Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Brown's Speech: Good But Not Good Enough

This was an above average performance by Gordon Brown. He delivered the speech with passion and a degree of eloquence that has been missing for some time. And yet, and yet... There was still something missing. It was a good speech, but it certainly wasn't, as Alan Johnson had demanded, the speech of his life.

He made a couple of new announcements on single mothers (adopting an IDS-lite approach) and had a right old go at what he called 50,000 "chaotic" families. Back to basics, anyone?

He announced a new law to increase development aid and he appeared to abolish compulsory ID cards, conveniently omitting to mention that this is already existing government policy for the next parliament.

He spoke a lot about the wonders of the NHS and talked about eliminating cancer within a generation, something I seem to remember Richard Nixon promised forty years ago.

There was the ritual knocking of the Conservatives but perhaps it wasn't as aggressive as I - or the audience - had expected. He also didn't offer much humour either. Quelle suprise...

But he did spend a lot of money, something Labour politicians are always good at. Free personal care. And much more besides. No word of how it will be paid for.

The most eye catching measure he announced was the Cameron policy of having a power of recall over corrupt or dishonest MPs. The promise of a referendum on PR was well received as was, of course, the promise to abolish all hereditary peers.

There was very little personal narrative in this speech, very little vision. What we got was the usual battering ram of statistics and initiatives, albeit delivered in a style which was less reminiscent of a machine gun than usual.

So, delivery 7/10, content 5/10, chances of being Prime Minister in a year's time 1/10.


Anonymous said...

The overwhelming impression was of lots of giveaways but nothing on how they will be paid for. Fiscal responsibility?

Anonymous said...

A very odd speech there was no real theme to it and once finished one thinks what did he actually say?

Plenty of dud amo for Dave to pick up and fire back next week too.

3 out of 10

Man in a Shed said...

He was nasty with his vicious smears on Conservatives.

He was ungenerous by omitting John Major from the history of peace in Northern Ireland.

He was disingenuous by failing to point out how much of his speech just applied to England that had voted Conservative at the last election in number of votes cast.

He was desperate in offering voting reform but not yet as an insurance policy to get the Lib Dems to prop him up in office.

He was just unbelievable on saying the military have the equipments= they need when we all know senior officers are resigning saying the straight opposite.

He has no credibility, hour or even talent.

Its a shame we can't recall him - after all he's carried out the greatest financial damage of any MP in the UK's history.

Man in a Shed said...

PS And it was a poor speech.

Anonymous said...

In the history of crap speeches this was right up there with the very worse.0/10,0/10,0/10.Iain I think you've been in brighton too long.Drivel from start to finish.Hes a goner,I've got the champagne on ice.

Lord Elvis of Paisley said...

"chances of being Prime Minister in a year's time 1/10."

You're optimistic.

WV: conallai (quite)

AnthonyV said...

That was it really. A few attacks against the Tories and lots of fluffy promises without a word on how it is going to be paid for. Almost as if he wants to duck out of answering that question really....quelle surprise.

Thomas said...

I think you mean the Clegg policy on recall, actually.

I Squiggle said...

Too many policy initiatives announced that will probably unravel on closer inspection, but clearly beg the question of how they will be paid for. Free Care? Apparently we couldn’t afford that when times were good, and now? I did notice it was an hour into the speech before he mentioned the troops in Afghanistan. That it got the biggest standing ovation should be noticed (although it won’t) and then it was followed up by more guff about the ‘best equipment’ bla bla..

Stephen Folan said...

I think Labour are no longer watching West Wing for their policy ideas but Mad Men. There was an episode in the recent past where eliminating cancer was discussed as well as working for the Nixon campaign.

How odd.

Jon Lishman said...

An oddly mild appraisal of the longest litany of bileous lies and misrepresentations I have ever heard.

It was quite simply - and patently - the most dishonest and desperate speech in British political history.

I hope there are other Tories who will have the courage to point this fact out. There'd better be.

liberal majority said...

I'd like to know how he intends to put banking back at the 'heart of communities' throught he post offices when he shut more than half of them. How thick does he think we are?

Jess The Dog said...

Power of recall was heavily caveatted...if Parliament hadn't dealt with it (etc). Hardly holding them to account....

English First said...

No offer of an EU referendum then! Quell suprise!!

