James Forsyth

Brown’s speech fails to convince Brighton

Brown's speech fails to convince Brighton
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The mood here in Brighton is pretty flat. In contrast to last year, no one really believes that Gordon Brown’s speech has changed anything. I’m sure he’ll get a bit of a bump in the polls: a YouGov poll finds that 63 percent of viewers thought the speech was good or excellent. But Labour still lacks a coherent domestic policy message with which to go to the country.

On a process point, I’m puzzled by why Labour had Brown speak today. They need to milk this conference for all it is worth and that means they should have had Brown speak on Thursday. They are going to find it far harder to get media coverage for the rest of the week now.

The Tories I have spoken to about the speech are pretty satisfied, they’re confident there is no game changer in it. Indeed, in terms of electoral strategy they’re puzzled why Brown is trying to make the NHS a dividing line when the Tories are (regrettably, to my mind) committed to ring-fencing the NHS budget and Labour isn’t.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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