Saturday, March 01, 2008

A Brown Vision

Although not a heavily publicised as the annual conferences, this weekend sees Labour's Spring Conference and the Welsh Conservative conference take place. Today the leaders offered their set piece. For Brown it was about his vision and his government ushering in an 'Age of Ambition'; "Imagine" he asked delegates "if together we create a Britain where, for all of us, the future is not a fate we can't escape but a common purpose we create". He was rewarded with a standing ovation for his rousing finale "So with the courage of our convictions, With pride in our common purpose, Let us go out with confidence to meet the world to come, Let us embrace this new age of ambition, and let us build the Britain of our dreams". High in rhetoric but a good leader's speech all the same.
The problem is that he did not really comment on the problems that are synonymous with him and his party. He defended Alastair Darling but did not really comment on specific policies. It was all at the macro level, the big ideas and aspirations of his government, it was about building perceptions of him as a man, but it may be seen as an attempt to distract rather than to face critics head-on. Visions are great, but you have to believe the rhetorician is a visionary that can delivery; is this true of Brown anymore?


Matt Hurst said...

Surely the point of Brown's speech was to rally the troops.

Having spent the weekend at conference and the generally openess of politicians to engage with the movement i believe it worked.

After all the discussion of policy happened among keynote speeches and so on, I and others would rather not allow the Tories to have our policies just yet surely.

Darren G Lilleker said...

Yes a leader should rally the troops but he needs to be aware of the external audience and how the media will read such a speech. For Brown everything is great, there are no problems, yet his image is poor, he seems to have lost all popularity and his image is tarnished by a range of crises his government has lurched between (some directly of their doing). To ignore all of this makes him seem even more out of touch. it is not necessarily about announcing policy but accepting blame and promising to do better while also facing those problems they are not responsible for head on.

To me he seemed like General Custer, rallying the troops to try and reduce the extent of impending defeat. Just an opinion, but I think he needed to be more responsive to public opinion and face the critics head on.