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Conviction and responsibility

Nick Robinson | 17:58 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007

To go, or not to go. That was the question which hung over Gordon Brown's first party conference speech (watch it here). As it happened, he did nothing to reveal his intentions, not mentioning the word election, or talking about his opponents once.

Gordon Brown speaking at the Labour Party conference

But this was, nevertheless, a speech designed to sell his personal story, his values and his policies to the parts of Britain which other leaders cannot reach. Not since the era of his new friend Margaret Thatcher have the words 'Britain' or 'Britishness' been used so often - 71 times, as it happens. Not since her day have there been so many references to conviction, to discipline and to responsibility. He even went so far as to promise to deliver her hugely controversial dream - that people in the NHS should be able to see the doctor they want, at the hospital they want.

Though there was plenty to cheer and to inspire his own party - pledges to increase the minimum wage, extend maternity pay and student grants - this seemed to be a speech designed to appeal to the Tory press, and to unsettle the Tory party. If they respond as he hopes they will, he'll then be able to make that decision about whether to go to the polls.

However good the write ups though, however good the polls, he'll still reflect that if he calls an election and doesn't win it, this first conference speech will turn out to be his last.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 06:51 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Neil Small wrote:

More spin from the masters of spin, but subtly disguised.

But as usual it is "we will deliver", something that has been said for the past ten years or so.

I think he will go to the polls, but probably after Christmas, since it is unlikely David Cameron will be replaced, and he is the biggest asset the Labour Party have. The Lib Dems are now irrelevant so the greatest danger is from the nationalist parties, who will give Labour a kicking (unless Alex Salmond disappears off the face of the planet).

He needs to go soon though, since the economy is about to nosedive within twelve months.

  • 2.
  • At 07:46 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • RK wrote:

Nick, I am a life long tory, believe in all of the tradional tory values, but - I never will vote for Brown, firstly most tories have long memories and remember the last 10 years when he was chancellor, they are not going to be sucked into brown talking about conviction and using Mrs Thatcher as an example, anyway once elected? all that will just vanish and Brown will go back to his true colours. Once a tory always a tory, plus what tories like to hear are tax cuts and Europe - which was hardly mentioned. Before we start talking about blue - brownites lets just wait and see what Cameron has to say next week he might surprise as all - coming from a real tory with values.

Gordon has a job to do. The last election provided him with a firm mandate. There is no reason why he should call a general election during a miserable autumn.

  • 4.
  • At 07:47 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Max Sceptic wrote:

If Brown really believes in 'Britishness' he should give us the promised referendum on the new EU Treaty.

Until he does, anything he says remains suspect.

Look. You blogged about the P.M "Just to make this absolutely clear, he asked himself the question, "do I need to call an election?" before answering that "no" he didn't."
But then you blog;
"So, that's that then. Well no, not quite it isn't."

Nick. Why won't you "be told"? Aside from your opinion being "spectacularly pointless" it's also very boring. Who exactly benefits from more speculation and what is the cost to the public? We want to be able to confidently elect a government for five years without any more ado. Is it any wonder people can't be bothered to vote when it doesn't seem to "count" anyway, according to some in the media.

Thank you very much

P.S. If this message ends up in "open secrets" blog can somebody please forward it to Nick Robinson's one about " Conviction and responsibility". I seem to be having a few problems getting there myself.

  • 6.
  • At 08:15 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Phil.Coles wrote:

You keep banging on about GB not announcing an election date,it is only you and the rest of the media tribal village that raised this in the first place,what we are clearly seeing is a Prime minister that is not going to be led by needs of you and the rest of the media gaggle that have to have something to either report on visually or write commentary on if only to justify their sad little lives.

  • 7.
  • At 08:19 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tony R wrote:

If an election is announced, all David Cameron has to do is to promise a referendum on the EU Treaty if the Conservatives form the next government. This will sway many wavering Conservative voters, and will make it very difficult for newspapers such as the Sun to support Labour.

Gordon Brown can, of course, do a massive U turn and say he will also have a referendum if Labour win. This will face him with the difficulty of having been forced to change his position by his opponents (so much for his convictions!), and also the likelihood of an early defeat in the EU Treaty referendum.

