Alex Massie

Gordon & The Last Chance Speech

Text settings

Fraser says that the Labour conference in Brighton is like an Irish wake: People are happy to see each other, but sad at the circumstances of the gathering. Shouldn't that be the other way round? At least you know what you're supposed to feel at a funeral; there's none of the bittersweet sensation that can accompany a wedding, nor any nagging suspicion that the party has gathered to celebrate a terrible mistake.

So, Gordon Brown has it all to do. It is, once again, the Most Important Speech of His Political Life. As Iain Martin points out, We've Been Here Before:

We are told that Brown must demonstrate his party is really back in the fight with the Tories. To pull this off he must make the speech of his life, apparently. Last year he was set a similar challenge. Then he had to vanquish the coup-plotters who wanted a change of leader.

The year before, in 2007, he was speaking to conference on the verge of calling a general election he cancelled ten days later. There was much excitement. He was going to lay out his vision for Britain in what would be the speech of his life. In the event it was an absolute howler, which sounded as though the words and phrases had been chosen at random from a collection of Brown’s previous speeches. Quite so. It's been a while since I live-blogged anything, but perhaps it's time to fire the engines up one more time and give it a go again. So, pop in to enjoy the fun in a couple of hours time...

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articlePoliticslabour party