Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 18:22 UK

The Full Story: Brown's big speech


Gordon Brown's conference speech in full


4pm: So a quick upsum: Mr Brown's vision for the next five years includes a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, more free childcare, no compulsory ID cards, errant MPs slung out of parliament, the possibility of electoral reform, smaller bonuses for bankers and spending protected - perhaps - on hospitals, schools, police and international development. His electoral strategy is to force voters and the media to start looking at Tory policies, to place a small doubt in the electorates' mind that voting Conservative to express anger at Labour will not be without consequence. Technically it was a good speech: Mrs Brown's opening warmed up the audience, the initial list of Labour's achievements was a good oratorical device which got them to their feet, the end section asking people to question Tory priorities was effective. The question that remains is this: did this speech change the political weather or was it more of a grand team talk, rallying Labour but failing to move the electorate? Oh and in case you were wondering which poet Mr Brown misquoted towards the end, it was Goethe: "Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men."

6.20pm: A few post scripts:
1. According to photographers who were shooting their pictures from the upper balcony, one delegate was so overcome with Gordon Brown's speech that he rose to his feet at the end to applaud the prime minister. The fact that he was in a wheelchair made this rather impressive. Cue gags about Gordon healing the sick…
2. Some initial Conservative reaction: long shopping list without a price tag, no vision, no recognition of past mistakes, shockingly thin on Afghanistan, like entire conference, obsessed with Tories.
3. The consensus among some in the lobby is that it was a good speech but not one that will change the terms of trade. One particular criticism is that it did not appear to acknowledge the tough years ahead. The list of spending changes and commitments seemed, they reckon, to belong to another age, failing to address the spending cuts that are looming.

1640 Phew, that's it from me. As always, many thanks for your many emails, texts and tweets. I hope you'll join our live coverage of David Cameron's big speech to the Conservatives in Manchester next week.

1625 A press release from the Lib Dems has dropped into my inbox. They think Mr Brown's speech shows Labour is "tired and bereft of new thinking". We might expect that from them, but what will the public think?

1621 Health Secretary Andy Burnham puts a bit more flesh on Gordon's bones, so to speak. He says the pledge to give free personal care to those with the greatest needs will help about 350,000 people in England and require some £200m in its first year. To pay for faster cancer test turnarounds, money will be clawed back from the hospital-building programme, he adds.

e-mail sent in by reader
Boring speech, can we have some truths or at least some non-mandelsonisms please.
James Hay, Bradford

Sign me up Gordon. I love your old fashioned, gritty style! If David Cameron is the future of politics in the UK then god help us!
Jamie Coleman, London

Harriet Harman
1601 "Think big and fight hard" - that's the deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman's take on her boss's message. But she also rather dodges the question of how to pay for the PM's plans. She simply says that these are government "priorities" and in the past, when Labour has promised something like the minimum wage, it has delivered.

magnifying glass
1556 A few stats for you. Mr Brown promised "change" or "changes" 45 times. He urged the party to "fight" 11 times and referred to his "values" 13 times.

1555 Former minister Margaret Beckett compares the creation of a national care service as announced by the PM to the founding of the NHS. And for those of you wondering where the money is going to come from, ex-home secretary Jacqui Smith says that even in tough times you can still make choices about your priorities.

Laura Kuenssberg
1550 The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg is talking to delegates about Mr Brown's big moment on the BBC News Channel. Reg Jenkins from South Wales thinks it's "the best speech he's ever made". "Brilliant", "tremendous", another says. But she admits that we're yet to learn how the PM plans to pay for all of his new policies.

e-mail sent in by reader
All that was soundbite after soundbite.. there was nothing of any substance. What did he say about the economy? Nothing at all. Isn't that the most important thing he should be concentrating on. Again we see knee-jerk mini-policy announcements. Same old, same old Nu-Labour
emcgregor, London

e-mail sent in by reader
Completely agree James it is a call to arms, however I think it is far too late for gordon brown and indeed labour. He seems to forget that he cause the crisis Britain is in today.
Rupert, London,England

Ahhh, not M-People! What a terrible choice of song, the soundtrack to the Blair era surely?
Tom, London

e-mail sent in by reader
Scott Robinson. You do realise Cameron is abolishing them all together? Think you need to reconsider!!! Jack Evans, Leeds, UK

1537 There are cheers, some woops and a kiss from Sarah who joins Mr Brown back on stage. The response is good - and Moving on Up starts blaring out of the conference sound system. The PM heads off to the words "Nothing can stop me".

