Gordon Brown, Tieless, Tries to Appeal to Younger Voters
Gordon Brown has made a speech to young Labour party members.
The headline phrase is that he asked them to “Get out and fight and fight and fight again” in the election campaign.
It is clear, then, that Labour are missing the top-level involvement of John Prescott, who showed the way in 2005 when a protestor threw an egg at him:
Mr Brown was launching the Labour “Green Manifesto”.
And in their green manifesto, they promise that all pensioners over 75 who get pension credits will get an additional winter fuel allowance of £100. And they promise a commitment to “help those on low incomes with their energy bills”.
Part of the green manifesto?? Sorry, guys, “green” means reducing people’s use of fuel, not helping people with their fuel bills. Whether it’s right or wrong to help people with energy bills, it’s definitely not green.
Their green manifesto also contains a commitment to “legislate for a statutory code of consumer rights”.
If you have any idea why this is anything to do with being “green”, please let me know.
Mr Brown became confused again when he talked about child poverty:
the very reason we created Sure Start, the very reason we backed free nursery places, the very reason we have fought so hard to lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, because it is unfair for a child’s birth to be its destiny, unfair that the wealth of your parents should determine the end of your story and that instead of developing some of the potential of some of our people we should be a society where we develop all of the potential of all of the people.
So the way to help children from poor families succeed, is to stop children growing up in poverty. Which is, of course, fatuous nonsense.
Helping children from poor families succeed is a laudable aim. It means taxing them less, giving them sound education and promoting the values of work and enterprise. The opposite of what Labour do, and core Conservative territory.
Stopping children growing up in poverty is also a laudable aim. And it is one in which Labour has failed – the number of children growing up in poverty has risen since 1997.
Mr Brown claimed that the Tories are planning top-up fees for nurseries. He commented:
They are mounting this attack on children – not just nursery schools but Sure Start centres at exactly the same time as proposing a massive tax break to the 3,000 richest estates worth 200,000 each in the country.
To give the richest estates money while demanding money from parents for their nursery school education is simply not fair.
To Mr Brown, taxes are not “demanding money”. Asking people to pay for services is “demanding money” though. Taking less from people in taxes is “giving money” and State services that are payed for by taxpayers are “free”.
And what about that “tax break for the 3,000 richest estates”? He is talking about the Tory plan to increase the threshold for Inheritance tax to £1 million. By “the 3,000 richest estates” he means those worth more than that. But of course the whole point about that Inheritance Tax proposal is that it won’t only benefit those “3,000 richest estates”. It will benefit all estates over the current Inheritance Tax threshold, which is £325,000.
That is a lot more than 3,000 estates. In 2007/8, for example, 44,000 estates paid Inheritance Tax. If Mr Brown is right that 3,000 are over the Tories’ proposed new threshold, then the change would have taken 41,000 estates out of the tax in that year.
And when Mr Brown says “3,000 richest estates”, he wants you to think that means the 3,000 richest families in the country. It doesn’t. It means the 3,000 richest people who die in that year – a much higher proportion, since only a small proportion of people die in a given year.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, the £200,000 figure is made up too. Actually it’s an under-estimate. Since the Tory proposals would increase the threshold by £675,000, the saving in Inheritance Tax for those “richest estates” would be £270,000. But then maths was never Mr Brown’s strong point.
However, Mr Brown thought this this line on Inheritance Tax was so good that he repeated it no less than 10 times:
…massive tax break to the 3,000 richest estates worth 200,000 each in the country…200,000 tax cuts for a wealthy few…they are still prepared to see the richest given £200,000 each…1.5 billion pounds would be given to the richest estates in the country …£200,000 inheritance tax cuts for the few…cutting inheritance tax for the few…add to the savings of the wealthiest estates in the country by 200,000 each by a cut in inheritance tax…inheritance cuts for the few…promising an inheritance tax cut for the wealthiest…inheritance tax cut for the richest people in the country…
What a shame it was such nonsense.
His speech then spun off into utter fantasy:
[The Tories] have already marked out the regions to be hit first and hardest by Tory cuts.
Northern Ireland and the north east of England have been singled out as the first places for the axe to fall. They have Sunderland in their sights. Hartlepool. Redcar, Durham. Then it will be Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Morpeth – and what begins with the towns and cities of the North East will not end there – but will set the blueprint for their attacks on jobs and investment in the North West, the Midlands, and Yorkshire and the Humber too.
So next time you see that nice Mr Cameron on TV, just remember that he is really a cross between a Viking invader and Professor Snape. And if you live in one of those towns, be afraid. He has you in his sights, and his axe is at the ready.
The young party members in the audience must have been a little taken aback to hear Mr Brown pass them the ball, in spite of their extreme youth:
We’ve come so far in your short lives – now it’s up to you to ensure the country goes forward not back.
But Mr Brown was now unstoppable:
Get out there and fight for one million skilled jobs, for universal broadband, for high speed rail.
Get out and fight for a national care service and to beat cancer in this generation. Get out and fight and fight and fight again – not for our party’s future but for our country’s future.
You see, Mr Brown is not a Viking invader, nor is he Professor Snape. He is God and can beat cancer in a generation if you just give him your vote.
Against the backdrop of the biggest government deficit in our history, and of an anaemic recovery with just 0.2% growth in the last quarter, he had the nerve to say:
We are fighting an election on building Britain’s economy for the future.
Is this really the best that Mr Brown can do? No wonder he’s third in the polls.