But then, neither would Cameroon would he?

Brown was absolutely appalling! Why do we put up with this total charade of a democracy?

Daily Referendum said...

Did he say he was going to lock up young pregnant girls?

"Lock up your daughters?"

Anonymous said...

They think it's all over? It is now.

Plato said...

Teenage mums being managed in state homes?

Are we in 1950?

Post Office Bank - GiroBank anyone?

And the music James and MPeople - Labour are trapped in a time warp.

Lord Elvis of Paisley said...

Interesting to note that national rose by over £21million during his speech. Maybe he should shut up a bit more often...

WV: kalmd (not really)

Mirtha Tidville said...

He can, and did, throw all sorts of uncosted promises about but it wont matter because neither he nor his tacky party will be there to implement them....Iain would love to hear what the true mood of his MP`s is now...(another) Rebellion anyone?

Max Atkinson said...

First time I've ever seen him try surfing applause - which won him a premature standing ovation - before he reverted to type. Trouble with that was media commentators noticed lively start and started complaining that it went downhill after that - see http://bit.ly/YkO95

Irony for me is that I blogged a recommendation last year suggesting David Cameron should have a go at surfing to up his game for the Conservative Party Conference!

Eddie 180 said...

It is quite clear that Labour are wedded to spending. This week has already seen massive increases. Brown is to legislate for Fiscal Responsibility. As I wrote in the Google Side Wiki on the Number 10 site yesterday - will he also legislate to say that the deficit must be reduced by cutting back waste and spending?

If not the legislation, were Labour to be re-elected, would most likely be used as the smokescreen behind which taxes must increase - they must go up by law!

To halve the deficit in 4 years, as well as meet all of these new pledges for spending, including the promise he gave to increase education spending (which suggests the 2 billion found in waste by Ed Balls will not go towards the deficit, but will be topped up and spent again in Education), suggests that taxes will have to rise massively, for the many, not the few.

Labours "Fiscal Responsibility" will make it legally necessary.

Fortunately, under teh Tories, there is another way.

Anonymous said...

No legislation is needed to curb banks' activity. The Govt can remove the banks' banking licences any time they choose. They are simply lying to us

Anonymous said...

oh, angry little tory biggots didn't like the speech, quell surprise.

grow up. the sort of people commenting here are exactly what is wrong with British politics, trashy, red top lead nonsense

well done Iain for at least acknowledging that at it was a decent speech at least, if maybe not good enough. The Cabinet and backbenchers are gutless and Brown will remain in power till the next election. Britain is then going to get 8 years of the thatcherite tories and then we will know again (as happened during the last tory government) what it is actually like to have a country hating a party.

Michael Heaver said...

Sorry Iain, but I thought this speech epitomised all that is wrong with British politics today. Choregraphed to hell, it was simply soundbite after soundbite with hardly any meat or genuine emotional involved, much the same as Mr. Cameron.

Compare today's speech to what is the best speech I have ever heard live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyOs_6GcetQ&feature=related

WORLD'S apart, no?

Anonymous said...

It needs minute analysis, to show the lies, distortions, etc. Take the Lords for instance, Bliar said he would reform it 12 years ago. Now they are keen on referendums, but would not give us one on the Lisbon Treaty.


Anonymous said...

So a speech is going to stop me having cancer a second time and get my kids through University without being £30K in debt and prevent them from being attacked and unprotected by the police and get me a job after being made redundant and on and on.

How thick do these people think we are?

Wait until the day of judgment comes - seems to be May,eh?

He has no courage to call it for now - why not?

Phil Walker said...

1/10? Please say it's lower than that!

Anonymous said...

I wrote this after Gordon's speech last year. It's just as relevant now so I'm giving it an airing again.

Gordon the Moron

I'm Gordon the Moron, I'll tell you a tale
I wasn't elected (I thought I might fail).
The job I am doing, I got on the nod
I'm known as a bully, In fact, I'm a sod.
But all that's no matter, I think I'm the best
I know you don't like me, but I think you jest
I don't understand why you cannot see
The wonderful leader that I think is me.