James Landale
1535 From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: So, its over, I make it about an hour long. Interestingly, the whole of the last section was addressed to the Labour Party, a call to arms. We are not done yet, he said. Never stop believing . Now is not time to give in. We have a duty to fight. A team talk perhaps rather than an address to the nation?

jcevans tweets:@AlbertoNardelli Obamaesque? Hmmmm more Al Gore Im thinking Read jcevans's tweets.

If he is going to do all of this why not hold the election now to get a mandate. Bet he doesn't!
honestisayitasitis, London

James Landale
1531 From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: Here's the crux of the argument: Mr Brown says the Tories want an election ballot paper with an option marked "change without consequence". He says the election is not about his future, but the electorates'. His challenge to voters - and to the media - is to ask questions of the Tories: why is your priority to cut inheritance tax, scrap cancer targets, cut the home office budget and place Britain on the margins of Europe? Again we are back to his initial theme: the next election will be a choice, not just a referendum on Labour's last decade in power.

e-mail sent in by reader
Last year Gordon's performance made me sign up to the Labour Party for the first time. Today, his policies, his delivery, his values, reaffirm that choice without any doubt
Craig C, Portsmouth, UK

The fact that Brown is cutting childcare tax credits makes me sick. Myself and my wife are not high earners, and rely on them. I think this is the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I will be voting Tory.
Scott Robinson, Bournemouth

jickemp tweets:why can't they bring the pr vote forward - the tories will never see it through - how disappointing Read jickemp's tweets.

1528 Mr Brown also cheers Labour delegates with that old favourite - the hereditary peers in the House of Lords - if Labour wins the next election they'll be gone for good he says.

Labour promising a referendum? They're not very good at those are they?
Stephen Wallis, Belfast

James Landale
1527 From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: We have had the bash the bankers bit - "they'll pay Britain back" - now we are onto MPs. Mr Brown is offering voters the chance to kick out their MPs if they are found guilty of financial corruption and parliament fails to deal with them. The power of recall, it is called. Sounds attractive but the hurdles to be met are quite high: they need to found guilty by a parliamentary committee, twenty five per cent of the electorate need to back a recall by-election and then the MP has to lose the election. Mr Brown's also promised a manifesto commitment to hold a referendum on electoral reform. He says there is a "stronger case" than ever for the Alternative Vote which will ensure that all MPs have the backing of at least half their electorate. Not entirely clear whether the Labour position is in favour of the referendum or AV. Either way, the audience in the halls loves it.

benarchibald tweets:Northern Ireland: Brown claims Tony Blair started the Peace Process. What a diabolical liberty. John Major, anyone? Read benarchibald's tweets.

1523 The PM says he will hold a referendum on introducing the alternative vote version of proportional representation in future UK elections. The referendum would be held if Labour won the next election, he says.

e-mail sent in by reader
A heavyweight performance by a heavyweight politician. Not just a performance of a party leader or a prime minister, but a performance fitting of the title 'world statesman of the year'. Finally Gordon, we are seeing why you are the man in charge!
Vic, London, UK

jickemp tweets:tackle nuclear proliferation and spread civil nuclear power around the world. Brilliant! That's a gamble Read jickemp's tweets.

James Landale
1522From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: Mr Brown has just recommitted Labour to setting up a new National Care Service. No indication of whether the government has decided how to pay for this - it's still out to consultation. But the Prime Minister has promised free personal care "for those with the highest needs" in their homes. Not entirely clear who he is referring to and what they will get and how it will be paid for.