It's ironic that Labour which exploited dissent about the EU amongst the Conservatives during the Major years, may be denied this golden opportunity by the "Europe" problem.

  • 8.
  • At 08:27 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Karen M wrote:

If Gordon Brown were really a prime minister of conviction then he would not call an opportunistic election or indeed allow the speculation of one to continue. Both are damaging to his image and do nothing to back up his claims of 'substance'. He'll not elicit trust from the electorate this way.

  • 9.
  • At 09:17 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Mr. Daniel Taylor wrote:

A speech designed to 'sell his values and policies' - that would be the policy or values associated with bankrolling an illegal war, would it?

Brown is just as responsible as Blair for the situation in Iraq and the media have seemingly 'dropped' the ongoing news from the war torn middle-east because Brown is trying to draw a line between the Blair era and his 'new one'.
I'm afraid the Blair era IS the Brown era too!

As long as people, journalists and the other political parties keep reminding everyone how he has blood on his hands, he won't get away with his crimes.

  • 10.
  • At 09:35 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • david mishon wrote:

Not a word about Old Age Pensioners
Give 'em another 75p per week So that's all right then
MP's pensions are gold plated Salaries on the up God's in his heaven and alls right with the world. Not if your eighty it ain't

  • 11.
  • At 09:43 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • alan.C wrote:

Gordon Brown is an incredible formidable politician, no doubt about that.
However....
All this talk of focussed action on the NHS,education, immigration, gun control etc... is a bit rich and wholly unconvincing.
Was it not one Gordon Browm who was himself in total control of the domestic agenda under the Blair / Brown hate in decade?
In my opinion, he is a chancer with an exceptionally poor record of delivering real change for the country. Where should we start, in general.. - NHS bureaucracy, Pensions, Red tape, manufacturing meltdown, complexity in tax systems, child allowance, politicised non-achieving police force, rampant house inflation, unrestrained mass immigration. Vote for whatever party you choose ...just be aware...be very aware . Nite Zzzzzz

  • 12.
  • At 09:44 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Tom Scott wrote:

Nick, on today's Daily Politics you claimed that last year Cherie Blair had 'shouted' "That's a lie" when Gordon Brown complimented Tony Blair.

It's obvious you can't stand Cherie, but you know perfectly well she denied this allegation. And no-one even alleged she "shouted".

Why should I believe anything you say when you have shown yourself to be so careless with the facts ?

  • 13.
  • At 09:45 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Douglas Cochrane wrote:

Gordon Brown must allow a referendum on the EU treaty to take place and give the "British" people their voice back. "British" people have been gagged for far too long by political correctness squads, by local governments, and by their elected parliament. It is time for Gordon brown to give Britain back its voice because it is their democratic right to have it.

  • 14.
  • At 09:47 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • John wrote:

What's with that blue background? He'll be bringing in hairdressers to do blue rinses next.

  • 15.
  • At 09:47 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Richard John wrote:

Nick,

And here we go again. A broadly center and centre-right speech tailored to appeal to the broad mass of British People. And History suggests this will be followed up by a centre-left set of policies aimed at redistribution, aligned to the left-wing politically correct ideology. "Any newcomer who is caught selling drugs will be thrown out". Sorry Gordon, dont believe you. At all. We've had a procession of Labour Ministers talking tough only to find out years later that the reverse has happened (remember the Afghan hijackers anyone?). "Strengthen freedom of speech". Surely you are not serious? A Christian protesting against homosexuality - arrested. "Make sure every hospital is clean and safe"? Then how can it be that we can double the money we spend on the NHS and yet now I wont send my family into our NHS hospital as two of my neighbours have died from MRSA.

It goes on and on. The BBC Series "the Thick of It" had it down to a tee. All this government thinks about is PR. It is the most hopeless administration of the 20th century and the money has run out. It takes time for the British public to rumble a failed ideology, but just like the money, time is also running out for New Labour.

