Peter Hoskin

No surprises – and much Tory-bashing – in Brown’s Big Speech

No surprises – and much Tory-bashing – in Brown's Big Speech
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Move along, now – there's nothing to see here.  Or rather, reading Gordon Brown's Big Speech, there's nothing that you hadn't already seen in the papers, or that you wouldn't have expected to see anyway.  The four election themes got a mention.  Labour's record in government was pushed and promoted to the point of absurdity.  Words like "new", "fair" and "change" were flung around like so much confetti.  And no election date was given.  No alarms, no surprises.

More than anything, Brown set about attacking the Tories on every conceivable level.  He caricatured Cameron & Co. as a party of privilege and wealth, who are more concerned about fox-hunting than reform, and who are still peddling the "same old Conservative economics of the 1980s".  Much of the attack came in the form of a new plea: "Take a second look at us ... and a long, hard look at them."  You can expect to hear that plenty of times over the next few weeks.  Ditto Brown's overtures to "mainstream Britain".

If you were feeling charitable to the PM, you might say that he delivered the speech with more warmth and confidence than usual.  And it did contain some decent lines, looked at in isolation.  But you wonder how far he can really get by throwing stones at the Tories, when it's his government which has presided over one of the most spectacular busts in our history.  That, I guess, is a question which only the election can answer.