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Striving for social justice

Simon WoolleyOBV’s Simon Woolley, at Labour’s annual conference in Brighton, assesses Gordon Brown’s speech

“So, as you’d probably expect, the Prime Ministers’ most important speech of his political life was big on substance, but lacked the knockout punch the Party faithful so desperately wanted to here.

It all started well too. Sarah Brown once again introduced her man with a sense of pride that instantly makes the Prime Minster much more than just a Prime Minster, but as soon as he began you sensed his unease; an unease that he might get over, but never really did.

Gordon BrownWhere he scored well was in regard to what he does best, talking about his humble background that has been his bed-rock for striving for social justice, and greater equality of opportunity.

What the papers will make of it will depend, by and large, on their political loyalty. For the wider public it will depend on whether they buy into the substance of his speech or whether they want their leader to be a supremely confident orator.

Read the full speech here

Elsewhere in the conference, the country’s biggest unions – UNITE, Unison, GMB, and the CWU – came together for their annual fringe.

Chaired by Unison member Gloria Mills, all five union bosses gave lessons of oratory most elected politicians would give their right arm for. Their clarion call was for an unprecedented call for party unity.

Afterwards Gloria Mills promised OBV she would do her upmost to get the Union leaders to support any voter registration drive that OBV might undertake before the next general election.

Parliamentary candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow Rushanara Ali gave another polished performance during her fringe meeting hosted by the Electoral Commission. When some of her fellow panellist talked about the democratic mechanisms that might enhance our governance, Ali told the audience that political leadership was also a critical dynamic, citing how Barack Obama had not only excited an American electorate but also a generation of new activists.

Overall it has been a very interesting few days. It’s particularly pleasing that here, as with the Lib Dem conference last week, there are many ordinary men and women – increasingly so from our communities – who very much care about making a difference in their locality and beyond.”

Simon Woolley


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