  • 16.
  • At 09:50 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Brian Tomkinson, Bolton,UK wrote:

Forget all the spin and ask Brown, Cameron, Campbell et al to respond to the outrage we voters feel at the way MPs pursue their own interests above that of the country and the British people, as brilliantly presented by Peter Oborne in tonight's Channel 4 Dispatches programme. If any of them is genuinely prepared to rectify this, then they may just begin to deserve consideration as being suitable to govern this country.

  • 17.
  • At 10:21 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • robert w wrote:

Nick Robinson is part of a media desease that assumes that the problems caused by the current party political system is less important than regurgitating endless amounts of controlled political spin involving crappy little policy differences between Brown and Cameron.
Unless the people of this country spend more time creating new parties and getting more involved in thinking outside of the current duopoly and governing media for a solution we're just going to get shafted again.

  • 18.
  • At 10:25 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • jack wrote:

Don't know if any of you noticed but Gordon Brown mentions "Britain" or "British" over 80 times in this speech.

  • 19.
  • At 10:30 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Lee Brown wrote:

I can never understand why 'Life long Tories' would not vote for Brown...especially the moderately well off and very well off ones who have 'Never Had it So Good' as in the last 10 years. Economic stability,continuous growth, their property worth a fortune ,continuing low rates of tax and a business environment envied by many of our European competitors.

No its the bottom of the pile who have done worse under Noo Labour and the country has been getting more and more divided economically under their leadership.I see very little in Gordons speeches to ameliorate this divide and I really doubt the Tories could care less about about this either. More children growing up in poverty in the UK is such a depressing topic isn't it? Best not to mention it!

  • 20.
  • At 10:45 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Shelly wrote:

More jobs for British workers? We left the U.K. 8 years ago, never to come back. Why? Look around at our shoddy old hospitals, schools, YOB violence, etc...time to stop blaming the Tories, you guys had a decade to turn things over.

  • 21.
  • At 10:53 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Gareth Brading wrote:

I really don't think Gordon is going to have an early election, at least this year, maybe next. He still thinks he can win against Cameron in a typical election, when the "Honeymoon Period" has warn off. He sees no need for one at the timebeing. If however, the Conservatives did something damaging, then he might re-assess the situation.

I really think everyone has to get over the "EU consitution/treaty referendum/debate" though. I believe neither Labour nor the Conservatives really want a referendum, because if one occurs it is less a judgement on the consitution itself and more a judgement of; "European Union: Yes or No?" And then that forces Britain off down one path or the other concerning it. The issue is as simply black and white like that.

  • 22.
  • At 10:55 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Krishn Shah wrote:

Nick,
Its all very well being a "conviction politician" but that isn't a particularly useful attribute if your convictions appear to change on a daily basis.

He talks about Britishness and patriotism. Are we supposed to forget that his party , over the last decade, have split the union leaving the English frustrated and resentful?

The NHS would not cope with the system that he proposes. Choice would have to be on a first come first served basis. Local patients would have to travel further to see a specialist because the ones in their area might be "booked up".

Conservative voters will not vote Labour. Instead he's trying to keep the New Labour voters of the past from defecting to the Tories by making it seem that the Tories aren't proposing anything new or better.

I hope you actually examine the substance of the speech at some point Nick. Most of it was aspirational rather than specific and most of the specific pledges are undeliverable.

  • 23.
  • At 10:56 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • IRJM wrote:

He may have tried to sound Toryish, but the government which he has been a critical figure in for a decade has consistently undermined Tory values; and the content of his speech was big-government socialism.

This was a socialist speech, PR-designed to appear moral and stodgy, and appealing to Britishness chiefly as part of Brown's "big tent" domination policy, and partly to combat Brown's perceived Scottishness (where Baroness Thatcher was patriotically British). That is the heart of the matter, which I worry the media are not getting to.

None of the domestic policies in his speech apply to Scotland where he was elected.

Britishness Brown was given a mandate by his Scottish constituents on reserved matters. He has no mandate on health, education, transport, social services, planning, housing, anything like that.

All this talk about Britain, Britain, Britain - all rubbish. He's no more British than the rest of his countrymen and women. Gordon Brown is Scottish, he puts Scottish interests first and foremost and all this talk of Britishness is just a cynical attempt to engineer a mandate for himself.

