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GB at his best at Citizens UK, fired with passion and conviction

Posted on 3 May 2010 | 6:05pm

Having seen the very warm reaction Nick Clegg got from his speech to the Citizens UK conference in Westminster Hall, I was a bit worried GB might not quite match the performance or the response. Oh me of little faith.

That was GB at his best. He was fired up with real passion, and the conviction of his politics came through. There was a depth to him that was lacking in David Cameron and Nick Clegg before him.

And the response of the audience showed that when GB can shake off the stultifying, negativising prism of the 24 hour media, and cut through direct to a big audience like that, he is head and shoulders above the other two when it comes to policy, values, conviction and ability to deliver.

He clearly enjoyed it. The people in the audience were an antidote to Cameron’s so-called Broken Britain. Twce GB said they had inspired him.

We need to see more of that hope and passion between now and Thursday. Because this remains an election that is impossible to call. The Tories may be in the lead, but their lead is not big enough to suggest they are homw and dry, and the resistance to an overall majority is strong.

Clegg remains quite popular, but his policies are not, and as TB has just said on a campaign visit in the Midlands, it is ultimately the policies that count. He told the story of someone who had said they had heard Clegg speak and he spoke well. ‘What did he say?’ asked TB. ‘Oh I don’t know.’

So yes, for sure, a lot of people have doubts about Labour. But they have just as many doubts about the other two. And with more undecideds than in any election any of us can recall, it is all to play for.

I have no idea if people who missed today’s three speeches will be able to watch them in full. They should. I don’t doubt the news tonight may focus as much on a lone protester as on what GB said, and the phenomenal response he inspired. But it will be very hard to edit out the passion and the mutual inspiration.

As the BBC reporter said, if there had been a clapometer, he won it. Sky also said that was him at his best. More of the same tomorrow and Wednesday and who knows what can happen on Thursday?

*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.

  • louise gittins

    that was unbeliveable: i too thought nick clegg would nick it but gord did it, highlights need to go on you tube> what an inspiration for us all in the last few days

  • wolba

    the event managed to show his human side too, with reactions to the 14 year old girl aspiring to be a lawyer, and her grandmother.

  • PDonnan

    Watched the three speeches made by the three men, finally thought Gordon came out on top. Have agreed with the majority of Labour policy, but performance has left Labour policies sold short- such a real shame as I believe they are the most progressive party available at this election.
    I think people have come a little disillusioned with Labour recently, and admittedly with stunts like an Elvis impersonator meeting the PM, it is clear why they are behind in the polls. But for policy I believe they are the right choice for the country. Substance not spin.

  • Cromwell

    Truly his best speech. I actually inspired the audience, not just solid credibility, facts and integrity… GB truly inspired the audience. I always knew he had it in him.

    This made me recommend firing squad for GB’s campaign organizers because it took a non labour audience get the PM inspired and inspiring.

    I said it earlier on that GB needed a big rally. This would do.

  • Nat

    Agree. The crowd was certainly generous and enthusiastic with all three, but their response when GB walked on stage was if the main act of the gig had arrived. There was also a bit just before the start of GB’s speech when a girl started crying as she tried to talk to the audience. You could see GB genuinely moved and itching to stand up and hug her, which he then did. But i think al the photographers were unable to see it.

    This event raises yet again the disgraceful softball “you’ve got momentum” question posed by Marr to Cameron y’day.

    If Gordon can move through the next couple of days in this gear and show how much he cares, he could yet convince people to give him a chance.

    He certainly inspired me to vote and not flirt with the Lib Dems.

  • Robert Jackson

    When I was eleven years old my folks campaigned for Brian Walden in his first winning campaign – remember him as a Labour MP?

    Sitting in the back of mom’s car with Brian in the passenger seat I heard him repeating the saying of an American(?) politician: in a good year promote the party, in a bad year the man.

    Ignoring the sexism of that statement…..it was 1964 after all…..what is Dave doing now?

    Hardly promoting the party if all we see of the Conservatives in their last PPB is Dave, is it?

