Posted by: secretperson | September 23, 2008

Brown Conference Speech – My Thoughts

I’m sure there will be plenty of in depth political analysis, and from brighter brains than mine, of Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour party conference. But the joy of blogging is the ability to rant on about politics without being the pub bore! So I am going to comment on what our great leader had to say.

I want to talk with you today about who I am, what I believe, what I am determined to lead this party and this great country to achieve.

As we gather here today I know people have real concerns about the future of the country, the future of the economy and people in this hall have concerns about the future of our party too.

And so I want to answer your questions directly, to talk with you about how amidst all the present difficulties we should be more confident than ever that we can build what I want to talk to you about today. A new settlement for new times. A fair Britain for the new age.

A new age? I know it’s hard to sound fresh after eleven years in power, but this financial crisis is going to have to get slightly more serious to convince me we are entering some new age. Also look out for the word fair. It might pop up again. And again.

But let me start with something I hope you know already.

I didn’t come into politics to be a celebrity or thinking I’d always be popular. Perhaps, that’s just as well. No, 25 years ago I asked the people of Fife to send me to parliament to serve the country I love.

And I didn’t come to London because I wanted to join the establishment, but because I wanted and want to change it.

I believe you Gordon about the celebrity thing. Which country do you love though? Britain or Scotland? You wanted to change the establishment when Thatcher was in power, but you are the establishment now Barack. I mean Gordon.

So I’m not going to try to be something I’m not.

Competent? A young, black, Illinois senator?

And if people say I’m too serious, quite honestly there’s a lot to be serious about – I’m serious about doing a serious job for all the people of this country.

Use a thesaurus, seriously.

What angers me and inspires me to act is when people are treated unfairly.

So when people share with me stories about the hard time they’re having with bills, I want to help, because I was brought up seeing my parents having to juggle their budget like the rest of us.

But not like David Cameron, presumably.

And when I talk to parents about schools, I’m determined that every child should have a good school, because while I got my break in a great local secondary, not all my friends got the chance to get on.

And when I speak to victims of crime I get angry – because like them I know the difference between right and wrong.

Careful Mr Brown, people might point out how we are slipping down international school league tables. Or how it seems any victim of crime who stands up for what they believe in and fights back ends up in the cell rather than the criminal.

And so here I am – working for this incredible country, while trying as far as possible to give my children an ordinary childhood. Some people have been asking why I haven’t served my children up for spreads in the papers. And my answer is simple. My children aren’t props; they’re people.

Quite right too, your children aren’t props, but has anyone seriously been saying that you should use them as such? Guess that’s aimed at David Cameron whose disabled son has been listed as a political inspiration by the Tory Leader. Don’t worry though, Gordon has his own sob stories.

And where I’ve made mistakes I’ll put my hand up and try to put them right. So what happened with 10p stung me because it really hurt that suddenly people felt I wasn’t on the side of people on middle and modest incomes – because on the side of hard-working families is the only place I’ve ever wanted to be. And from now on it’s the only place I ever will be.

I still can’t believe anyone fell for that “tax cut” in the first place, just because it is called the basic rate. And only a year later did anyone in Labour speak out, when they were unpopular. Plus Brown must know rather than reversing it he compensated everyone, on borrowed money which must be paid back later in tax, and left some of the poorest still down?

And so I want to give the people of this country an unconditional assurance – no ifs, no buts, no small print – my unwavering focus is taking this country through the challenging economic circumstances we face and building the fair society of the future.

The British people would not forgive us if at this time we looked inwards to the affairs of just our party when our duty is to the interests of our country.

The people of Britain would never forget if we failed to put them first – and friends, they’d be right.

Don’t have a leadership contest, you’d be letting the people down if you got rid of me.

And because this is a time of greater than ever change around us, it must be a time of higher ambition from us. And because the world of 2008 is now so different from the world of 1997 I want to talk about the new settlement we must build for these new times.

Forget the last eleven years please. New game now, old score doesn’t count.

You know, each generation believes it is living through changes their parents could never have imagined – but the collapse of banks, the credit crunch, the trebling of oil prices, the speed of technology, and the rise of Asia – nobody now can be in any doubt that we are in a different world and it’s now a global age.

In truth, we haven’t seen anything this big since the industrial revolution. This last week will be studied by our children – as the week the world was spun on its axis – and old certainties were turned on their heads.