If Gordon Brown is British and wants a strong Britain and doesn't want to let down British people then let's hear him renounce his pledge when he signed the Scottish Claim of Right to put the interests of Scottish people first and foremost.

  • 25.
  • At 11:25 PM on 24 Sep 2007,
  • Steve Jones Jnr wrote:

I have read this article and Sky news article on this Conf but you should seriously read the one by Izzy Santino. It's on his site.

goto izzysantino.com

You won't find another report on this conf like this one!

  • 26.
  • At 12:03 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • DavidM wrote:

Nick, Brown isn't holding all the cards. He has to wait to see the impression that Cameron is certain to make on the polls next week. There is bound to be a swing back to the Tories - happens every Conference without fail. However small the swing - Brown will have the collywobbles.

Any advertising man will tell you that most of Brown's poll lead is due to exposure, exposure, exposure (give any old rubbish enough advertising exposure and the public always flock to buy it in droves - amazing isn't it?). Lets see what happens when the stage-lights are focused on Cameron next week.

We have already seen that Brown 'is sensitive to public opinion' (bends with the wind). In cricketing terms Brown is a bit of a 'front foot bully' and I back the Tories to outspin him next week.

By the way, I hear that whilst Labour is playing-up Brown’s so called ‘strength of character’ the Tories PR team intend to spin this as ‘Brown - the Bullyboy’ - a sort of upmarket Prescott. Silly isn't it?

  • 27.
  • At 12:07 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

Nick,

How utterly utterly nauseating was Gordon Brown's speech yesterday. All the clap-trap about being a conviction politician and being British and having fair and honest values instilled into him by his parents were just words, nothing more than meaningless words.

Until the illegal attack on Iraq, I had supported the Labour Party for more than forty years but never again will I vote Labour whilst people like Brown and the new cabinet of right-wing yes men, who voted for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, are members.

As I've watched politicians over the years, I've come to the firm belief that education and intelligence are absolutely not measures of common sense and integrity. Gordon Brown and the present cabinet are just as lightweight, fickle and ‘professional’ as the previous bunch. With the Tories being no better, no wonder voting turnout is plummeting.

  • 28.
  • At 12:33 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • PC wrote:

RK -

"plus what tories like to hear are tax cuts and Europe"

The last thing Tories want to hear about is Europe!

That killed you off last time, and will probably do so next time,

Tax cuts maybe; but in Scotland the Poll Tax still burns in the memory...

If Gordon Brown was to call an election things would change during the run up to the big vote.
I have noticed gaffs and other mistakes costing or winning an election and no one, not even yourself can know what they may be till they happen.
I do not think he has to call an election anyway as a change of leader doesn't change all the people who elected their own MP and that MP is maybe halfway through his work in that area only to be taken away for another parade of kisses and handshakes. If we elected a party we want to give them their time to do what we elected them to do and that time is 4-5 years. We all knew about Brown too and that is an extra reason we voted for Labour.
I think this is more media driven then anything because the journalists yearn for an election to get overtime payment and enjoy themselves!

  • 30.
  • At 01:42 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • M.McLaughlin wrote:

Nick,
Will he or won't he? I was sick as a parrot listening to his minions say, 'He will go when he thinks it's right for the nation.' What planet are these people on? A politician calls an election when he thinks it's right for HIM, full-stop.

As for his F.D. Roosevelt style 'New Deal' (he even used that term) speech, wherein he promised justice for all and forgot to say how much that's going to cost the tax-payer, this got him the title 'Father of the Nation', in many newspapers.

No, he's a politician. And politicians are concerned with just one thing: how to get power, and how to keep it.

You are too generous, Nick!

  • 31.
  • At 02:22 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Frank Bridge wrote:

I thought it was a terrible uninspired speech which I have heard from a dozen or so politicians before. NHS we will make it work, we will reduce crime and we will be fair to all people. Of course you will, it goes without saying. Why not give us something that will make a difference such as decent public transport. I've been waiting 10 years to leave the car at home and I bet I'll have to wait another 10 when I won't need it. I find the labour party without principles now and the reporters just enjoying the transition where the Tories are lost for ideas as they have all been used by Labour. Abolish VAT on home fuels, seriously look at the plight of those with little or no pension and the massive rises in community charges.

