Gordon Brown's greatest asset is his 'substance', his passion for politics and his contempt for the modern fascination with PR and spin doctors, or so we are led to believe...
When watching Brown's speech on monday, i felt a definite sensation of deja-vu, one that was not simply brought about by seeing Tony Blair's ability to go yet another Brown address with that so obviously (but well practiced) insincere smile. No, my deja-vu eminated from the fact that even though this speech was intended to set the tone for a new era of Brown's labour, all of the policies that the chancellor proclaimed as to being key in his vision of the 'good society', we had heard before!
His bold claim to raise spending per pupil in the state sector to match that of a private school pupil was also one of the centrepieces of his budget address. He repeated a call he had already made to the United Nations for a new global fund to provide cleaner energy for developing nations and he told us that the minimum wage was rising again; a policy that was already very well documented. For the record i don't disagree with any of these particular proposals, though it seemed very odd that the prime minister in waiting brought us nothing new in this critical speech. Particularly so, when the rhetoric was so obviously intended to be new and uplifting, the 'good society', the 'moral compass' etc etc.
So, i would have to conclude that Brown has certainly learnt one trick off Mr Blair, the ability to make a speech in which the rhetoric behind it is intended to sound new and exciting, backed up with the policies we have all heard before, jazzed up for the crowd; that sounds suspiciously like spin to me... Oh and if you aren't convinced yet, the clincher that proves Gordon to be as guilty of 'spin' as any other member of new labour was his budget in March-a budget he claimed was 'green', on the strength that he was cutting car tax on the most fuel efficient cars in the UK to zero- WOW! Yet the real sensation was later finding out that the two models of car that are clean enough to fall under this zero percent tax rate are not even available to buy in the UK! Superb!
Your opponent is never quite as they seem and at this early stage i think there is sufficient evidence that Gordon Brown is far more new labour than i could have ever feared!