Tag Archives: politics

Davos. Are you paying attention?

At the end of last week I wrote a preview of the World Economic Forum in Davos, highlighting that the majority of people I have talked to can no longer see the aim or objectives of such a conference.

I want to try following up that article with some comment on what *has* been achieved this week, but the WEF event appears to be non-existent here in Brazil – strange, considering that Brazil is one of the emerging global powerhouses that conferences like this love to praise.

So I need to turn to the international media and scan through to see what has been achieved. But I want your comments too. What do you think has changed or improved because of this week in Davos? Despite the negative feelings before the conference, have any issues been debated that really should get a wider audience? Let me know so I can once again offer some comment for Reuters with a mix of my own views and yours…
St Pancras & Islington Cemetery

Brown launches comeback fight

Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed his supporters at the Labour party conference in Brighton today.

Of course, he was preaching to the converted – the audience was almost entirely Labour party members so they would be expected to cheer and hang on his every word, but it was impressive nonetheless. He steered a strong path, positioning the Labour party far to the left of David Cameron’s Conservatives. Clearly, the Labour party has finally woken up – they needed to position themselves as more caring in an environment where people are losing jobs and homes in a recession, and Brown’s speech pushed forward a very distinctive – caring – Labour agenda.

He distanced the government from the financial meltdown, blaming the bankers and associating their free market attitudes with the Conservative opposition who called for a very different ‘hands-off’ approach to the crash in 2007. As Northern Rock collapsed, the Conservatives were still looking to the market for a solution.

He directly commented on his eyes – a subject of much discussion this week – by saying that the NHS is the best insurance policy in the world… his eyesight was saved by the NHS and he dealt with the issue of his health well by taking it head-on.

Fairness, caring, and responsibility echoed throughout this speech, but what he really gave back to the Labour party was hope. Hope that David Cameron may not be the next Prime Minister from 2010. Hope that it’s not all over for a tired Labour party. And hope that despite the setback of the international banking crisis, there has been a very long list of social achievements by this government.

No matter that many people are bored of the Labour government and many people just want a change, the differences between the parties are now growing wider and the Labour party is finally dealing with the assumption that it’s all over for them. They are not dead yet because they are finally staking a claim to the kind of social agenda that people want to see as the country tentatively exits a recession.

Labour is still down, but not yet out.

Billy Bragg in Brighton

Brighton gig 17 June 2009

I went to Brighton on Wednesday evening to see Billy Bragg – again. Here is some video from the end of the show where he was closing with New England… I only took one photo of him during the gig… The venue was very restrictive in terms of allowing video and photography – like most theatre venues – so it was hard to shoot anything this time.

It was an unusual gig in a number of ways. The emphasis of the songs changed with a swing back to some of the William Bloke material, and the use of some of his older political stuff in the context of the expenses scandal. I know Billy has not been a Labour party member for a long time, but I’ve never heard him talking in such an anti-Labour way as when he was talking about Hazel Blears…

I think this should be the complete setlist, but I am only looking back at my twitter feed to see what I wrote at the time…

To have and to have not
From red to blue
I ain’t got no home in this world anymore
Warmest room
All you fascists
Sin city (with Otis Gibbs)
O Freedom
King James Version
Greetings to the new brunette
St Swithin’s day
New song about Consitutional reform – Constitution Hill (?)
World turned upside down
Levi Stubb’s tears
I keep faith
Power in a union
Great leap forward
Between the wars
New England