  • 32.
  • At 07:12 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Dee wrote:

It is interesting that an MP for a Scottish seat used the word British when he was referring to health and education, both policy areas that he has no influence on for his own constituents as he devolved those powers to what is now called the Scottish Government.
Gordon can wrap himself in the Union flag but most of his policies now affect England and at the last election in England Labour were only the second largest party.
That's democracy British style for you.

I agree with Tony R [comment No 7] up to a point that the possibility of a referendum on the European Treaty is an important consideration for both major parties. But it's not a simple vote winner.

David Cameron will find himself associated with parties who want to take more drastic steps, and will have to make it clear if he wants the conservatives to make it a commitment to eave the EC.

If that's a vote vote winner he will be specific in his big cenference speech. We'll see.

It was a poor speech that ironically had more style than substance. If this is what New Labour has to offer after 10 years of destroying this country, we are in big trouble.

https://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com/2007/09/25/what-a-gift/

  • 35.
  • At 08:55 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Janet S. wrote:

I listened to the speech. The impression I got was that it was a cynical button-pushing exercise designed to pull the wool over everyone's eyes and try to make them forget about all the lies and spin of the last 10 years. In other words, it was more lies and spin. Plenty of beliefs and visions; no plans or methods for doing anything. Gordon Brown was central to the last Labour government, and, as Chancellor, had a huge amount of control. Peter Mandelson stated this morning that there were three architects of "New Labour": himself, Tony Blair, and Gordon Brown. I really can't think why Brown should suddenly try to proclaim that he's somehow different. We've had 10 years of him already; plenty of time for observation.

This is the man who has taxed us to the bone and wasted the money on consultants and targets and reorganisations, but without overall improved services, nor public sector staff pay and conditions. A man who claims to want personal and individual service, but has spent a lot of (our) money attempting to centralise and standardise everything to precisely the same levels everywhere. This is the supposedly prudent Chancellor who sold off our gold reserves, plundered our pensions, taxes our inheritance, and presided over record levels of personal, corporate, and governmental debt. This economic house of cards is starting to crumble, but he doesn't seem to mention that.

The constant reiteration of British and Britishness serves only to emphasise his avoidance of the West Lothian question. But it calls into question why he's willing to surrender so much power to the faceless unelected bureaucrats of the EU. How many of our laws and rules and regulations come from Brussels and have simply been incorporated into UK statutes without debate or query?

After that rant this probably doesn't need saying, but I'm going to say it anyway: if it was intended to get my vote, the speech failed miserably.

All the Tories have to do is promise a referendum on the European Treaty - thus securing the Sun vote and abolish inheritance tax - thus securing the Daily Express/Mail vote.

Anybody believe that Cameron has the bottle to do that?

Let me repeat myself (I am not alone in this ... read n!) I am tired of all of this election talk. Listening to Today on Radio 4 this morning was a pain. Everyone who was interviewed who had anything to do with politics was asked about the possiblity of an Autumn election.

Has the world of journalism finally fallen victim to obsessive compulsion? We, the public, suffered from the same journalistic disorder when Blair madly announced his retirement way in advance of it actually happening. In that case even the most innocent and casual of throw away remarks would be latched on to ... 'Do you mean he is about to announce his retirement?' ... 'What do you know ...?' Just nonsense.

This makes for very easy journalism since all that has to be done now is to look for some election angle in everything that is said and done and hey presto, no need to analyse anything else.

So Brown made a long speech yesterday but it's all been boiled down to two things:

it's an advert for Brown
it's an election manifesto

Simple! I believe I am now a fully qualified political journalist.

Duncan

  • 38.
  • At 10:37 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Neil Small wrote:

Some posters here seem to have migrated from the HYS debates!

Stop ranting about Gordon Brown only looking after Scotland. it was English voters who elected Labour, not just Scottish ones.