  • Cromwell

    That speech can be given to labour activists. Something to inspire them. Let them know that they belong on the right side of history.

  • Rebecca F

    Most inspiring speech of the campaign from any party! The media wrongly say Conservative momentum is happening, GB showed today Labour will fight to the very end, the momentum is indeed with them! Everyone, and I mean everyone, in my halls of residence were cheering whilst watching the live feed like they had finally found their winner… Great stuff.

  • SMukesh

    Did DC peak too soon?Judging from the response I have seen for GB at Citizens UK,is the media discounting him vested interests…Is a surprise possible?

  • Claire

    Yes, that was a blinder of a speech! GB is at his best when talking about what he and the Labour party are all about, rather than attacking the Tories and Lib Dems.

    GB needs to remind the electorate of Labour’s policies from the past 13 years; without Labour there would be no minimum wage, no tax credits, no EMA. I think alot of people have taken these policies for granted. So, I do hope that his speech is shown on the news bulletins for the undecided voters, and they willsee just how inspiring and passionate GB can be. I didn’t see DC or NC speeches, and I have no doubt that my trip to the local supermarket was far more interesting!

    So, come on GB, I want to see more of that fire and passion. And who cares what the polls say, because there’s only one party for Government and you need to remind the undecided of this!

  • rosie

    Just read a very impressive post by Rebecca on your previous item. First time voter who says despite the Murdoch/ Ashcroft/right wing media onslaught, she sees the glint of hunger for power in the eyes of Cameron and Osborne, and wouldn’t trust them within an inch of her soul.

    Let’s hope she can persuade as many of her friends as possible to vote Labour. I was teaching under the last Tory government in a dilapidated school, short on equipment, huge class sizes, many children living in severe poverty, many parents unemployed. It was soul destroying.

    I remember the joy of Friday May 2nd, 1007, when Tony Blair was swept into power on a wave of genuine affection and hope. Even if the shallow Cameron manages to scrape a victory on Thursday, (and I gather he is planning to ignore convention regarding who has first opportunity to form the new government, just as he ignored the convention that it is normally the sitting PM who gets to announce the date of the election,) he will never be able to kid himself that he won on any other basis than being the least worst option for many voters, aided by his pals in the media and big business, who will soon come calling for their dues. And I know that many things went wrong for Labour and they lost support, but Blair won three elections. Can’t see Cameron doing that. How has he managed to go from a lead of more than 20 points to possibly being just the largest party in a hung parliament? If I was Ashcroft, I’d want my money back!

    Just listened to PM and the 6-o-clock news on Radio 4. No mention of the speech on either.

  • Jacquie R

    Nick Clegg is a great communicator, likeable and intelligent, but passion and conviction are conspicuously absent.

    We shouldn’t forget that a couple of years ago, after he became party leader, he was wildly wrong about the size of the old age pension. (If I remember rightly, he thought it was around £30 a week, instead of £90.) This wasn’t just a question of getting his figures wrong. It demonstrated an unbelievable lack of awareness and genuine interest in a huge area of society.

    You can be sure he knows it now, but only because he has to, not because he’s that bothered. The question is, do people really care if their leaders have passion and conviction?

  • tom wiley

    yeah and i wondered what gb said about this lot as soon as their backs were turned?

  • Tom Mailey

    Lbaour have to wake this country up to the impending nightmare of a Tory victory. Also get rid of the spin merchants. We can’t blow the chance to show the true meaning of a caring Labour government. The problem is you failed to stop feeding the money grabbers and didn’t allow the hard working people to benefit from their earnings. There needs to be fairness in how the low to middle earners are taxed. I want my kids to aspire to working hard but too many earn too much for doing very little and too many don’t work at all and get every benefit going. That’s why people are angry. It’s the unfairness of it. Those that need a helping hand must get it, but must prove you need it. Let this election be the defining moment for the greed to end. Only Labour can and must deliver on this. Labour brought in many great policies in the last 13 years, but too many were allowed to abuse it for their own ends. This has to stop. The low and middle earners have always had to tighten their belts. Let the high earners carry the strain this time. This is why there is a push for a Tory win. Those that creamed the money over these years want to keep it and make a lot more. Don’t let it happen! Make every vote count.

