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Labour conference 2009. Gordon Brown speech.

Gordon Brown’s conference speech was all about undoing previous Labour policies.

And I promise no compulsory identity cards under Labour, even thought it was this government that initially proposed them. We will intorduce free personal care for the elderly even though we have opposed it for the last decade despite a Royal Commission recommendation. And comrades, we will challenge the bankrupt ideology of the free market, put morals back in the market and end the reckless risk-taking of bankers, even though this government has been an ardent advocate of neo-liberalism and was responsible for the “light touch” regulation of the City of London.

My values are free eductaion, even though it was this government that introduced university tuition fees. We will put the post office at the heart of a new network of communitt banking, even though this government wanted to privatise the Royal Mail. And we will introduce a fiscal responsibility act even though we have presided over the biggest increase in public borrowing since world war two. We will abolish hereditary peers, despite dithering over it for the last thirteen years and we will finally have the referendum on PR which we were promised Paddy Ashdown in 1997……

And so it went on. If there were prizes for political hypocrisy, Gordon Brown’s conference speech in Brighton would win hands down. An astonishing catalogue of policy announcements almost all of which were designed to counter previous Labour policies. It’s incredible. Gordon is fighting against himself. Who was it that brought in identity cards? Who has been the biggest cheer-leader for the financial sector? Who has opposed free personal care, free higher education, a national investment bank.

And then there was the fight against the single mothers and the causes of single mothers. Labour has been insisting that, contrary to Tory claims, society isn’t “broken”. So here comes Gordon to fix it with special state homes for single mums, “familiy interventions squads” and all manner of draconian and almost certainly unowrkable policies to control irresponsible behaviour. As if ASBOs weren’t lesson enough, he is going to legislate against being young.

As for cuts – there aren’t going to be any, it seems, because all Gordon Brown talked about were spending promises. He said that the choice was between Tory cuts and Labour’s “continued investment in front line services”. The Tories were cutting, he said, because “they like it”. He will just spend spend spend, on free care for under two year olds, for better cancer treatment,for social care, more apprenticeships better education. In the crisis, Brown said, the Tories “showed their hand and showed they had no heart” Brown clearly thinks most of us have no brains.

After all, he has promised a Fiscal Responsibility Act which will cut the deficit in four years. We are heading for 12% public borrowing next year, when the Maastricht rules say governmnets should borrow only 3% of GDP. So, how is he going to cut public borrowing and boost public spending at the same time? He doesn’t know, hasn’t a clue. The prime minister condemns the financial services economy that he has created over the last thirteen years, but he hasn’t a clue how to change it now, or what to change it into. British manufacturing has been sold abroad and we can’t all cut each other’s hair.

Markets do indeed need morals, but so do politicians. Gordon Brown said that politicians who don’t behave properly should be subject to recall by their constituents. Absolutely – it’s time for the compulsory recall of Gordon Brown.

About iain2macwhirter

I am a columnist for the Herald and Sunday Herald. Author of "Road to Referendum" and "Disunited Kingdom. Was a BBC TV and radio presenter for 25years - "Westminster Live" and "Holyrood Live" . Spent time as columnist for The Observer, Guardian, New Statesman etc... Former Rector of Edinburgh University. Live in Edinburgh and spend a lot of time in the French Pyrenees.


One thought on “Gordon Brown’s conference speech was all about undoing previous Labour policies.

  1. Excellent Article Iain. I see too that he borrows some policies from the hated Scottish Government err Executive.He is, of course, making all these promises of no cuts to frontline services and fiscal prudence, because, a bit like Cleggy the week before, he knows he will never have to put them into practice. He should have said something about wanting to be Prime Minister then we could have giggled as we did when Nick said it.You're right of course, in order to get the grass roots on board again, he's had to promise to undo nearly all Labour's policies over the past 13 years.Goodbye Mr Brown.

    Posted by tris | October 1, 2009, 11:25 am

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