Yes, there needs to be fairness when it comes to voting on reserved issues, but the hard fact is that England keeps voting Labour in.

Labour is in trouble up here in Jockland, with the SNP digging into their votes. So if you want the "Scottish Mafia" out, stop voting for them!

  • 39.
  • At 11:51 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Charles E Hardwidge wrote:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's speech was long and rambled a little but gave suggestions as to how he sees the world and some of the issues that interest him. His sense of system, where he sees things in terms of delivery and society are there. I particularly liked his sense of history as progress and the cyclic relationship between things. That's a neat balance that straddles classic Western and Eastern models of thinking. I'm especially pleased that he took a positive focus on deliverables and Britain instead of losing himself in election speculation and partisan slanging matches. Drawing out the dutiful conduct of John Smeaton and his own commitment to place duty in front of himself were solid bookends to this speech.

Looking at Gordon Brown's speech, I see it as a rough draft. This is a man who is beginning a programme of government that, quite possibly, stretches over several decades and on into the future. As events unfold, Britain changes, and he matures it will be interesting to see how future speeches are polished, nudged, and changed.

It's been said that this has been Labour's decade. Others say that it's possible this could be Labour's century. I'm still minded to think this is Labour's millennium. This feudal country, high crime, greedy and showy merchants, and dangers from abroad all remind me of Japan before the Tokugawa Shogunate. Ieyasu Tokugawa nearly lost his life, echoing Gordon Brown's rugby accident, he ousted all other great men of his time, and used his time in power to enforce unity. We live in a similar time and place to ancient Japan, and Gordon Brown is very much the same type of person. Honour, loyalty, determination, and patience are hallmarks they both share and demand.

Gordon Brown's closing pledge is typical of a man like this. His promise to stand up for schools and hospitals shows he recognises the value of education and health. These underpin our most basic needs and are key to individual and collective success. When they are firmly in place and sufficiently resourced, one can withstand any adversity. British values follow naturally from this. It's not the place or the wealth that matters, it's who and what we are; it's the difference between barbarism and civilisation, as reinforced by his commitment to deal with crime and assist foreign places in need where it is the right thing to do. By closing on a commitment not to let us down this "Stalinist titan" shows his true heart, the heart of a man who has dreamed and who knows loss, a man who will never give up because he believes it matters and who, in a quiet moment, cares.

  • 40.
  • At 11:54 AM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew A wrote:

Neil Small at 10:37.

'It was English voters who elected Labour . . .'

'Fraid not old chum. Votes cast in England for Labour at the last election - 8m. Votes cast in England for Conservatives - 8.1m. Some democracy!

What depresses me even more is there's obviously 8m people who still vote for Labour.

Commentators say that Labour won't call an election when the weather's likely to be inclement - because wet weather depresses Labour voter turnout. This tells you all you need to know about the 'value' of their votes. Voters like that deserve to be disenfranchised.

NB. Thanks so much BBC for giving me the opportunity to post these comments (I'm a licence-payer too).

  • 41.
  • At 12:28 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • philcoles wrote:

So your correspondent Shelly left England eight years ago ( probably we should all be grateful for that at least) assuming she has kept her word and not been back,how would she know anything about what has happened in this country apart of course from the european printed edition of The Daily Mail.( or some other rag )I have no idea of Shelly's age or what family she has but l will take a bet that if anything seriously goes wrong healthwise wherever she lives she will come scurrying back to be treated under our NHS having contributed nothing to this country for however long she stays away (hopefuly forever )

  • 42.
  • At 01:05 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Anthony Wynn-Ruffhead wrote:

So Gordon Brown is a conviction politician. Does anyone know what that means? And will any politician who is not a conviction politician put their hand up? Of course not. It is yet another meaningless phrase that is trotted out to try and make us feel good about him.

  • 43.
  • At 01:06 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Stephen wrote:

I watched the Dispatches programme entitled "Nice job if you can get it". This demonstrated to a tee the problem with politicians such as Gordon Brown - do as I say, not as I do.

