Gordon Brown's speech saves the Union.
I never thought I would write a blog post with this title. In fact I disagree with Gordon Brown on most things and when I heard that he was to be a part of the No campaign I groaned. However Gordon Brown’s speech changed all of this.
Yesterday, with passion reminiscent of William Wallace declaring the freedom of the Scottish people, Gordon Brown mustered up every ounce of passion to defend the union.
Brown has never been admired for his speeches. He has never been one for rabble rousing speeches, impassioned sermons or emotional pleads. The former PM has in the past given speeches with the same characteristics as a sex-less scarecrow. He had the habit of listing policy details in the most lack-lustre way possible. Brown’s speeches consistently lacked passion, drive and enthusiasm.
Finally, yesterday, the passion of Gordon Brown came out. The ideas and the energy that make up his political ideology, the drive that got him to the top of UK politics all came out. Yesterday Gordon Brown was a man on a mission. He had beliefs that he needed to say – he had ideas that he had to get out. He needed to do what he needed to do to save his country, not his career.
No longer was he a politician being wheeled out to give a speech one way or the other. Effectively side-lined from the campaign up until recently, Gordon Brown was back. In a way that I had never seen him before.
The passion and energy of the speech was there from the first sentence and it rose and rose as Brown continued. This was a man in a rush to say what he believed. Gordon Brown did not wait for applause – he seemed frankly irritated by it. He was there to give a message, to explain his ideas, to save the union, not to receive praise and a pat on the back. Which is what good politicians should be like.
I doubt Gordon Brown’s speech was written by a speech writer although it was certainly well crafted. It was natural, pure and from the heart. Gordon Brown spoke with the fluency of a man whose concrete ideas have built up and developed over decades – this was the moment when these ideas came out for all to see.
Social justice, the NHS, securing a future for the next generation, pride in your country, Scottish history, British history – Brown covered them all. The speech seeped with emotion – feelings dripped off of every word that came out of his mouth.
The speech took the crowd by surprise, expecting to see a droning, mono-toned ex-Prime Minister reeling off the over-used lines of the campaign so far. But instead they got this – a paper-free, eloquent speech.
When I heard that Gordon Brown was to take a bigger role in the Better Together campaign I, as well as pretty much everyone else, thought that was the final nail in the coffin of the union. However, along with the Queen’s almost-intervention and some of the campaign ads, Gordon Brown may have just done enough for the No vote to win.
This was not a state of the union address, it was the saving of the union address.