s John Mason who took 11,277 votes with Labour just 365 behind. The seat experienced a swing of 22.54%.[111]

In the European elections, Labour polled 16% of the vote, finishing in third place behind the Conservatives and United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).[112] Voter apathy was reflected in the historically low turnout of around thirty three percent. In Scotland voter turnout was only twenty eight per cent. In the local elections, Labour polled 23% of the vote, finishing in third place behind Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, with Labour losing control of the four councils it had held prior to the election.[113] In a vote widely considered to be a reaction to the expenses scandal, the share of the votes was down for all the major parties; Labour was down one percent, the Conservative share was down five percent. The beneficiary of the public backlash was generally seen to be the minor parties, including the Green Party and UKIP. These results were Labour’s worst since World War II. Gordon Brown was quoted in the press as having said that the results were “a painful defeat for Labour”, and that “too many good people doing so much good for their communities and their constituencies have lost through no fault of their own.”[12][114]

General election 2010

In April 2010, Brown asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament and call new elections, which included the first televised leadership debates in British History. The result of the election was a hung parliament, laying the foundations for the first full coalition government since 1974 and only the second since the Grand Coalition during World War II that sat for almost 8 years.
Brown was re-elected to serve as MP for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath constituency on 6 May 2010 with 29,559 votes representing 64.5% of votes.[15]


David Cameron

Brown announced on 10 May 2010 that he would stand down as Labour Leader, with a view to a successor being chosen before the next Labour Party Conference in September 2010.[17] The following day, negotiations between the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government failed. During the evening, Brown visited Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation as Prime Minister to Queen Elizabeth II and to recommend that she invite the Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron, to form a government. He resigned as leader of the Labour Party with immediate effect.[18]

After being Prime Minister

Return to the backbenches

On 13 May 2010, in his first public appearance since leaving 10 Downing Street, two days after resigning as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party, Brown confirmed he intended to stay on in Parliament, serving as a Labour Backbencher, in order to serve the people of his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency.[115]

World Wide Web Foundation

Sir Tim Berners-Lee worked with the UK government during Brown’s premiership to publish government data as freely as possible on the internet in the data.gov.uk project. Berners-Lee subsequently invited Brown to become a board director of the World Wide Web Foundation to “advise the Web Foundation on ways to involve disadvantaged communities and global leaders in the development of sustainable programs that connect humanity and affect positive change”.[116]

World Economic Forum role

On 22 April 2011 it was announced that Brown would be taking on an unpaid advisory role at the World Economic Forum.[117]

IMF speculation 2011

In April 2011, press reports linked Brown with the role as the next Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund following the scheduled retirement of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. These reports received mixed reception, Ed Miliband, who succeeded Brown as the Labour Leader, backed Brown for the role as his handling of the global economic crisis three years earlier had been “outstanding.” However, Brown’s successor as Prime Minister, David Cameron, spoke of the possibility that he would block Brown from taking the position, as Brown “didn’t know” that the country was deep in debt during his leadership and that for this reason Brown might not be the best person to run the International Monetary Fund.[118] Following the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn for alleged sexual assault in May 2011, and his subsequent resignation, these reports surfaced yet again as finding a replacement became instantly necessary.[119] Prominent economist and former President of the World Bank Sir James Wolfensohn said that Brown would be an “excellent choice” to take over the position.[120]

Other positions

Brown was appointed as the inaugural ‘Distinguished Leader in Residence’ by New York University and has already taken part in discussions and lectures relating to the global financial crisis and globalization.