I don't believe that Gordon Brown has any intention to change Britain in the ways that he says he will. Instead, if we look at what he has done, we get a much nastier view of this 'conviction' politician. He is convinced that he knows best, hence the need to tax us more heavily year on year. Despite this, there is growing concern with the lack of delivery, and public service unions are growing more restless with downsizing, and below inflation pay rises.
He is insecure, hence the need to surround himself with his cronies and to further empower the police in areas such as detention without trial.

He intends to gather more power to the centre, hence the decision to introduce ID cards, spy cameras, etc. At every level our liberties are being eroded, yet politicians restrict freedom of information as it relates to them, and get off scot free when investigated by other 'Honourable Members'.

He allows others to take the blame for the consequences of his own decisions (child tax credit anyone?). Worse still is his tendency to hide when serious questions need answered (how about IRAQ).

If there is an early election, and GB is returned, heaven help us all.

  • 44.
  • At 01:12 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Mark E wrote:

"Stop ranting about Gordon Brown only looking after Scotland. it was English voters who elected Labour, not just Scottish ones."

Didn't more people in England vote Tory then Labour at the last general election?

This is likely to happen again in the next general election, and Labour is also likely to find their share of the vote in Scotland drops as well.

  • 45.
  • At 01:30 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Romanus Renatus wrote:

I hope Oona King was able to control herself!

  • 46.
  • At 01:36 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Although I would classify myself as a political junkie, I have to say I find nothing whatever to interest me in the speech. Labour conferences are just stage-managed spin, and there is really no reason to think that anything Brown says in his speech is going to make the slightest bit of difference to what actually happens back in the real world.

I'm keeping an open mind about Brown for the time being, but one thing is clear: I shall judge him on what he does, not on what he says he's going to do. Past experience of this government shows that those two things are not nearly as closely related as they should be.

  • 47.
  • At 01:53 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Adam wrote:

Is it just me who immediately thinks of Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer when anyone mentions the phrase "conviction politicians"?

  • 48.
  • At 02:01 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Ju wrote:

The most frustrating part of listening to interviews of GB is the way all interviewers gradually lie down in front of him as he persistently avoids giving an answer. As a listener, it is unacceptable to dodge a 'yes, no or maybe' answer to a legitimate question, but the BBC just lie down and let the propaganda flow forth.

  • 49.
  • At 02:27 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

Come on people wake up!

This holier than thou nonsense is just that. Where's the call to arms? Where's the fight spirit? Where's the motivational speech?

Rambling on for the umpteenth time about Gordon's drab life in Kirkaldy won't inspire anyone and I personally am not scared by the Chinese or either Asians.. they just work hard like the Americans and I was ever of the belief we had to be scared of the American threat. This is more Labour tactics to make us scared of getting rid of them "beware all those foreigners because they'll take our lifestyle away". It's racist and gingoistic and anti the British spirit of rising to the challenge.

Gordon claims to be proud to be British when there isn't an ounce of it in him. he can concentrate on his deep cleans and his little boys at school learning to read but these things will go on regardless of his actions. Get the bigger picture of where Britain is going in the world and its place as a leader not a follower.

All of Eastern Europe, Germany, France and Spain have all followed Thatchers example of selling off ailing industries and allowing people to own their own homes.

As for Gordon stealing the Tories agenda...how can a man so frightened by competition ever replace the Tories? Capitalism is about working hard to achieve your goals and create wealth; it's about creative destruction. If you want Socialisnm go to France where unemployment is running at 12%, nobody can earn a sensible living and there are riots in the suburbs.

  • 50.
  • At 04:10 PM on 25 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

To #38

English voters did not elect Labour or Brown. The Conservatives polled more votes in England than Labour at the last General Election!

I'm one of those who is in denial! Yes, I'll admit it. I think Blair was the best thing since - well, the last decent prime minister.

And so I find it a 'blood out of a stone' exercise in attaching the title Prime Minister to Brown. To me, Blair is THE Prime Minister. Without portfolio, of course.

So at my blog I feel the need to refer to Brown as GB/PM. Can hardly spit that out too!

