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Fighting a different war

Nick Robinson | 15:06 UK time, Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Politics isn't always the subtlest of trades. The backdrop for Gordon Brown's speech on terror today was the Union Jack with the slogan - "The strength to protect Britain". I wonder whether he might just be trying to tell us something?

The speech itself - and an interview I did afterwards with the chancellor - gave an intriguing insight into how the war on terror would be fought differently if Brown, and not Blair, were prime minister. The chancellor sounds like a man who would dearly love to distance himself from the language of "the war on terror" - which many believe gives al-Qaeda exactly the status they crave.

To do so would, though, be incendiary. Instead, he stresses that, "it is right to tackle not just terrorism but the roots of terrorism" so as to, "extinguish the heat that ignites the extremists' fire". If you can hear the echoes of that famous line of Tony Blair's - tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime - it's worth remembering that it was Brown and not Blair that dreamt the line up.

What does this call for a cultural war on terror mean? It is a call for a campaign across society as a whole to defeat support for terrorist ideology. Brown draws a deliberate parallel with the battle to win hearts and minds in the Cold War. His announcement of funding for a new BBC Farsi service for Iran was presented in this light - by him, I must stress, and not the BBC. It is also a call to see poverty relief in Africa and the Middle East and a search for a solution of the Arab/Israeli conflict as vital parts of what he calls a "generation-long struggle of hearts and minds".

His views on Jack Straw's call for women to shed their veils are fascinating too - but you'll have to wait for those…

UPDATE 06:06 PM - Gordon Brown has become the most senior minister to date not merely to welcome the debate Jack Straw began (on Muslim women wearing the veil), but to agree that it would be better if they didn't.

In my interview with the chancellor (which you can now watch by clicking here), I asked him whether "you would prefer, you would think it better for Britain if fewer people wore veils". He replied: "That's what Jack Straw has said and I support but I think the important thing is we have a proper debate on this".

He went on to say that the debate should focus on Britishness (a theme of a number of speeches he's made) including better teaching of the English language, citizenship and British history.


  • 1.
  • At 03:47 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • P Thomas wrote:

It's all very well Gordon Brown talking about the roots of terror but it's as hollow as New Labour's claim that it would be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".

Those of us old enough to remember Old Labour can recall that it was assumed that welfare would remove the causes of cime in society after the Second World War.

It did neither.

  • 2.
  • At 03:49 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Si Stuart wrote:

When did politicians become responsible for the way people think? In this country or abroad, access to accurate, unbiased information and the beliefs of those around you are the biggest influences on anyone's mindset. A move to bring BBC journalism to Iran is a wise one.

Beyond speaking the truth I'm not sure what any government, be it run by Brown, Blair or Cameron, can be expected to do to challenge Islamic terrorism. Families and the local community can influence young people, politicians cannot, and shouldn't be expected to. We elect them to run the affairs of our country, not to control the minds of our children.

  • 3.
  • At 04:02 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Shug wrote:

If this is a struggle for "hearts and minds", where diplomatic rhetoric will be the most potent weapon, does that mean we can pull the troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and replace them with politicians. I know a few I'd like to send.

  • 4.
  • At 04:04 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Pat Oddy wrote:

I don't think there is any support for 'terrorist ideology'in any part of the population - far less, for example, than there was support for a united Ireland, which the IRA were able to use in their own brand of terrorism. Blair and Bush seem very clear as to what the terrorists want - even before we know for sure who has committed a terrorist act - but then we all know what faith to put in Mr Blair's deeply-held convictions. Cameron has obviously realised that there is a strand within the Conservative Party who are not at all happy with our foreign policy, and it would be hugely to Brown's advantage if he could find some way of distancing himself from Blair. If only I could be sure he really wants to ...

This is all very well, but finance is not a major issue when it comes to the indigenous terrorist threat - I doubt the 7 July bombers needed additional financial support of the kind Gordon Brown is talking about. Even the 9/11 attacks - externally orchestrated - were only estimated to have cost USD400,000. It sounds a lot, but it's a drop in the ocean in terms of international money flows.

So, this gets a headline, but it doesn't make us much safer.

  • 6.
  • At 04:24 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • David wrote:

An expected counter to John Reid's well-received speech at Conference?