Depictions in popular culture

In keeping with its tradition of having a comic strip for every Prime Minister Private Eye featured a comic strip, The Broonites (a parody of The Broons), parodying Brown’s government. Private Eye also had a column titled Prime Ministerial Decree,[121] a parody of statements that would be issued by Communist governments in the former Eastern Bloc.[122]
Brown was depicted in Season 13 of South Park when world leaders plot to steal money from aliens in order to deal with the global recession, in the episode “Pinewood Derby“.[123] He also makes an appearance in the first issue of Marvel ComicsCaptain Britain and MI: 13, overseeing Britain’s response to the Skrull invasion of Earth.[124]

Personal life and family

Gordon Brown and Sarah Macaulay

Brown’s early girlfriends included the journalist Sheena McDonald and Princess Margarita, the eldest daughter of exiled King Michael of Romania.[3] At the age of 49, Brown married Sarah Macaulay in a private ceremony at his home in North Queensferry, Fife, on 3 August 2000.[125] On 28 December 2001 a daughter, Jennifer Jane, was born prematurely and died on 7 January 2002 one day after suffering a brain haemorrhage.[126] They currently have two children, John Macaulay[127] and James Fraser. In November 2006, James Fraser was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.[128]
Gordon Brown commented at the time that their recent experiences had changed him and his wife. Sarah Brown rarely makes official appearances either with or without her husband. She is inevitably much sought after to give interviews.[129] She is, however, patron of several charities and has written articles for national newspapers related to this.[130] At the 2008 Labour Party Conference, Sarah caused surprise by taking to the stage to introduce her husband for his keynote address.[131] Since then her public profile has increased.[132]
Gordon Brown has two brothers, John Brown and Andrew Brown. Andrew has been Head of Media Relations in the UK for the French-owned utility company EDF Energy since 2004.[133] Gordon Brown is also the brother-in-law of environmental journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown. Gordon wrote a piece for The Independent, supporting Clare’s current environmental efforts on behalf of Sarawak.[134]
Whilst PM Brown spent some of his spare time at Chequers, the house often being filled with friends. The Browns have entertained local dignitaries like Sir Leonard Figg.[135] Brown is also a friend of Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, who says of Brown “I know him as affable, funny and gregarious, a great listener, a kind and loyal friend.”[136]


The son of a Church of Scotland minister, Brown has talked about what he called his “moral compass[137] and to his parents being his “inspiration”.[138] He is seemingly keen to keep his religion a private matter.[139] According to the Guardian, he is a member of the Church of Scotland.[140]
In April 2009, Brown gave what was the first ever speech by a serving Prime Minister at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. He referred to a ‘single powerful modern sense demanding responsibility from all and fairness to all’. He also talked about the Christian doctrine of ‘do to others what you would have them do unto you’, which he compared to similar principles in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. He went on, ‘They each and all reflect a sense that we share the pain of others, and a sense that we believe in something bigger than ourselves—that we cannot be truly content while others face despair, cannot be completely at ease while others live in fear, cannot be satisfied while others are in sorrow”, and continued, “We all feel, regardless of the source of our philosophy, the same deep moral sense that each of us is our brother and sisters’ keeper… We cannot and will not pass by on the other side when people are suffering and when we have it within our power to help.’[141]


Brown first thought of himself as being ‘Labour’ and his sense of social injustice was roused when he accompanied his father on visits around Kirkcaldy seeing the pain of unemployment and the misery of poverty and squalor as the mining and textile industries collapsed. Growing up he discovered Tawney, Tressell, Cole and other socialist texts which inspired him. He also found inspiration in Blake in poetry, Potter in drama, Lawrence in literature and the socialist leader James Maxton in Scottish history. These, he argues, fuelled his passion and activism, reinforcing his own political experience. For Brown the ethical basis of British socialism has several themes: the view that individuals are not primarily self-centered but are co-operative, that people are more likely to thrive in communities in which they play a full role and that people have talents and potential that the free market will not allow them to fully realise. In addition, one of the most enduring of Brown’s themes is the commitment to equality.[142][143]

Titles, honours, and awards


  • Mr James Gordon Brown (1951–1982)
  • Dr James Gordon Brown (1982–1983)[3]
  • Dr James Gordon Brown MP (1983–1996)[144]
  • The Rt Hon. Dr James Gordon Brown MP (1996–present)[145][146]


