Fighting a different war
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.