1521 A personal anecdote on the NHS - Mr Brown talks about a letter from a lady named Diane who believed her life had been saved because Labour had lowered the minimum age for breast cancer screening. He follows this up with "an early diagnosis guarantee" - that cancer patients will have tests done and results returned within a week of seeing their GP.

e-mail sent in by reader
I thought ID cards were a way to keep us safe from terrorism?
Andrew, Leicester, UK

1517 Mr Brown asks the conference to show their appreciation for Britain's servicemen and women fighting in Afghanistan. This prompts another standing ovation - I wasn't timing it but I'd say that was the longest burst of clapping since Mr Brown took to the stage.

James Landale
1516From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: Another pretty clear commitment on public spending: Mr Brown says he'll protect spending on international development, promising to make it a commitment in law to raise UK development spending to 0.7% of national income.

James Landale
1515From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: Mr Brown has just formally confirmed that ID cards will not be compulsory. We knew this - Alan Johnson announced it earlier this year - but what was interesting was that Labour delegates cheered with some gusto.

1514 We were expecting the PM to talk about anti-social behaviour, but not necessarily to admit that extended pub and club licensing laws may be making things worse. He announces that in future local authorities will have the power to ban 24-hour drinking if it's deemed necessary in their area.

James Landale
1511From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: Mr Brown is currently going through his crackdown on anti-social behaviour - drink ASBOs, parenting orders, more intervention in problem families. All good meat for the Daily Mail but critics will say it is an unlikely conversion by a prime minister who has shown little focus on the issue in past years.

e-mail sent in by reader
About time Gordon took to the front again and started leading. I'm listening again.
Steve Freathy, Cambridge, UK

1508 We knew about the free childcare for 250,000 two-year-olds butt then a surprise as Mr Brown says he will create a network of supervised houses in which teenage girls who have children can be helped to bring them up. It will be better for them and better for us, he says.

James Landale
1507From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: Mr Brown has just promised free childcare for half a million two year olds from less well off families. What he didn't say is that it won't happen for five years and that it will be funded by cutting childcare tax subsidies for those who are a little better off. Some will say this is hardly support for the middle classes.

AlbertoNardelli tweets: A very Obamesque discourse flows within Brown's speech Read AlbertoNardelli's tweets.

e-mail sent in by reader
Brown touts himself as a visionary but neglects to tell people that it was his policies and shortsightedness as chancellor that led the country to this financial meltdown. His legacy will be one of being remembered as the poorest C of the Exch and Prime Minister since the war.
Brian Turner, West Bromwich

1504 Onto welfare. A pledge to ensure that every NHS patient will have the right to see a GP in the evening or at the weekend if they need to. A commitment to restore the link between the basic state pension and earnings. And that promise to increase the minimum wage every year for the next five years.

e-mail sent in by reader
Gordon is on fire!!
David Dixon, Sunderland

Of course Mr. Brown understands the pain of the middle classes. He is the one who caused it.
Max Kuhnke, London

Is it not ironic that GB talks initially about minimum pay then how he is creating (unpaid) internships.
Gary, Torbay

James Landale
1503From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: More strong hints about Mr Brown's spending priorities: he promises that the minimum wage, child benefit and child tax credits will increase every year for the next five years.

jickemptweets: where's the vision? what would Labour do and how would they do it? Come on... platitudes and lists so far Read jickemp's tweets.

carrozo tweets: Gordon Brown just showed more passion in 30 seconds than I've seen in years of rule. But good on him. Read carrozo's tweets.

1500 Big numbers on jobs. More than 250,000 new green jobs, 10,000 skilled internships for young people, 10,000 job placements in green industries.

1459 Mr Brown announces a new national investment corporation to encourage and finance British innovation. He says there will be £1bn made available. He also says the Post Office must have a bigger role in bringing banking back into the heart of local communities. Sounds like the national peoples's bank mooted last year to save the Post Office network.

James Landale
1458From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: A very strong hint that Gordon Brown will not cut education spending in the months ahead. He said: "In the next five years we cannot and will not cut support to our schools, we will not invest less, but more." Nota Bene Alistair Darling.

