The Gospel according to Gordon
It consists of the usual higher spending commitments on health on education, the tiresome mantra of removing barriers to work and university, and the oft-repeated assurance of the increase of opportunities for all, particularly the poor, with an emphasis on helping children and families and promises to lift them out of poverty.
All good Christian concerns, doubtless stemming from his background. He will also probably talk of Darfur and an ‘ethical foreign policy’ as well, if only to remove the righteous glow from David Cameron’s Conservatives.
But there will also be something new – talk of a ‘new politics’ for New Labour, a theme of national unity which embraces the best of the Liberal Democrats and (the best?) of the Conservative Party. His decision to reach out his hand to involve Paddy Ashdown, and the agreement of John Bercow and Patrick Mercer to ‘advise’ the Labour Government on issues of national importance, permits him to present himself as father of the nation, unconcerned with the old politics of unprincipled, tribal opportunism. In an age obsessed with image, the visit of Lady Thatcher last week was symbolically very important for Mr Brown. She may not have blessed his vision, but appearance is all. The important thing is that she has not been similarly photographed with David Cameron, who is perceived to be moving so far from Conservative ‘core’ beliefs that New Labour has become more ‘right’ than the Party of the Right. It is no wonder that prominent Conservative donors are defecting to where they believe the power will remain for another decade.
Mr Brown is confident and assured, and emits an aura of trustworthiness, experience, gravity and credibility. Mr Cameron is not, and does not. He is, apparently, the least popular of all the leaders of their parties, and that is an honour usually preserved for the mid-term blues of being in office. Mr Brown has the capacity not simply to defeat the Conservative Party, but to destroy them, or at least inflict such a disorientating wound that another decade of their wandering in the wilderness will be assured.
And he has a lead in the opinion polls against which the gates of hell cannot prevail, and this looks as though it will hand him the keys to No10 for a further term.
No, no, no. This must not be. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…