The economy's shaky, but that's not my fault
The bankers and stockbrokers messed up the vaults
They behaved irresponsibly, why I can't say
But it might have had something to do with the pay
No-one could predict it, especially not me
I was only the Chancellor, I cannot foresee
But now that they've blown it and the banks are all busted
Only I can improve things - I'm the man to be trusted.

And then there's our partners, the EUSSR
Stick with our comrades, we're bound to go far
I know I agreed that you'd all get a say
But I thought you might all go and vote the wrong way
I couldn't allow that, I'm sure you'll agree
That might have annoyed them - it WOULD annoy me
So that little promise just went by the by
It's only a Treaty (and that's just a lie).

Tax is an issue I think irks you all
But tax ONLY rises, it never does fall
Please God, forgive me, I know it's a sin
But the trick is to make it appear that some win
I usually manage to do this quite well
But last year's debacle even I couldn't sell
OK, so some lost out - it was only 10p
And that's not a lot - well it isn't to me.

I'm Gordon the Moron, and today in my speech
I tried to seem honest - I tried not to preach
I promised you freebies, I promised a lot
I promised with money that I haven't got
But always there are people who don't realise
That what comes out of my mouth are whopping great lies
It's part of the game, I won't keep my word
And you're only one of the great voting herd.

I AM the Prime Minister, I know better than you
The way you should live, and where you should go
If you should smoke and how much you should drink - -
(In the wrong place and you'll end up in Clink )
Take out your rubbish the way that you're told
Nanny knows best, and this nanny is bold
I'm Gordon the Moron, Big Brother to you
Do as I say - and not as I do.

bewick said...

Methinks Iain that he did NOT promise PR. What he appeared to be promising was the single transferrable vote (STV) which as a past student of Constitution seems to me to be the best solution to avoid hung Parliaments and avoid the Party which no-one wants actually in Government.

Then again I could be confused because I think he said "alternative vote" which I don't actually recognise. Maybe he's confused as well.
The rest - well more smoke and mirrors as usual.

Anonymous said...

gordo makes out cameron would scrap patients in the NHS getting to see GPs within two weeks for suspected cancer cases.why does he say this,cameron has not said he will scrap that pledge.

Anonymous said...

I thought the whole speech was classic Brown - an exercise in hollow cynicism and cliched desperation.

From Mrs "my family are people, not props" Brown onwards it was toe-curlingly atrocious.

Cameron's biggest asset is here to stay.

Paul said...

Wait for it to unravel. Every budget, every announcement, it always does.

Supposed "promises" that apply in incredibly limited circumstances. Money taken with one hand on the QT to give back. Reannounced policies. Policies that don't mean anything.

I give it two days.

Jules Wright said...

self-regarding, hubristic, arrogant tosh. so yes, a good speech for gordon.

guido is reporting now that the supervised homes policy for teenage mums as just delivered by brown is a direct lift of a debated motion at the BNP's party conference.

the workhouse in other words - or as guido pithily puts it - "gulags for slags". how about teaching young girls to keep their legs shut and young lads to keep it in their pants?

Ian Thorpe said...

Any speech that did not end in the anticipated public breakdown would have been hailed a success.

It seemed full of banalities, empty promises and pledges to spend (flips pinkie to corner of mouth in the manner of Dr. Evil) "One billion pounds" to fix every problem.
Very short on references to how much trouble the global economy is really in now the Chinese have stopped buying US bonds or exactly how bankrupt Britain is right now.

It was a losers face saving speech.

Dr Evadne said...

I was unable to stick with it beyond the nauseating Oscar style thank you's to Hattie Hairpiece and Capt. Darling. I will try again with the edited 10 o'clock news version and after a bottle of Co-op cabernet sauvignon. But all in all it had the makings of a real stinker.

Did he mention pensions per chance? I ask because I may end up without one after years of paying into a scheme which I have just been told is losing money because of the UK economic situation. 'Things can only get better'....yeah right.

Alan Peakall said...

The line Brown in taking on chaotic families makes me imagine a conversation between couple of Labour conference delegates thus:

"You know, to be honest, 'Back To Basics' was really a missed opportunity"

"Yes, if only we'd known about Edwina at the time"

Verbiage I have heard said...

I reckon Brown thinks that it will be a minority Tory government, hence his offer of A/V to see if he can tempt(again?) the LibDems into a Lib-Lab pact.