  • 7.
  • At 04:31 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Ann Keith wrote:

So- more of our hard-earned money to be wasted on Africa and the Middle East and we'll see more photos of the imperialist Brown grinning away surrounded by little black children, like some latter-day David Livingstone. More money than anyone can count has already been spent on Africa so why should we all be forced to dole out more, just to salve Brown's cheerless Presbyterian conscience and give him photo opportunities?
And as for the Middle East- it emcompasses some of the richest nations on earth. Why can't they do something to alleviate any poverty in the region instead of leaving it all to Westerners?

  • 8.
  • At 04:45 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Tim wrote:

Why is Brown pronouncing on anything other than the nations finances?

  • 9.
  • At 04:46 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Rob Welch wrote:

"The strength to protect Britain" on a Union Flag? Good grief! What next? Perhaps a small moustache and tasteful black shirt? Or a cry of "Two legs good..."? The Blair we need right now is Eric!

  • 10.
  • At 04:48 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Marek wrote:

As any impartial and intelligent person knows - it is the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis over the last forty years that is the true cause of moslem extremism against the West.

Why don't you just say it?

  • 11.
  • At 04:50 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Malcolm wrote:

I'll believe Brown will be "strong enough to defend Britain" when he starts to cough up enough money for purpose! He is the Chancellor who was happy to sit in cabinet and nod through the deployment of British troops at the whim of Tony Blair, not just to one theatre of intense operations, but two at the same time, never mind the earlier forays into Africa and the Balkans. A pity that he couldn't see his way to supplying them with enough body armour to go round. A pity he wouldn't pay to upgrade the Sea Harriers so that the fleet wasn't left without air-cover, despite the JSF replacement being 6 years (at least) away. A pity he still hasn't coughed up to lay the keels of the new aircraft carriers, slipping further and further behind schedule. A pity he won't pay to keep the military hospitals open for the wounded who get back alive. Gordon Brown has starved the services of cash since he took office, and I for one don't trust him to change that approach. Still, at least today we hear he will find the money to pay a bonus to troops on active service, in lieu of a tax break like everybody else working abroad. What a coincidental bit of timing!

As for his claim to the ludicrous soundbite, "tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime", given the abysmal record of the Home Office in recent years, and the ever worsening scandal with prisons and prisoners, he would do well to deny it was anything to do with him.

Some of us have shed blood for this country; Gordon Brown's contribution has just been the production of hot air.

Gary Elsby will be along in a minute again to tell me that I've got it all wrong again!

  • 12.
  • At 05:03 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Danny wrote:

I thought the speech was better than his Party Conference speech. He seemed more in command and less like some one hoping for approval.

And most of what he said was right. Terrorism can't be stopped only by countering terrorists. Britain has a wealth of 'soft power' through aid and institutions like the BBC. It should make better use of that.

  • 13.
  • At 05:03 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Andy wrote:
What does this call for a cultural war on terror mean? It is a call for a campaign across society as a whole to defeat support for terrorist ideology.

Really? I haven't heard the speech or interviewed him, of course, but to me that soundbite alone sounds more like a call for an end to foreign policy that leaves terrorists able to convince people that theirs is the only way left of being heard. You touch on this in a sidelong way later, in mentioning poverty relief, I guess.

Of course, I don't expect it would be sincere at all, but it's exactly the sort of reaching out to lefties one would expect from Brown about now, no?

I’m beginning to wonder are we seeing the slow revealing of a Brown/Straw campaign. Straws words on the veil last week seem to me to be pure political calculation. It was an attempt to stir things up so that people would recognise him over the over potential [deputy] candidates. Now we have Brown playing the stage albeit from another part of the spectrum, interesting times indeed.

What Reid (assuming the rumours he’s decided against running) and his possible running mate Johnson will do with regards to this ever broadening debate about security and citizenship will be telling…

  • 15.
  • At 05:09 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Bill C wrote:

Watched the speech in the gym. OK, so he's not prime minister yet and this was another attempt at making him look prime ministeral, but i thought he was actually rather good...

The backdrop for Gordon Brown's speech on terror today was the Union Jack...

Union FLAG, please.

