Labour: Brown maintaining continuity?

From Gary Kent in Manchester:

The long awaited speech from Gordon Brown went down very well with delegates. It struck me as straightforward – yes, have had differences with Tony but they both regretted the distraction such differences had caused. It maintained continuity with major New Labour themes – withstanding terror and resisting anti-Americanism, plus reform to personalise services (with a hint of charging for doctors’ appointments). It was green and strongly moral in tone.

As the conclusion promised that the “good society” can and will be built – I started to think of Blake’s words “in England’s green and pleasant land” to the tune of Jerusalem.

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  • Pete Baker

    To paraphrase

    Having a lovely time, wish you were here.

    Went down very well with delegates?

    Of course it did, Gary… They saw what happens to hecklers last year.

  • johnie

    I think that Gorden Brown is a complete wally and will not be any better than Blair. Hain spelt in today when he said Brown would not have the same interest in NI which is quite true.

    He will tax us all into oblivion. Hopefully local political parties will be able to restore the Assembly and tell Brown to take a hike if he so happens to make it to No10.

    It is becoming clearer that the UK Government hve no interest in Northern Ireland as will off load us to the Irish Government at the drop of a hat if they coud get away with it. Just watch and see what happens if if the egotistical Gordon Brown gets to No10.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Where has he been for the last 10 years, obvioulsy his mind is becoming over tired as he seems to have totally forgotten all the things he did as Chancellor – we haven’t.

    Or then again I’m dreaming and will wake up in a shower……………..

  • Mick Fealty

    FD,

    Maybe so. I hear a lot of muttering about stealth taxes. But there is another side to that, which is what you spend it on.

    *All* the schools in one small Dorset market town have been refurbished. One, after 25 years being housed in temporary buildings has finally been built.

    Methinks tax burdens may not be the last word on whether the Chancellor has done a good job or not. Unless the Tories can find a way to cut taxes and provide decent services, their big sticks will not add up to much come polling day.

    Selling water monopolies, for instance, to the likes of Enron was not one of their better moves. Especially in the light of chronic underinvestment in its simple maintainance programmes.

    Tax needs to tackled straight on. But no one seems, inside or outside government seems to have the intellectual confidence to take the Chancellor on.

  • Garibaldy

    Continuity. Seeing as Brown held all the other departments firmly by the pursestrings, it was, apart from foreign policy, always as much his government as Blair’s.

    Mick, I hope you’re right that the Tories will make littleheadway. I do worry about the electorate’s reciptivity to media spin though.

  • Mick Fealty

    “…hope you’re right that the Tories will make littleheadway”.

    I didn’t say that Gari. The Labour party just need to get back into another series of ‘bitchfights’ and they will hand everything over to the Tories.

    If the Tories have to struggle further to confront some of these policy conundrums before taking power, it may make for a better government.

    If Labour effectively just hands them the keys, then I can’t see much long term promise in the next Conservative government other than a hollowed out Blairism.

  • Garibaldy

    Mick,

    Poorly chosen words on my part.

    I think that any Cameron government will talk the language of a hollowed-out Blairism, but in reality will be a very different beast. The key difference is that even the most extreme Blairite has a genuine commitment to public services. The same cannot be said of the majority of Tory MPs or Tory activists. I doubt very much that we can say it about Cameron, and even less so about the people who surround him, especially in the shadow Treasury. That’s the fundamental difference between the two, and Cameron and co remain locked in a differing mindset.

    I think Labour will win the next election, but the margin of victory is very unpredictable at this point – it could be bigger than it is now, or be tiny. If Brown reconnects with the traditional constituecy, then more votes will come, but I’m not sure they will be in enough swing constituencies to make much difference to the number of MPs. Given that it is highly unlikely Brown will pull out of Iraq/Afghanistan, it will be hard to make much headway there, although if he plays it smart and says mistakes were made but have to be lived with then it might make quite a big difference. Labour is almost certain to lose the election after that due to boredom and Tory revival. But how far to the centre-left the Tories have to become will depend on Brown’s majority at the next election.

    Interesting times.

  • Elvis Parker

    Garibaldy – your belief in Labour ability to revive to the point where they could win the next election is touching – but not shared by anyone with in depth knowledge of the GB politcal scene

  • Garibaldy

    Elvis,

    I think there’s still a significant fund of goodwill towards Labour, especially as people are fairly happy with the economy, and to a lesser extent with the investment in education and health. The war, and incompetence and corruption, has put a serious dent in Blair for many, but he also remains very popular. If Brown is able to present his government as new faces and some new ideas while still good on the economy etc, then I think there’s still a few more years in this government.

    As for those with in-depth knowledge of the GB political scene, at a quick glance I see Labour are evens for the next election with Paddy Power.

  • Garibaldy

    I should add Tories are 8-11, so Labour at the minute are expected to lose, but are not seen as being in an irredeemable situation by any means.

  • Crataegus

    Mick

    Good points in the end you set the standard of service you expect and then you simply pay for it. There is no magic wand and much of the expenditure is fixed in terms of salaries, running costs etc. Perhaps one area would be to consider less control and monitoring and giving ‘line managers’ more responsibility and power.

    However if you want a service you got to pay be the tax a stealth tax or by plain boring old income tax.

    In many ways I would be on the right in matters economic, but there is such a lot of nonsense from free marketers about privatising everything that moves. There is a limit to all good ideas, which when you exceed it becomes plain daft. I often wonder if any of the people pontificating have ever tried to work on large contracts with the newly created Private monopoly service providers? It is hell. At least with the state variety you could go to the local Politian and generally they weren’t out to extort. Private monopolies are much worse than state monopolies.

    Garibaldy

    My money is on a hung parliament so the Lib Dems become king maker with PR the price and some other measures probably vaguely on the Environment to make them look of wider relevance. PR and a few cabinet seats and they will be happy.

    Conservatives will do well in the South and reverse the tide from them to the Lib-Dems but in the North they are starting too far behind. The biggest problem for Labour is low activist morale and the longer Blair hangs around the less the possibility for revival in time for the election.

  • Garibaldy

    Crat,

    A hung Parliament is possible, but Campbell is worse than a nonentity, and I think that when push comes to shove on the prospect of a Tory victory, many people will go back to Labour. I think a tiny Labour majority more likely than a hung Parliament.

    I agree that the Tories will make practically no impact in the north, nor I would say in Soctland or Wales. The SNP has opportunities but failed to take them last time.

    On the timing of Blair going, I’m not sure. I think every new leader gets a bounce, and so if Blair goes not too soon, then this I think will carry Brown over the threshold in the general election. When Blair goes, people will come back to Labour activism, assuming Brown handles the foreign wars deftly. The nearer Blair goes to an election the less chance they will be disillusioned by Brown before the election.

  • Crataegus

    Garibaldy

    I suppose if Blair goes after next May the disaster of the elections will be on his shoulders.

  • joe

    seems that Brown will continue with the slaughter in Iraq & Afghanistan

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Labour policies are tax and spend (in the case of new labour very badly on most occasions).

    I believe in a light hand on the tiller with minimum government intervention and then only for those who NEED it not WANT it.

    God knows if it takes Cameron to get rid of New Labour then so be it, I wouldn’t be a fan but anything is better than New Labour actions of the last 10 years.