And in his conference speech GB/PM used those initials well:

" Gordon Brown/Great Britain/Great British/Great Briton "

Now, he doesn't need to pay Saatchi & Saatchi for this little idea - it's FREE, from me.

Use the country's initials attached to your name GB! I can feel a logo forming in my head right now. Pity I'm disenfranchised, as to me leaders ARE important ... to be or not TB!
(Sorry, Nick!)

  • 52.
  • At 04:59 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Hyder Ali Pirwany wrote:

You have a job to do Mr. Brown? What have you been doing for the last ten years?

  • 53.
  • At 05:47 PM on 26 Sep 2007,
  • Rose wrote:

i just read izzy santino's article and it's refreshingly different. he hits the nail on the head too. great read, makes nick look old. thanks steve for pointing it out!
recomended!

  • 54.
  • At 02:03 PM on 27 Sep 2007,
  • Seb, Birmingham wrote:

Give Brown a break, I see little cause for the cynicism about his Britishness. After all he could have been SNP leader for several years by now.

Yes, he almost certainly is labouring the point of his Britishness because of the devolution mess, but I don't doubt his patriotism. He thinks of himself as both Scottish and British, which is fine by me.


  • 55.
  • At 12:15 AM on 28 Sep 2007,
  • Chris Gudgin wrote:

Great speech by Gordon Brown. Certainly very different to those given by Blair.

  • 56.
  • At 12:39 AM on 28 Sep 2007,
  • grania davy wrote:

Why has G Brown suddenly discovered Britishness? Ah, he would like us to vote for him, and if he tells us that he is interested in our welfare we will forget the past 10yrs when he was in power, just in a different job. He destroyed pensions, gave us dirtier hospitals, illiterate school leavers, rising crime, local taxes up 97%, the list is endless. But thats all right then because he is a conviction politician and now uses the word British all the time, sorry, I don't buy it and maybe he should learn the word delivey and its meaning. Any kind f election will do, now later, whenever. The polls are not always right, it depends on the questions posed, so do some research Gordon before you leap.

  • 57.
  • At 02:23 AM on 28 Sep 2007,
  • Tim Gudgin wrote:

No election then. Announcing one towards the end of this week or next week is unlikely and could be viewed as opportunistic.

  • 58.
  • At 02:42 AM on 28 Sep 2007,
  • Chris King wrote:

There were some new ideas here, but also some previously announced stuff that we've yet to see actually happen.

  • 59.
  • At 08:28 PM on 29 Sep 2007,
  • grania davy wrote:

38 and 50. No 50 is correct, more consercative votes were cast in England. It took approx 29,000 votes to get one Labour seat and approx 44,000 votes to get a conservative seat.

  • 60.
  • At 05:22 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • E Welshman wrote:

But whose work was the speech - Grabber Gordon's or Bill Clinton's

  • 61.
  • At 06:47 PM on 30 Sep 2007,
  • Quietzapple wrote:

It is hard to believe the hard working PM will drag us from our autumn amusements into the murk to tell him that we don't want MacCamaroon, and find him a trustworthy, consciencous leader.

  • 62.
  • At 09:58 AM on 02 Oct 2007,
  • quietzapple wrote:

The growing need to stress our common values - Britishness - is because of the "War that Dare not Speak its Name", or War on Terror as it was known.

Brown and Bush are both aware that islamo-fascism worldwide is still a growing menace, for all that our military and local police forces are striving to expose and oppose them.

We have to recruit allies in the muslim populations here and abroad, and especially among their young, so temperate language is called for I undertand.

When it comes to survival of the UK it would be best if the carping Toryrag philosophers here would take the point, but they won't, were I to coo to them from morn to night . . .

  • 63.
  • At 02:54 PM on 04 Oct 2007,
  • michael bowerman wrote:

Gordon Brown said it was about making the NHS the "best it can be".

And on the forthcoming NHS anniversary, he added: "I think it is an occasion not just to celebrate the NHS, but to renew it for future years."

So after 10 years and all that tax payers' money spent the best it can be is 17th in Europe out of 29, behind Estonia; but ahead of Italy and Portugal. Cause for celebration indeed (if you have low standards as GB clearly has in both senses)

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