  • 17.
  • At 05:14 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Matt Higgs wrote:

Although I am not 100% sure that Gordon Brown is the man to lead Britain after Blair I certainly agree with his take on the terrorist situation.

The best way to deal with those who stir up hatred and encourage people to wage the campaigns that destabilise these regions and is to remove their support at the lowest level, this means dealing with the issues of poverty throughout the world. If we can manage to provide the basics of life for these people in a sustainable manner (i.e. NOT refugee camps & handout centres) then the will to fight is if not removed severly diminished. The question then is how do we do this ? Well for a start the "developed" nations of the world could channel some of their ridiculuous defence budget spending into poverty irradication schemes in an attempt to encourage the next generation of "terrorists" to pick up farming equipment rather than guns. How many times do we need to repeat the same process before we learn that the cost of bombs is not only counted in the collaterol damage they cause but also in the waste of effort they represent - how are you going to win over a nation by dropping bombs on them ?

The ever present problem here is that there is no bigger business than warfare and until the UN identifies the problems within its own ranks (e.g. America, the UK and the other BIG arms producers) this problem will continue.

  • 18.
  • At 05:16 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Stuart Smith wrote:

Interesting, one of the few times I can remember a politician that far up the power structure say something that I could completely agree with.

I wonder though, at least for the first year or so with Bush still leading the US whether any real progress can be made, maybe when he is out of power there might be a possibility of starting some sort of reconciliation and restructuring but 8 years of Bush is likely to take many decades to recover from.

Why would admitting what everyone else knows (the language of "war on terrorism" just plays into the extremists hands) be incendiary? Please explain Nick

For me it would be both right and good politics for GB. It would put clear water between him and Tony, shore up his support in his own party and go some way to showing that he has principles and can talk plain English for a change.

  • 20.
  • At 06:30 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Em Lin' wrote:

Anyone who has ever lived under threat from organized polarities knows, from experience (and not armchairs!) that this is the ONLY way to proceed.

  • 21.
  • At 06:41 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Louise Shaw wrote:

I agree with Gordon Brown, the roots of terrorism are inequality. If we want a liberal utopia, the work starts now, not next week.

Fair play to him I say.

  • 22.
  • At 07:08 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • George Tippett wrote:

Union flag, Britishness. Is Mr Brown trying to get us to forget he's Scottish again? Or is this all just because the polls show he's losing ground in the country against Mr Cameron and in his own party as well? I believe we should be told!!!

  • 23.
  • At 07:15 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Mara wrote:

Marek wrote:

As any impartial and intelligent person knows - it is the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis over the last forty years that is the true cause of moslem extremism against the West.

You're oversimplifying.

The victors of the second world war has a problem, which was that Europeans had slaughtered jewish people. There solution was to create a country over-there. They used their position as imperial powers to do this by right of might (the British Empire in particular as the local colonial power).

This created a small country determined to preserve itself, surrounded by other countries who saw this upstart steal their potential territory.

Then the imperial forces sat back to watch the fun.

That's what's led to both the behaviour of the Israelis and of their neighbours. Whether we can do anything about it now is an interesting question. Meybe if we start by being honest about our role in this, it would help. At least it might help us to recognise our potential to make an even bigger mess next.

(And yeah, I'm oversimplifying too. The jewish people wanted their new country to be there. Still, there was never any prospect of us cutting a corner off the UK and giving them that - that would be unthinkable!)

  • 24.
  • At 07:37 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • kim wrote:

Trying to end inequality in many areas where it might be helpful would involve huge structural changes in the relevant society, probably beginning with regime change.



  • 25.
  • At 07:39 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Simon Stephenson wrote:

Little progress can be made until we in the western democracies understand that there is no alternative but to convince the world's have-nots that the desire to maintain our position at the top of the military-economic tree is everything to do with the overall good of the world and nothing to do with national self-interest. Unless and until we can do this anything we say on this matter will be regarded as deceitful and insincere. History precludes us from being given the benefit of the doubt.

If Mr. Brown recognises this then his accession to the Prime Ministership cannot happen too soon.

  • 26.
  • At 07:45 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Richard O'shea wrote:

In simple terms, I've never seen an idea destroyed by weapons alone. We must engage this hostile ideology with counter arguments that expose its fundamental flaws. Educating both muslim and non muslim in the errors of violent extremism is something that we should all sign up to, or, continue to be dicated to by a minority within a minority - an unacceptable situation for any democracy.

