The Spectator

Brown’s agenda

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The school motto of Kirkcaldy High School: “I will try my utmost”. That was the principle which Gordon Brown promised to make the foundation of his work as Prime Minister. It is up there with Boxer’s “I will work harder” in Animal Farm. But this was the son of the Manse speaking from the heart. The days of Cool Britannia are a distant memory. Only Stakhanovites need apply.

There were five main themes in the new PM’s brief address, all of which have been roadtested during his tour of the country:

1). Strength: “steady in purpose”, “steadfast”, “resolute in purpose” – that is, in contrast to the limp, purposeless Tories.

2). Aspiration: opportunities spread, talents fulfilled – that is, in contrast, to the out-of-touch Tory toffs

3). Listening and learning: “I will continue to listen and learn from the British people” – that is, I am no longer a Stalinist.

4). A Government of all the talents: after the offer to Ashdown and the defection of Quentin Davies everyone is waiting to hear what is next. See Fraser’s post below. Interviewed on College Green, Sir Menzies Campbell seemed embarrassingly uncertain whether any members of the party he leads will, indeed, be in the new administration. Party politics has not been so fluid for thirty years.

5). Change: “I have heard the need for change”, “a new government with new priorities” – that is, I am the change, not Dave. 

It’s just words, of course. Will it look far-sighted or absurd a year from now?