HE'S A SOUL MAN... Political Reporter LES REID Interviews Gordon Brown on the PM's 59th Birthday, and Samples the Party Mood as Labour Launches Its Campaign at Warwick University

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), February 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

HE'S A SOUL MAN... Political Reporter LES REID Interviews Gordon Brown on the PM's 59th Birthday, and Samples the Party Mood as Labour Launches Its Campaign at Warwick University


Byline: LES REID

A BUOYANT Prime Minister spelled out his vision for Britain's future at a major election launch in Coventry - to the accompaniment of a bloke named Wilson from the 1960s.

It wasn't his Sixties predecessor Harold Wilson being remembered, whose Premiership came crashing amid economic difficulties. Gordon Brown and his cabinet cohorts emerged to the sweet tones of Sixties soul singer Jackie Wilson's uplifting anthem Higher and Higher.

The choice of music at Warwick University before Gordon Brown stepped out to address a huge congregation was designed to lift a party trailing David Cameron's Tories in the polls. On the PM's birthday, Sam and Dave's Soul Man and Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up also got the party in full swing, bringing back memories of Tony Blair's 1997 theme song Things Can Only Get Better. They got better, then worse.

But Brown's message was clear - his party had soul, unlike Cameron's, and was connected with the values of "the many, not the few' - one of four campaign themes unveiled on Saturday. Yes, "Labour hadn't done everything right", perhaps having in mind his now hollow declaration of "no more boom and bust."

He added: "I know - really I know - that I'm not perfect," on the day more allegations of his sometimes tough character emerged.

But the Scottish minister's son Brown was unrepentant. "I know where I come from... and I know who I came into politics to represent. And if you, like me, are from Britain's mainstream majority - from an ordinary family that wants to get on and not simply get by... then take a second look at us... and take a long hard look at them."

He presented the "same old Conservatives" as the party who supported fox hunting, hereditary peers in the House of Lords, inheritance tax cuts for the wealthy, and was so out of touch with ordinary people it recently wrongly announced 54 per cent of under 18 girls in deprived areas were getting pregnant - instead of the correct 5.4 per cent.

The other pledges were to secure the recovery, future jobs and new industries, and halve the nation's historic pounds 178 billion deficit caused by a "global financial recession", while protecting frontline services. He continued his attack on the "do-nothing" Tories who have pledged to cut the debt now, opposing Labour's delay to protect the recovery, jobs and mortgages.

But he indicated to the Coventry Telegraph the campaign would stop short of renewed personal attacks on the Conservative party of "privilege", with half the shadow cabinet schooled privately. …

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