With respect to the wearing of the veil: I agree with GB it is a debate that, although difficult, must be held. Nowhere has anyone demanded that muslim women be forced not to wear it; only the suggestion that it would benefit integration if they didn't, and again I agree. My own personal opinion is that I don't like it and find its use contrary to equality, and an overt symbol of seperation - again an unacceptable situation in a democracy.

Bold and brave, a refreshing change from dancing to someone elses tune.

  • 27.
  • At 09:39 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Howard (Manchester) wrote:

Wow, this is an election winning approach to the whole issue of Islamist terrorism and one which has been profoundly missing throughout the Bush / Blair era.

In these times of increasingly blurred dividing lines between the main parties, what Brown is saying will attract voters across the spectrum. Voters who see the terrorist threat undiminished (at best) by the costly debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Perhaps Gordon will be Prime Minister after all.

  • 28.
  • At 10:16 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Neil Small wrote:

Brown would have dealt with Iraq differently than Blair? Doubt it. If Mr Brown really was against the policy he would have done what Michael Heseltine did and walked out. But how many politicians, especially those in a senior cabinet position, would willingly give up the job along with the perks and prestige?

  • 29.
  • At 10:32 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • P T wrote:

At last GB can speak his mind - and show that he is heads above Blair and Cameron in integrity and substance. Coming from a Muslim country, where no debate on Islam (or much else) is allowed, you do not appreciate how lucky you are. The debate is absolutely critical in the fight against Islam fundamentalism in this country. GB is so right that you must tackle the roots of terrorism at the same time. Why are some of the posts above so cynical? Can they suggest anything else if they are in power? So easy to be arm chair critics - except that the threat of Islam fundamentalism to this country is a real one - believe me!

  • 30.
  • At 11:01 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • Mark Briant wrote:

Union flag, Britishness.
I wonder how Gordon Brown even defines what it is to be British?
Multiculturalism is practically on the brink of being a total failure as an initiative to form some kind of mutual appreciation.

What is it that he is suggesting he can protect us from?
headscarves? gimme a break!

  • 31.
  • At 11:14 PM on 10 Oct 2006,
  • anon wrote:

"it is the treatment of the Palestinians by the Israelis over the last forty years that is the true cause of moslem extremism against the West."

Completely wrong, as per usual. Israel gives them millions in aid. This gets spent on weapons to use against Israel.

The PLO was formed before the 1967 war.

There were never any "Palestinians" when Egypt and Jordan occupied Gaza and the West Bank.

PLO leaders have consistently admitted that "Palestine" is just another way to try and destroy Israel.

The neighbouring countries treat the "Palestinians" far worse than the Israelis, and indeed use them as a lightning conductor to distract public attention away from their oppressive rule and onto Israel.

But of course you won't find any of this on the BBC.

Love your ridiculous claim that you are only impartial and intelligent if you oppose Israel by the way.

  • 32.
  • At 12:00 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Keith Donaldson wrote:

One thing is certain, political rhetoric will not be enough in these circumstances to win hearts and minds. Eliciting fundamental change in the UK approach to Third World issues, the Middle East in general and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in particular (acknowledging Britain’s fundamental role in creating some of the mess over the last 150 years) might help as a start. But Britain is a relatively small player; how can real change be achieved, without getting the rest of the world’s successful economies, including those of the Far East, not to mention the USA ‘on-message?’ There is one hell of a big circle to be squared!

  • 33.
  • At 12:45 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Derek Barker wrote:

Britishness and the real meaning, eyes fixed,here we go,"THE RIGHT TO HEALTH CARE AT THE POINT OF NO COST,THE RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION SUPPLIED BY THE STATE,THE RIGHT TO A JOB,THE RIGHT TO A HOUSE,THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND THE RIGHT TO RAISE A FAMILY THAT CHERISHES LIFE",there you have it "BRITISHNESS" not an icon nor a single person or date in time but a set of values held together by the people who define them selfs as British.Its what brought us together to face that great threat over sixy years ago and it is what will bring us together to face future threats like extremeism.

  • 34.
  • At 04:47 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

Another great one, Nick.