As for his ideas on 16 year old mothers ... It all sounds a little bit 'nasty party' stuff to me.

And how much is this new stealth tax at the age of 65 going to be?

Anonymous said...

brown is bonkers

if he becomes an elected pm i am moving to the isle of mann with my substantial fortune(what is left after this socialist)

not one mention of business or how he pays for this fantasy.
the ecomomist has us as the most indebted nation in the g 20.the whole new labour project is a tragic mistake,just like romania post liberalisation

Anonymous said...

Is this some sort of parallel universe where

the incumbent government of past 12 years are calling for change and offer themselves as the party to deliver it


the government who renaged on their manifesto promise on the Lisbon referendum bangs on about giving the people choice...


Javelin said...

1/10 !!!

I agree Brown has 2 chances.

Fat Chance and no Chance

Bill Quango MP said...

We seem to be of the same mind Mr Dale.

message in a bottler

Delivery 7
Content 4
Relevance 2

What did you make of Mrs Brown? Does she enhance or diminish the PM? Or does it just not matter?

Roy Judd said...

A very well delivered (for Brown) speech that will have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the next election. A tuneful swan song, nothing more.

mav said...

I think there might be a few big mistakes buried here. He only alluded to it, but if they are really going to scrap child care vouchers as the bbc reports, then that is effectively a tax rise for working families. They can try to dress it up an attack on the rich, but I'm not. They can pretend its for free child care, but my kids are over 2 and I'm not a low income parent either. I'm livid.
My instincts say this would hit the people who went to Labour in 97 very hard. This could be a game-changing mistake.

The Grim Reaper said...

It was a crap speech. He just droned on in a 59-minute monologue about what Labour had done in the past. Clearly, he hadn't listened to a word of what Peter Mandelson said yesterday - that Labour can't rely on its past record alone to get re-elected.

Mandy must sometimes wonder why he bothers.

It doesn't add up... said...

Does this mean he's giving Baroness Scotland an hereditary title?

John Chaytor said...


"having a power of recall over corrupt or dishonest MPs"

Didn't you see Dispatches (C4) in your hotel room last night??? Alex Thompson showed that the promise made by Gordon Brown in the commons (at the dispatch box) to tighten up MPs' expenses via an 'independent' authority has been watered down by MPs in the commons so that it is almost toothless.

"50,000 "chaotic" families"

Those of us who have contact with the "underclass" have known since at least the 1980s that the vast majority of crime and anti-social behavior is caused by a relatively small number of people/families.

The fact that the largely middle classes, who make up the judicial system, do not live in these areas mean that people with 50+ offences are still given cautions or suspended sentences. No wonder the police can't be arsed to track down and charge these people. They know that lilly livered judges (or magistrates) will let them off.

Has Gordon Brown only realised this after 12 years in Government?

I knew this 20 years ago as did all average people who lived in sink estates or near to sink estates.

As the C4 Dispatches program demonstrated last night.

The next scandal that needs to be brought into the limelight of publicity is the scandal of MPs trips abroad on 'fact finding missions'. They don't have to declare them. Make every effort to keep them secret and don't have to write a report afterwards to justify their free trip abroad at the tax payers' expense.

Is this bloke serious? Are the labour party serious?

jailhouselawyer said...

1/10 worth a few quid as an outsider coming first past the post for the last time, then PR.

Gerry57 said...

Here's an extract (?):
'We have achieved so much : we brought in the minimum wage and we pay it to our very own illegal immigrant cleaners'. We have improved schools. Thanks to increased truancy and bullying we've cut class sizes. We have more unqualified hapless teaching assisstants than ever before. By lowering pass marks we have had record numbers of pupils getting high grades. Discipline in schools has lapsed but pupils' human rights are sureley more important. We have brought sex education into primary schools and the results are there for all to see. Girls are getting pregnant much younger than under the Tories. We have provided these girls with creches in the schools. They can help each other there - much better for them than learning useless Tory subjects like History and Maths. We aim to get more and more school leavers into university and further education. It doesn't matter if they can't read or write - that is just discrimination.

We have given help to criminals by removing Police from the streets, giving criminals shorter sentences and early release - even the mentally impaired are now free to walk the streets. We have encouraged the binge culture with our 24 hour drinking laws which have sent a strong message to law-abiding citizens:- 'Stay in your homes !'.

