“It is the fighters and believers who change the world. We’ve changed the world before and we will change it again.”
I’m listening to Gordon Brown’s conference speech in Brighton, using the wonder of internet streaming. Brown has come out fighting and I have to say a lot of what he says makes a lot of sense. I know many people believe that Labour does not stand a chance of being re-elected under his leadership, and this may be the case. Gordon Brown has made mistakes as PM and Chancellor, but I can’t help wonder where the UK would have been had another political party been in power at the time of the credit crunch.
For all his faults, Brown responded quickly during the credit crisis, and with strong leadership. It could even be argued that he saved the day. He had two choices: adopt a laissez-faire policy and allow the markets to correct themselves, risking jobs losses and a slump into a depression; or, bail out the banks by coordinating a global response at the G20 summit and pumping millions of pounds into the failing finance system. We know which one he chose and I think many people can be relieved that they have their jobs today, because he made a swift actions. Although on the downside we are going to be paying for this decision for at least the next ten years. The reality – there was no easy solution. Both choices available to Brown a year ago had negative ramifications. He was in many ways dammed if he did, dammed if he didn’t.
It looks unlikely, based on current polls, that Brown will be able to pull a re-election out of the bag on the back of a powerful speech, but I sense from the tone at the conference that it will not be as easy an election win as the Torries want us to believe.
Gordon Brown has identified one issue that may be critical to his chances, connecting with people’s changing values. If he is able to do this and connect with the prevailing mood of Britain he may yet pull off one of the most unlikely political come backs. Mr Brown will be hoping his speech today can change that sentiment before the general election campaign begins. We will have to wait and see, it is going to be an interesting election