And in these uncertain times, we must be, we will be, the rock of stability and fairness upon which people stand.

I think hyperbole is the word! Nothing this big since the industrial revolution? Two World Wars, Mr Brown. The end of the British Empire, the rise and fall of communism? Unless this turns out to be the end of capitalism some of your Labour colleagues desire I think you are exaggerating a little!

OK I was going to do the whole thing like this, but it is bloody long. You get the idea, fairness, new times etc. I’ll just skip to the more interesting parts.

But our duty, what gives us moral purpose, is serving the people who need us most- Britain’s vast majority – people on middle and modest incomes who need to know that they are not on their own amidst this change – we are on their side.

‘Middle and modest incomes’ again? Not a catchy phrase, but I suppose an attempt to put the middle and working classes together against the Toffs.

We are and will always be a pro-enterprise, pro-business and pro-competition government. And we believe the dynamism of our five million businesses large and small is vital to the success of our country.

Oh careful, that’s the left half of the party gone.

And just as those who supported the dogma of big government were proved wrong, so too those who argue for the dogma of unbridled free market forces have been proved wrong.

And so it falls to this party and to this government, with its commitment both to fairness and to business, to propose and deliver what after recent events everyone should now be willing to accept – that we do all it takes to stabilise the still turbulent financial markets and then in the months ahead we rebuild the world financial system around clear principles. And friends the work begins tomorrow.

Sounds like a compromise, some might say a Third Way. But rebuilding the world financial system, he lacks no ambition!

And it’s not just our duty but our basic philosophy that we do everything we can to help families through the world downturn. And while the Conservatives did nothing to help people with their gas and electricity bills in the last world downturn, this winter, millions of people will receive the help with heating bills, insulation, social tariffs – help they never received from the Conservatives.

But you know, when it comes to public spending you can’t just wave a magic wand to conjure up the money – not even with help from Harry Potter.

Conservative bashing time. But surely the last world down turn wasn’t as serious as the biggest change since the industrial revolution? And is that a joke I see before me, the punchline towards my hand? Come on Gordon, be more serious.

And just as families have to make economies to make ends meet, so this government must and will ensure that we get value for money out of every single pound of your money that is spent.

Can I recommend a phone call to the Tax Payer’s Alliance for some advice on this.

With Britain’s great assets – our stability, our openness, our scientific genius, our creative industries, and yes our English language – I know that this can be a British century and I’m determined it will be.

He said English! I’m surprised he hasn’t renamed it the British language yet. A British century? Brilliant, like the 19th all over again!

Quick cliche stop, these words make up half the whole speech: “new times”, “global age”, “empower people with opportunities”, “hard work, effort and enterprise”. Onward…

And for the first time ever we’ve got more British pensioners than British children – more people living longer on fixed incomes and worried about whether they’ll need long term care. And so we will be the party that will ensure security and dignity for pensioners.

British pensioners in England might be more worried about long term care than those in Scotland where you don’t have to sell your home.

“three million more people in work since 1997” – mostly from abroad. “one million small and medium-sized businesses set up in the last eleven years” – credit for Brown when they open, as they close in these “difficult times” will he accept responsibility? “240,000 lives that are saved by the progress Labour’s NHS has made in fighting cancer and heart disease” – lives are prolonged, not saved, but I’m just being pedantic now. The minimum wage was good.

Fairness – “fairness is why Harriet is introducing the first ever equalities bill” first ever, thank god it will become illegal to discriminate on grounds of sex or race, for the first time ever! Oh no she’s re-legalising it. Fairness, fairness, fairness. Naming all his cabinet ministers, thinking please don’t resign.

Labour is the party of the NHS – we created it, we saved it, we value it and we always will support it.

And you know already that for me, this isn’t a political agenda but a personal mission. Last year in Bournemouth I told you how when I was 16, I got injured playing rugby and lost the sight forever in my left eye. I knew I couldn’t play football or rugby anymore. But I could still read.

See I told you he had a sob story too. Some more NHS achievements. Mainly putting in lots of money.

But alongside new patient responsibilities will be new rights. And because we know that almost every British family has been touched by cancer, Alan Johnson and I know we must do more to relieve the financial worry that so often goes alongside the heartache. And so I can announce today for those in our nation battling cancer from next year you will not pay prescription charges.