  • Dave

    Give it up Alistair, you think Brown is an incompetent buffoon like the rest of us do.

  • Ann

    Brilliant Brown today at Citizens. Please more of this – it really is so inspiring to see that this is still what drives Labour politicians – as this is what drives Labour voters.

    Those who will vote Labour on Thursday know how bad Cameron et al will be. Those that can’t see this yet will not be convinced now… so please concentrate on us that have and will continue to support Labour for generations.

  • james conway

    GB, what a performance, iam off too get a large LABOUR sticker for the front of the house,

  • Diane

    I have just watched both Sky and BBC news reporting on this and, surprise, surprise, there is no coverage of the content of Gordon’s speech. Sky managed to give Cameron time though. Yet another sign of what we are up against.

  • Harold Chorney

    The latest IPSOS MORI poll on the supposed swing toward the Conservatives in the marginal Labour seats is being misinterpreted by the media. The difference between this poll and the preceding poll taken April 26th is well within the poll’s +/- 4 % margin of error. In other words it is not a statistically significant difference and therefore indicates no new trend toward the Conservatives. People should also understand that these polls rely on very small samples within a constituency-fewer than 20 persons per constituency and therefore they are not reliable predictors of individual constituency results as opposed to overall trends. The press is irresponsible when they try to use them in the way they have to influence the election.

  • Franfair

    GB’s speech was fantastic! Cameron was uninspiring and Clegg trotted out many of the same lines I’ve heard many times already during this campaign – he had very little new to say. GB came out with a passionate and inspiring speech, very much tailored to his audience.
    More of this in the next few days please.

  • max

    Uk Citizens Speech. What a fine example of kissing ass, sorry I meant kicking ass.’please can I have the multi-faith, non-white, London vote. You are all so lovely -not like that unsophisticated working class Granny that accosted me the other day’

  • Steven

    I`ve just seen on the BBC site a comment from someone at Ipsos Mori that 36% are undecided and that this is more than the 25% or so for previous elections. There`ll be some knackered politicians and canvassers by Friday…

  • ian

    GB’s passion today was inspirational and compelling. I felt it was the embodiment of what he, and indeed Labour is all about. I’m disappointed but unsurprised to see that the news channels aren’t giving it the coverage it deserves.

    GB is clearly the man for the job. The Tories would be a disaster for society at large, regardless of Cameron’s gentle rhetoric. Clegg will surely be a distant memory in a few years once his facebook fans have grown up a bit.

  • Tim

    I’d like to remind the voters of John Major’s infamous quote on high interest rates of early nineties. ‘If it does not hurt it doesn’t work’. A generation’s life was destroyed by the high minded tories economic policies. If they are elected, it will bring misery for ordinary people again. Yes. We need a conservative government but not yet. We should let GB to complete the economic recovery secure the Blair/Brown legacy. ie. New Schools, Better resources for NHS and the tax credits for the poor. Giving GB a chance is giving us a chance. I hope my fellow citizens will do the right thing by giving one more term to labour with a decisive majority.

  • Cromwell

    Diane, I saw the same thing too. BBC and SKY avoided the content and barely talked about the reception and the speeches. Laura, as usual continued her prime purpose of talking about side events. Nice, this is the same reporter that could not stop talking about bigotgate and Cameron so called win in the last debate.

  • Mark Gowen

    Can someone post some links, I’d love to hear all the speeches

  • Patrick James

    I haven’t seen this yet but I know that Gordon Brown can speak superbly well.

    There is a really huge anti-conservative vibe on the Internet, people are very annoyed that the Philippa Stroud story is not getting coverage on TV.

    Of course it is impossible to really gauge anything on the Internet, as to how much effect it will have, but I feel that there is a widespread understanding that the Conservatives are using all their power to dominate the press in as many ways as they can.