We have helped people in debt by opening supercasinos - a chance for them to get out of debt - a small chance maybe, but a chance.

Yes, there are many people unemployed, but it would have been worse under the Tories. I've saved 500,000 jobs mostly by overmanning the civil services. A civil servant for every two members of the armed forces :- dedicated people to ensure our brave boys are well equipped..............'As Sarah said in the introduction to my speech, I love my country..........Scotland, which is why it is much better to live in Scotland than the rest of the UK who contribute massively to the Scottish economy. Soon Ireland will ratify the EU Lisbon Treaty and Tony Blair will achieve his lifelong ambition of being the first unelected President of Europe.
We will abolish Hereditary Peers and replace them with unelected Labour cronies - may of whom will no doubt serve in the government alongside Mandelson, Scotland, Adonis, Lady Kinnock, Lord Sugar etc., because we believe in democracy, especially for Middle East countries that don't want it.................(etc etc)

Martin S said...

I didn't hear the speech -I was at work- but I'd guess it went like this:

"Tories bad, Labour good. Give us your votes so we can finish the job. Tories would wreck all our hard work, blah, blah, blah."

He then re-announced and re-re-announced some old policies, pretending that they were new.

He then blamed everything on any but Labour and announced some major -but unfunded- government initiatives -aka bribes with which to make everyone vote Labour."

wv = alcoving

bladerunner86 said...

Teenage mums being managed in state homes? Next it will be concerntration camps and be shot at dawn... Seriously what would you consider a 'chaotic' family?

I can think of many people who come from two parent backgrounds and had a poor upbringing.

Anonymous said...

Among the achievements he listed "the cancelling of debt". How dare he? He may have cancelled other countries' debt, but he certainly hasn't cancelled ours!

Also, he looked like death warmed up. Perhaps he has stopped taking the pills.

Sweet and Tender Hooligan said...

"The promise of a referendum on PR was well received as was, of course, the promise to abolish all hereditary peers."

Electoral reform 101...

AV is not PR, it is no more proportional than FTTP.

Why do Tories support a system that leaves the thousands who vote tory in my area of Torfaen with a wasted vote?

World Innovation Foundation Blog said...

The most important issue in Brown's speech should have been the Economy as we all know. In this respect his main thrust was the government's innovation fund.
But where I have to say that the £1 billion innovation fund will do nothing for the economy and Britains' future. The reason, both Blair and Brown’s government were advised between 1997 and 1998 by many of the world's leading scientists, engineers and technologists to build a 'science city' to provide for the UK's future but where they completely ignored their world leading advice. Another reason is that the government's innovation unit has people who do not understand the dynamics of innovation, have not the knowledge or skills to pick winning new technologies and cannot see the woods for the trees. We know as we dealt with them for two years and where career senior civil servants have not a clue about innovation. Indeed, the £1 billion fund will go the same way as the £15 billion spent by the regional development agencies over the past 7-years and where they have created nothing according to independent analysis. This study determined that they should be scrapped as it was a complete waste of money. The reason again, they have not the right people running the show who are competent in creating new industrial bases. So folks, don't put all your faith in this innovation fund as it will totally fail the British people as all others have done over the past 12 years. The 'old boy' network is still working well and where even a Linguist can still run such a fund as in the case of the NESTA if people investigate - the pre-runner that heralded so much in 1998 but created nothing of any real substance.

Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation

Anonymous said...

Actually, it was quite a good speech by the abysmal standards we have come to expect from Brown. It will have no affect on most people.

As I watched it I alternated from shouting with rage to laughing with incredulity punctuated with bouts of boredom as I wondered how quickly the small print will be exposed.

Blair made a similar promise on cancer years ago. At the time I was shagging a bird whose husband had died of cancer. How she laughed at this fatuous NuLab nonsense.

He said the manifesto would include a promise for a referandum on AV. The 1997 manifesto promised a referandum on electoral reform, not just AV; the last manifesto promised a referandum on the Lisbon constitution. Lie after
meaningless promise from this bunch of lying traitors.

John Chaytor said...

Dr David Hill.

Can you please provide links for the assertions you make.

I don't doubt you, but I'm surprised that you did not provide links automatically to backup your points.

What sort of Dr are you?