I was fortunate enough to be invited to see Gordon Brown address the Congress of the United States today, and amongst the pomp and ceremony of such an event I got to see the Prime Minister in a different light.
Now I will state up front that I consider myself as a moderate conservative as far as British politics are concerned, and so I am not a fan of New Labour or the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown paternership that has helped lead the country where it is. However, today I actually saw the PM address a foreign government, and I have to say that he is a confident orator, and delivered the speech with feeling.It is interesting to note that even with the center-left position of New Labour, the PM does tend to speak and gesture to the left of the hall in preference to the right.
In his speech he managed to address directly the hot topics of international banking regulations and the dangers of protectionist attitudes. His attack on the teaching impact of madrasahs on the 3rd world was outspoken, and was possibly the most confrontational moment of his address. I wonder if those words, targeting a type of school synonymous in the media these days with certain radical aspects of religious teachings, will come back to haunt him in the coming weeks.
Overall, I don’t think the British people, or their politicians and media will be impressed by this speech. It seemed crafted for a global audience rather than for consumption at home, and unfortunately it is at home where Mr Brown’s troubles lie.