  • Graham Jones

    That was a game-changing speech today.
    It was the real Gordon, and it showed. There is always hope, when Gordon speaks from the heart like today, because it’s who he is and what he stands for.
    The passion in todays speech was telling on TV. There was conviction in his words, but also in Gordon face. You could tell that those beliefs, course through every sinew in his body.
    The radio may communicate substance better than TV, but as long as Gordon gives his speeches with both barrels like today, he can level out the playing field in 3-D HD.
    I would however, like to ask people to close their eyes, and listen to all the leaders speeches again, because it paints a different picture of the election. The waffle recedes to the background, and the substance come to the fore. Brown grows into a modern master, while Cameron and Clegg become abstract ideas that don’t work.
    Today Gordon painted a modern masterpiece, that said everything about himself, about the Labour party and about the people of Britain.
    Art is about the truth, and so are the values of the Labour party. It’s time to expose the frauds, before polling day.

  • Kobb

    Amazing. Gordon Brown gets my vote. The other two didn’t touch him today. It was a leader’s performance and it was from the heart.

  • Klingsor

    How can any of you daft lot still vote Labour? Don’t you rememember how Margaret Thatcher had to rescue the country when it was a basket case after years of Labour “government”? Don’t you remember the years of pain we went through to put things right, how Brown inherited a healthy economy and wrecked it? For heaven’s sake put your shoulder-chips away and vote Tory so that Cameron can try to fix things again!

  • sarahmann

    Tory PPB. 17 shots of crowd. not 1 black person

  • andrew williams

    Everything still to play for? Yes, you’re probably right. Lib Dems, Tories and Labour should all be going all out. Labour can’t afford to give up because the voters won’t forgive defeatism. Crucial to labour is to take advantage of the internet on election week and really mobilize voters to get out there and vote. Tories older voting demographic will be doing that anyway but younger voters are notorious for staying at home – Labour and Lib Dem take note. Internet campaigns challenging what Clegg identified as complacency and arrogance of the Tories measuring up the curtains of number 10 are probably key but there has to be something positive too. Larry Elliot’s pro labour economics column today gives a hint of how to do that.

  • SueZ

    Magnificent speech, beautifully inspirational! So, Gordon finally shows the inner magic we have all been believing in…. and where does he do it…….. in a house of God!

  • Luke H

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/public-accounts/2010/05/genuinely-moved-gordon-brown

    Link to Gordon’s speech (video in full)- Must be watched!

  • Simon Gittins

    Most people who post comments on here must live in some sort of parallel universe where there is another Gordon Brown – totally opposite to the one the rest of us know !
    The ‘real’ one is incompetent, dishonest, two-faced and totally unelectable.
    Five more years of Brown and Labour ?, Never, it will take decades to put right his mistakes – although I will admit some have benefitted under 13 years of Labour; millionaires such as Tony Blair, the Kinnocks, Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell have all done exceptionally well !

  • bert

    I think the Labour people here are getting just a tad carried away with this speech. For a start, this was as pro Labour an audience as you can get – Brown getting an ovation BEFORE he even speaks? Come on guys – I know you’re all depserate to cling on to something – but saying this speech was a “game changer” is simply ridiculous.

    The real GB was the one we all saw last week – when he insulted a Labour pensioner – and absolutely meant it.

    It’s over, guys.

  • Karen

    At last, we’ve been waithing for this-a really authentic TV moment for GB.

  • Gerard

    I know the London Citizens crowd who organized today’s Citizens UK assembly, and I assure you they’re not party political. Yes, they’re all about social justice issues but saying that makes them naturally pro-Labour is like saying that the Tories have nothing positive to say about social justice, which is a pretty sad comment on David Cameron’s Big Society. Actually I would have expected Nick Clegg to get the strongest support from them ‘cos of his support for one of their key issues, the earned amnesty for illegal immigrants. But watching the video, I can certainly see them going for Brown’s passion and shared sense of values in a big way.

  • Brian Tomkinson

    “who knows what can happen on Thursday?”
    Is that why Balls and Hain have abandoned Labour candidates and urge your dwindling band of supporters to vote LibDem in marginal seats?