This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Was Brown's speech any good?

I thought so yes.

It was strong, clear and at times spoken with genuine conviction. Some foolish commentators – who never like what the prime minister does or says anyway - said that there wasn’t much to get your teeth into, but I thought there was plenty of substance.

He pushed the US on climate change and reform of the international economic system and he even reminded his audience not to succumb to protectionist instincts. Quite a brave thing to do considering the current climate of opinion in Washington.

He also didn’t forget to talk about Africa or international development – two issues close to his heart. I thought it was brave of him to mention both in the midst of a recession to a chamber which has a reputation for being hostile to the idea of foreign aid.

If leadership is about bravery and courage then that was firmly on display yesterday.

He also signed up to much of President Obama’s policies like stricter regulations for tax havens. Good. People in the Labour Party have been calling for this for years. His support for Obama's policies must have gone down well in the White House and will have provided the President with crucial political support. I think it's also good politics because it cements our relationship with them. Who cares if the Republicans didn’t clap?

If at times he was a bit too gushing about the US, then I can forgive him this. He actually does love the United States. He holidays there more than Blair ever used to, so his warm praise for American culture and values is entirely natural and authentic.

No, he doesn’t have the star quality of Tony Blair, we know that by now and the jokes were a bit thin on the ground, but the rest was all good stuff.

Typically, sections of the British press tried to concentrate on all the perceived snubs and so-called problems with the visit. The Conservative Party’s Propaganda Chief, Nick Robinson from the BBC, seemed to think his job was to go around trying to catch the Prime Minister out as much as possible, rather than just reporting on what happened. Nothing Brown does or says will ever get reported correctly by cynical hacks.

But, if his job was to make a case for the reforms of the G20 in April and show the British public that he had thought about the issues and had an idea about what to do about them then it was a good job done.

No time to bask in the glory mind - the economy is still crumbling and we are still behind in the polls – but well done Gordon.

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