Saturday, March 14, 2009


A Well Considered Bouquet for that Congressional Address

Must confess I enjoyed reading this article on Brown's speech to Congress. OK, it's a bit belated in terms of news but I found it touched and enhanced a part of me hitherto unreached: an appreciation of Brown's positive qualities. New York Times columnist, Roger Cohen, rightly described this event as the 'best political speech of his life'. He focused on Brown's well known and even passionate affection for America, adding:

... listening to his speech, I warmed to Brown and realised something: that Obama has not yet found his presidential voice. In the place of fireside chats needed to comfort and inspire a suffering population, the new president has given fireside lectures.

Brown did also tell Congress memebers things they did not like- about resisting the seductions of protectionism of course and he contributed a vintage piece of 'Brownery' which could not fail to resonate with Democrats, if not Republicans:

"My father was a minister of the church, and I have learned again what I was taught by him - that wealth must help more than the wealthy, good fortune must serve more than the fortunate."

Cohen concludes by praising the optimism which Brown expressed, a sentiment, perhaps, Obama has not yet so far in the crisis managed to express effectively. Brown offered:

"So we must educate our way out of the downturn, invest and invent our way out of the downturn and re-tool and re-skill our way out of the downturn."

For me this article provides a useful corrective for a Labour supporter whose support has worn dangerously thin. When this leading American journalist can find not only so much to praise in our prime minister's speech but dares to suggest he can teach the sainted Obama a thing or two, it is time to flag up how successful Gordon's foray into the USA was. Maybe it is not too fanciful to hope the upcoming G20 conference in London and his delayed budget in April will provide further succour and support.

It's a pity that one is so cynical about speeches from politicians - especially grand-standing speeches - that Brown's words came across to many as a speech written by several writers on the borderline of gush. It is of course better than his recent speech to our lads in Afghanistan which had so many thank you's in it that it sounded like an Oscar acceptance speech. That speech was further enlivened by the reference to Mongomery of Allemagne,a gentleman that Gordon suspected the lads had never heard of. 'Once more unto the breach...' wasn't mentioned until dinner in the mess.
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