Socialist Worker

Gordon Brown's conference speech gets nasty in his desperate ‘fightback’ bid

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2171

The media trailed Gordon Brown’s Labour conference speech this week as being about the prime minister fighting for his political life.

But no speech by Brown will be enough to deal with the disgust and disquiet millions of people feel at what his government has done.

Standing in front of a Union Jack backdrop, he reeled off the “successes” of his government, and bemoaned the Tories’ plans to attack them.

Brown claimed, “What let the world down last autumn was not just bankrupt institutions but a bankrupt ideology.

“What failed was the right wing fundamentalism that says you just leave everything to the market and says that free markets should not just be free but values free.”

But Brown is committed to the free market and is planning major attacks on public services, just like the Tories.

His commitment to education will sound like a threat to many teachers and parents, “We will aggressively turn round underperforming schools.”

He bemoaned bankers’ bonuses, but he has slashed taxes on business profits in Britain to levels lower than even the Tories ever dared.

He said, “Our deficit reduction plan to cut the deficit in half over four years, will be made law in a new fiscal responsibility act.”

That means, simply, job cuts across the public sector, worse pensions and more competition. But he told us it would be worse under the Tories.

Brown is not just electioneering – he is also attempting to drive through the government’s disastrous policies in the run-up to the election.

And to do that he is getting vicious and looking for scapegoats to use as cover for his attacks on working people.

With chilling words, Brown said, “It cannot be right for a girl of 16 to get pregnant, be given the keys to a council flat and be left on her own.

“From now on all 16 and 17 year old parents who get support from the taxpayer will be placed in a network of supervised homes.”

Brown also announced, “Every one of the 50,000 most chaotic families will be part of a family intervention project – with clear rules and clear punishments.”

He turned on immigrants next, saying, “We must take a tough approach to who gets to come to our country and who gets to stay.”

Union leaders spent the week pleading for some change while parading their unswerving loyalty.

In response, Brown went on the offensive against ordinary people, not the Tories.

We will see more attacks on public spending and attempts to play the law and order card as New Labour makes a desperate bid to win the election.

Labour has pushed through policies that have hit ordinary people for the last 12 years.

Its determination to continue these policies is a guarantee that it will lose the election, and hurt workers in the process.


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