In March 2009 Brown was named World Statesman of the Year by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an American organisation dedicated to promoting peace, human rights and understanding between religious faiths. The award was presented by Rabbi Arthur Schneier who praised Brown’s “compassionate leadership in dealing with the challenging issues facing humanity, his commitment to freedom, human dignity and the environment, and for the major role he has played in helping to stabilize the world’s financial system”.[147][148][149]




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Badiyi Iranian-American film director died he was 81

Reza Sayed Badiyi  was an Iranian-American film director. Badiyi was well known for directing episodes of many popular (and quite distinct) television series. His credits also include developing the memorable opening montages (title visualization) for Hawaii Five-O, Get Smart, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

(April 17, 1930 – August 20, 2011)

Early life and education

Badiyi was born April 17, 1930, in Arak, Iran. His parents were from Isfahan. He graduated from the Academy of Drama in Iran. He moved to the United States in 1955. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in film making.


After Syracuse University Badiyi often worked with Robert Altman.
Badiyi was assistant director on the low-budget 1957 film “The
Delinquents,” which marked Altman’s feature film debut as a director.
Early in his career, he directed episodes of Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, The Incredible Hulk, Mannix, The Six Million Dollar Man, Starsky and Hutch, The Rockford Files and Police Squad!.
He also directed the definitive “fashion show” sequence of the third
season of the popular “Doris Day Show”. There were lowlights, as well,
including directing the unsold pilot for “Inside O.U.T.”, starring
Farrah Fawcett and a chimp for Colombia/Screen Gems in 1971.
In the 1980s and 1990s, he directed episodes of Falcon Crest, Cagney and Lacey, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the episode “Out of Mind, Out of Sight“), Le Femme Nikita, Sliders and Baywatch.


On October 2008, Badiyi received the Lifetime Achievement Award (Persian Golden Lioness) in dramatic arts from The World Academy of Arts Literature and Media – WAALM
On May 2010, Badiyi was honored at UCLA for his 80th birthday and his 60th year in the entertainment industry.

Personal life

Badiyi was once married to actress and writer Barbara Turner and was thus for a time the stepfather of actress Jennifer Jason Leigh. He was the father of Mina Badie.

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Ross Barbour, American singer, last founding member of The Four Freshmen, died from lung cancer he was 82.

Ross Edwin “Ross” Barbour was an American singer with the vocal quartet The Four Freshmen died from lung cancer he was 82..

(December 31, 1928 – August 20, 2011) 

The Four Freshmen originated in early 1948 when brothers Ross and Don
Barbour, then at Butler University’s Arthur Jordan Conservatory in
Indianapolis, Indiana, formed a barbershop quartet called Hal’s
Harmonizers. The Harmonizers also included Marvin Pruitt — soon replaced
by Ross and Don’s cousin Bob Flanigan
— and Hal Kratzsch (1925–70), replaced in 1953 by Ken Errair. The
quartet soon adopted a more jazz-oriented repertoire and renamed itself
the Toppers. At first, they were influenced by Glenn Miller‘s The Modernaires and Mel Tormé‘s
Mel-Tones, but soon developed their own style of improvised vocal
harmony. In September 1948, the quartet went on the road as The Four
Freshmen, and soon drew the admiration of jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman.
In 1950, The Four Freshmen got a break when band leader Stan Kenton heard the quartet in Dayton, Ohio, and arranged for an audition with his label, Capitol Records,
which signed The Four later that year. In 1952, they released their
first hit single “It’s a Blue World”. Further hits included “Mood
Indigo” in 1954, “Day by Day” in 1955, and “Graduation Day” in 1956.
Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, The Four Freshmen released a
number of recordings, made film and television appearances, and
performed in concert. The group eventually lost their mainstream
following with the advent of the British pop bands of the 1960s. After
Barbour’s retirement in 1977, the Freshmen continued under the
management of Flanigan, who kept the rights to The Four Freshmen name.
Flanigan died on May 15, 2011 at the age of 84.
Barbour died of cancer on August 20, 2011, aged 82.[1]

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