"The rather muted ovation reminded us that the audience had grown used
to Blair style oratory, which they won’t hear for a while now. Anyway,
I can now understand why cabinet members were told to keep their
speeches unsparky, and limited to seven minutes. It would be very, very
easy to outshine that." But that’s the point, Fraser, he doesn’t want to excite. He wants us to think he’s the substantial but slightly dull guy that will put things right following that PR-obsessed Blair.
Ben Brogan: "Mr Brown wrapped himself in the values of small-c conservative Middle Britain, with references to discipline, respect, responsibility, citizenship, patriotism and hard work. It was a direct appeal to almost old-fashioned virtues, those he believes are shared by Tories out there who are not convinced that Mr Cameron is their cup of tea." I hope the Mail isn’t going to write the speech up like that. The Blair-Brown years haven’t encouraged these things in any consistent ways. If the Mail won’t say that, who will?
Nick Robinson: "Not since the era of his new friend Margaret Thatcher have the words ‘Britain’ or ‘Britishness’ been used so often – 71 times, as it happens. Not since her day have there been so many references to conviction, to discipline and to responsibility. He even went so far as to promise to deliver her hugely controversial dream – that people in the NHS should be able to see the doctor they want, at the hospital they want." Yes, Nick, but he’s undoing Thatcherism with his stealthy redistribution and increases in state dependency – increases in state dependency that are happening during relatively good economic times!
Guido: "David Miliband said on the weekend that he wants another ten years of New Labour rule. Looking through today’s speech from Gordon about his aspirations for Britain, it struck Guido that it is all more of the same. After ten years all the goals of 1997 are still the goals of 2007. Child poverty, social mobility, youth unemployment, basic literacy and crime are still unsolved problems. In some of these areas things have gone back, not forward – youth unemployment is worse, violent gun crime is higher. How can Gordon be the change?" Agree 100%.
The Times’ Sam Coates has produced the best analysis of this ‘please all the people’ speech. I shan’t try to summarise it. Read it here.
And the wittiest observation from Danny Finkelstein: "The Prime Minister has just pledged that unless contract cleaners in hospitals meet the highest standards of cleanliness they will lose their contract. What’s the procedure at the moment, then?"