I'm no big fan of Muslim women wearing veils or their children speaking English as a poor second language. While some people may be contrarians over this , I'm minded to think the government's right to encourage a mature process of consensus seeking where there is difficulty. If this leads to positive consensus, the momentum will contribute to more positive consensus on other fronts.

If the governments field trial of this new way leads to success in one area, and the benefits of closer and more united communities take hold, I’m sure other parties, authorities, and people will begin to get on the bandwagon. It may seem like wishful thinking to see unions and business develop closer and more productive relationships, but isn’t it better than having a hard time?

Personally, I think, this difficulty could develop into the biggest social and economic opportunity since the end of the last great war. I’m about as jaded and cynical as anyone, with politicians, the media, and business. Everyone hates everyone else, but if a better sense of quality of action and relationships can emerge from this, the smallest gain is a big win for everyone.

All you need is love, or something…

What makes us British?

Well here we go, what the Labour Spin Machine feel we need to hear to build up Gordon Brown into the right man for PM.

Britishness - not even a word yet? We British are most likely better off the way we have always been. Argumentative, diverse and confrontational. We enjoy a good ruck, saying how we feel and celebrating our way of life, simply our way.

Our political system is about challenge and confrontation, it mirrors our society. And now we find our politicians wants us all cosy and wrapped in their version of Britishness.

We need diversity, uniqueness, authentic and free speaking people from all communities and backgrounds. We celebrate and respect difference as we grow to live together and we have fights along the way.

People need to keep their identity, and me a Yorkshireman living in London for many years. I still like my roots! And I love cosmopolitan life!

Homogenised learning ok maybe, and some sort of assimilation process, so we understand our laws and rights. But let us be clear, we need diversity and we all need identity. And above all we need tolerance and freedom of speech, the essence of British being.

Our thin and slick spinner politicians need remind themselves we are built on grit and verve and not some notion of being controlled by the political structure. We choose our politicians, they don't choose how we live.

The current bunch of superficial nit wits on all party benches forget our history and our diversity in their small minded and sanitised village of Westminster. Fools all of them, if they think an exam will make us British, just watch as this country eventually gives them a kick up the bum.

Our politicians? Over Paid, too cosy, too slick and too patronising by half.

  • 36.
  • At 10:12 AM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Rob wrote:

On the bold and brave front , isn't there some furor going on because a news anchor was asked not to wear a cross?

Ah but the habib is different , of course!

  • 37.
  • At 12:17 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • James Dowden wrote:

"I’m beginning to wonder are we seeing the slow revealing of a Brown/Straw campaign. Straws words on the veil last week seem to me to be pure political calculation. It was an attempt to stir things up so that people would recognise him over the over potential [deputy] candidates."

I suspect Brown's belated "agreement" was more of an attempt to stop the reasoning that goes:
1) Jack's done well in two of the top four jobs
2) He seems an awfully reasonable chap about this veil thing
3) And what's more, he's English
4) Why not make him leader instead of Gordon? He can only have a better chance of defeating Cameron, after all.

By trying to seem equally reasonable, Brown is limiting the advantage Straw has gained against him over this issue.

Unfortunately, Brown's typical wading in too late act is becoming tired (e.g. his endorsement of the Iraq war, his "support" for Blair amid the speculation about his departure), and increasingly less suspicious minds will begin to question both his sincerity and his credibility.

  • 38.
  • At 01:01 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • rob wrote:

I may in fact of meant hijab, my apologies for any confusion caused, Arabic didn't seem to be an option when I took my language gcse.

Previous point still stands however. Agree with Doninchelsea, most especially about needing tolerance.

Must point out that if GB does indeed wish to be PM he might want to think about how he's going to regale foreign leaders with his story of how his deputy PM ( Mr Straw) asked women to remove their veils. I imagine the Saudi's will take it as well as I have. Not terribly!

Gordon Brown is so wrong on the veil, Where is the freedom of choice in a open and democratic soceity gone to. It is a shame that this Government has lead us onto the path of a nanny state.

I agree with Britishness, but we have to realise that this means different things to different people, different to someone in Scotland, Wales, Birmingham or London.

Has anyone defined Britishness? What are the values, like equality, tolerance, justice and protection of human rights - these are not just British values but universal values owned by the world's human race.

