Gordon Brown

After yet another week at work where I again started to lose all faith in humanity, it was quite startling to find myself sitting down to watch Gordon Brown’s speech to the Labour Party this afternoon, on becoming party leader. I know he’s a politician and so will doubtless do the opposite of what he says within the month, but he articulated some of the fundamental beliefs that lay at my core:

"…each and every one of us has a
talent, each and every one of us should have the chance to develop their
talent, and that each of us should use whatever talents we have to
enable people least able to help themselves… My conviction that everyone deserves a fair chance in life. My conviction that each of us has a responsibility to each other. And my conviction that when the strong help the weak, it makes us all stronger. Call it ‘the driving power of social conscience’,
call it ‘the better angels of our nature’, call it ‘our moral sense’,
call it a belief in ‘civic duty’."

One thing that’s always stood out about Brown, is that where Blair and Cameron are opportunists, Brown is an intellectual politican. He’s done the studying; he’s written the tracts, the books and the treatises. He does have a genuinely socialist backbone. How he tempers that backbone with realism – Brown’s a huge champion of PPP – is perhaps another thing, and we’ve all seen what happens when a Prime Minister goes off on a "I’m right and you’re wrong" trip. (Hello Tony! Iraq, you say? Yes dear, that will be your precious ‘legacy’.)

BBC News 24 cut to a shot of Blair and Prescott as Brown was saying this:
"And because these are the values of our party too the party I lead must have more than a set of policies – we must have a soul."
and their faces looked like thunder. I actually laughed out loud.

Looks like academy schools are firmly on the agenda. *sigh*
"In the coming weeks the
Education Secretary will announce how in support of world class schools
we will bring together business, universities, colleges and the
voluntary sector. Every secondary school – trusts, specialists or
academies – linked to a business, every school linked to a college or

Also quite interesting was the turn of phrase:
"I am proud that in this
generation Britain will uphold an NHS free at the point of use,
available to all on the basis of need, not ability to pay."
Though it did turn into "free at the point of need" a few paragraphs later on… to my untutored mind, Brown was saying something quite different to the "free at the point of entry" Dr Crippen talks of. Probably a slip of the speechwriter’s pen. The rest of the NHS section speech was the same old yap we always hear – better hygiene, better care for the elderly – that if it was so very dear to the government’s heart would surely have had something done about it by now; and some gubbins about "putting more power locally in the hands of patients and staff." Sounds like the dodgy NHS Choice to me.

I dunno. We’ll see. It was still a small ray of light in an otherwise gloomy day of being very pessimistic.


2 responses to “Gordon Brown

  1. kate June 25, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Interesting point re: the distinction between ‘free at the point of NEED’, ‘USE’ and ‘ENTRY’. The Guardian is quoting the key promise as:
    ‘I propose … we discuss a new settlement for a modern NHS free at the point of need.’
    In terms of introducing market reforms to the demand side in healthcare, you can see how the distinction between ‘free at the point of need’ and ‘free at the point of use’ could pan out …

  2. Rachel June 25, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    *sigh* Can’t you just…

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