Monday, September 25, 2006

Brown's Speech

It wasn't a great speech, but it was probably good enough. It must have pained him to say that "it has been a privilege for me to work with, and for, the most successful Labour Prime Minister.."; at which point, apparently, Cherie Blair walked out, remarking "Well, that's a lie". He sort of half-apologised for the events of the last weeks ("...I regret it and I know Tony does too..."). There was, I noticed, a sly dig at Alan Johnson (speaking of his own background Brown mused, "...I don't romanticise my upbringing"). There was also an indication that he will try to make his own mark on Government ("because the challenges are different the programme for Government will be different"). There was a concession to the centre-left (he said it is necessary to recognize "both the limits of markets and the limits of the state", but coming from Brown the PFI enthusiast this probably doesn't mean much). He seems to recognize that the attempts to make him more "touchy-feely" are foolish (he referred to himself as "a quite private person" and said government needed "something more substantial" than "celebrity" and "image"). He name-checked Johnson and Hutton among others. He said he was proud to be "Scottish and British". And there was a lot about Labour values and helping the disadvantaged, which is the sort of thing conference likes. But it Cherie's strop that reveals the true state of affairs. Behind the smiles and handshakes the "war of the Labour succession" is set to continue. Yet I can't see any of the likely Blairite challengers stopping Brown.


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