Wake up Gordon to your prejudices

  • 40.
  • At 01:22 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • eyob wrote:

Hi there ,
why is it always moaning when it comes to islam e.g veils and others which is not in the koran but ppl try to make story bout that. Has anyone ever noticed how christians are treated in moslem countries and that openly for the reason they are christians .
c'mon ppl there is enough problem in the world already and clean your houses first before moaning.

  • 41.
  • At 02:32 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Richard O'shea wrote:

Rob forgets that there is no 'I' in Democracy. There is much in our democratic society that makes me nauseous, but; it is a democracy and I do get to vote. The bits I don't like I swallow like an oyster and hope that they contain some virility.

I hadn't realised the 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime' approach was Gordon Brown's, rather than Tony Blair's. Maybe that explains why the government has been so poor at implementing it - it's not an area where the chancellor has much influence, I would have thought.

The idea of a prime-minister who would actually seriously address the issue of criminality in the UK, rather than just 'talking tough' at it, is very appealing.

  • 43.
  • At 03:11 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Reehana wrote:

I think Britain is losing the battle of 'hearts and minds'. On the one hand, you have Reid talking about Muslim parents keeping an eye on their children for any signs of 'radicalisation', and on the other you demand that Muslim women should not wear the nikab (full veil). All this in the guise of a 'civilsed' debate, but these politicians are just stirring up trouble in matters they are obviously completely ignorant about. What's even more worrying is that we have seen politicians lie on numerous occassions and yet, the British public still believe that these same politicians have your best interests at heart. It's also been a convenient distraction from another issue: The BNP were caught with chemical explosives, a bio suit, and literature to cause mass mayhem. Maybe Nick Robinson can answer why the BBC didn't bother to report this? I'm paying my license fee, and I'd like to know why the BBC is rife with sub standard Journalism?

  • 44.
  • At 10:08 PM on 11 Oct 2006,
  • Derek Barker wrote:

"BRITISHNESS" ask yourself the QUESTION would muslims come here if there was no N.H.S. no HOUSING no JOBS no RIGHTS no SCHOOLS and so on ? Reehana at this time in histoy do not preach diversity when so called British people kill and main British citizens,in the name of a foreign extremist cult.

  • 45.
  • At 08:19 PM on 12 Oct 2006,
  • Neil Cahill wrote:

In all the comments here, no one seems to have mentioned the fact that most of these terrorists 'against the West' are Muslim. Isn't this a vital point to recognise, or is it too politically incorrect?

Given that this occurs in a preponderance of cases, I think one should hypothesise that Islam has something to do with it, and go from there. John Reid's telling the Muslim community to guard against radicalisation seems to miss the point. Shouldn't they be endeavouring to identify the factor in their religion that makes their young susceptible to radicalisation in the first place?

To me, that would seem a sensible place to start, but perhaps questioning Allah's wisdom is not to be done. I think we know where the problem lies.

When you put something beyond reproach, whether it be religion or patriotism or communism or whatever, only trouble can result.

Like Rob Welch and others I find the idea of a politician wrapping himself in the flag and using catchphrases containing the word "strength" a little disquieting.

At best Brown is simply a crass opportunist using whatever props he thinks will gather him more votes. At worst he is a proto-dictator in the making.

Given that NuLabour has shown scarily authoritarian tendancies over the past nine years I am saddened to conclude that the Chancellor's latest piece of stage managed politicking is a warning of sterner things to come.

  • 47.
  • At 09:44 AM on 15 Oct 2006,
  • J Westerman wrote:

Re David (16) 10 Oct 2006
“The backdrop - Gordon Brown speech – Union Jack – Union FLAG please.”

David: he was all at sea: Union Jack is fine!

  • 48.
  • At 08:55 PM on 15 Oct 2006,
  • marcmc wrote:

Anon Commented about 'Palestine' saying it didn't exist before 1967?
What are you talking about?
The country that took in the thousands of refugees from all across Europe was called PALESTINE, the 'Isreali' state was created by a group of terrorists who pushed out the British security forces who were in the middle east and started rebellion against the Palestinisn people.
This is how the 'isreali' state was created. Please note the use of the word state and not country as this is all 'isreal' is, not a country.

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