You didn’t mention any patient responsibilities Gordon, you just told us how much money you had invested. And ‘our nation’! No-one in Wales pays prescription charges, the SNP are phasing them out in Scotland. What you mean is “I can announce today for those in England battling cancer from next year you will not pay prescription charges, same as everyone however ill in Scotland and Wales”.

Tough on welfare, tough on crime, things “typical evil Tories” might also say. We’ll wait for the policies shall we.

So across the board, we will create rules that reward those who play by them and punish those who don’t. That’s what fairness means to me.

That sounds fair to me too, Mr Brown. I just don’t believe you will fulfil it.

And just think where our country would be if we’d listened to them. No paternity leave, no New Deal, no bank of England independence, no Sure Start, no devolution, no civil partnerships, no minimum wage, no new investment in the NHS, no new nurses, no new police, no new schools.

And so let’s hear no more from the Conservatives – we did fix the roof while the sun was shining.

Ooh he said England. Bank of England is actually British though, shame the only use of the word is misleading! And the last sentence, just deny everything!

And just think if we’d taken their advice on the global financial crisis. Their policy was to let Northern Rock fold and imperil the whole financial system, our Labour government saved Northern Rock so not a single UK depositor lost out.

But every single taxpayer lost out funding it.

Everyone knows that I’m all in favour of apprenticeships, but let me tell you this is no time for a novice.

This will be the big line from the speech. If only as people discuss whether it was aimed at Cameron or Milliband.

Some bashing Tory spending cuts. At least a clear line is being drawn here.

And just as we celebrated our national triumph when we won the 2012 games for London, so too were Andy Burnham, Tessa Jowell and I, along with all of you, filled with pride this summer as our Olympic and Paralympics heroes showed British brilliance at its best.

That’s why for all the challenges, I don’t believe Britain is broken – I think it’s the best country in the world. I believe in Britain.

And stronger together as England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland we can make our United Kingdom even better.

Yes, vote Labour for Britain to win at sports.

And David Miliband, Douglas Alexander and I will do everything in our power to bring justice and democracy, to Burma, to Zimbabwe and to Darfur.

I thought for a moment Miliband wasn’t getting a name drop! Far be it from me to bring up Iraq now, as Gordon won’t mention that when he talks of bringing democracy! (more fairness, more new times)

United we are a great movement led by hopes not fears, gathered person by person – one individual, and then a few more, then hundreds, then thousands, then finally millions strong, a movement where I want each of us to say to each other:

This is our country, Britain. We are building it together, together we are making it greater;

Together we are building the fair society in this place and in this generation.

The mission of our times- the fair society, the cause that drives us on – and we will win, not for the sake of our party, together we will win for the future of our country.

And I’m spent. Full text here. Sorry Gordon, nice words, nice ideals, but after eleven years I am not convinced more taxes, spending, regulation and bureaucracy are the way forward!



  1. Where did you get your blog layout from? I’d like to get one like it for my blog.

  2. “What angers me and inspires me to act is when people are treated unfairly”

    I hate it – I really hate it!!~ I agree with Gordon Brown!!!!


    and I’m English and I know something about being treated unfairly – you pathetic lying son of symbolicly unwed parents! – May your nights be made hideous with the cursing of Elizabet of England you pitiful little man.

    May you dream of lamp posts and halters – may you waken with panic as the vision of the future mangles your remaining brain.

    The English are revolting and they’re coming for you.

  3. Stacey – it’s called Ocean Mist and comes automatically with

  4. Great summary. But if I can add, in terms of his “fairness” agenda. That the people that will have to the highest pay for his initiatives is the majority, not the minorities he loves so much.

    I am referring, of course, to the people that do not earn enough money to benefit from tax credits and other benefits. And those that do not earn so much, that they can shrug off any downturn. In other words the vast majority of us, he might also call us floating voters, watch our Mr Brown, we have long memories, so its no good sucking up to us at election time.

  5. Nice post – go along with a lot of your comments.

    Wasn’t it a torture to watch/listen to though?

    Overall Brown did a very professional bull-shit job. Only the feeble minded will have been swayed by it.

  6. […] Poll Bounce For Brown Gordon Brown’s speech and the Labour party conference in general have boosted Labour in the polls from 20% behind the […]

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