James Landale
1455From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: Mr Brown is now talking about his values and claiming they are the same as those he calls "the squeezed middle": the desire to get on, not just get by; hard work; motivated not just by self interest but by self-discipline, self-improvement, and self-reliance, caring not just for ourselves but also for each other. Fairness, responsibility, values celebrated in the family, observed in faith. These he said are "the best instincts of the British people, the soul of our party and the mission of our government". The message is that he understands the pain of the middle classes during a recession.

1453 Mr Brown says in future any director of any bank who is negligent will be disqualified from ever holding such a post again. Opera singer Lesley Garrett gives a warm smile in the audience.

BBCLauraK tweets:Conservatives would 'coldly' and 'callously' return us to unemployment and cardboard cities says Brown Read BBCLauraK's tweets.

1451 Values - another buzzword - British values more specifically. Labour has them, small-business owners and hard-working families have them, Gordon Brown says he has them. Bankers, it seems, don't - not when they take risks with our money at least.

jcevans tweets:Remember the Tories in the 1980s? Britain has moved on....time for new rhetoric. Been the same electioneering since 1992! Read jcevans's tweets.

benjamincohen tweets:Glad Gordon Brown sneaked introducing civil partnerships in there at the beginning- good to reinforce that Read benjamincohen's tweets.

James Landale
1447 From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: The choice theme continues with some anti-Tory knocking copy. They've been wrong on banks, the economy and Europe, Mr Brown said. A sly dig at David Cameron's past by saying the opposition thinks the test of their party is its marketing, when the real test is its judgement.

1446 There seems to be a huge amount of clapping - almost at the end of every sentence. Much nodding too - from the Cabinet and the Kinnocks as he moves onto the economy - talking about saving jobs, helping homeowners.

James Landale
1442From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: Well, Mr Brown's come out of the stocks racing. A torrent of a list of Labour's past achievements, bringing delegates to their feet with a call to arms. We need to fight, he said, fight to win for Britain. And then straight into his first theme: choice. I can count almost twenty uses of the word in the first two pages of the speech. His underlying point is that the election should be a choice between Labour and the Tories, not a referendum on his government.

1441 After a dramatic start, a few jokes. The PM says he would like to call Alistair Darling the greatest chancellor ever - but the press would report it as "Brown snubs Brown" - a reference to the alleged cold shoulder he received last week from Barack Obama. Continuing, he says the "special relationship" is just fine - his special relationship with Peter Mandelson, that is.

robsteadman tweets:Good list of stuff all achieved under Blair..... Read robsteadman's tweets.

ephemeraldog tweets:All this furore about Gordon Brown's speech will no doubt lead to disappointment. Closing headlines will be about his vision 'lacking depth' Read ephemeraldog's tweets.

1438 Mr Brown runs through a long list of Labour achievements - and has them on their feet already. Is this the earliest ever standing ovation? It's clear already that two words are going to feature heavily - "change" and "fight".

1435 She introduces another video - lots of young faces praise Labour. So do some famous faces - U2 frontman Bono says his achievements on development are "staggering", Nelson Mandela is also a fan. And then Gordon Brown arrives to take the stage. He starts with a pledge to fight and change the world.

James Landale
1434From BBC deputy political editor James Landale: The return of Sarah Brown. She introduced her husband last year and she's done so again. He's not a saint, he's noisy, he's messy, she said. But he loves his country and he's the right man for the job. He goes to bed and wakes up thinking about what matters. Mrs Brown is on message, saying Gordon is making - and will make - the right choices. The aim is to humanise the prime minister, using Mrs Brown's undoubted appeal to middle England. Critics might think it a little schmaltzy, a little sentimental.

Sarah Brown
1431 Mrs Brown says she and Gordon have had tough times, great times and will be together all times. She says he's not "a saint" - "he's messy, he's noisy..." But she says he spends all this time thinking about the things that matter - "I know he loves our country".

BBCLauraK tweets:So she's doing it again - Sarah Brown the warm up act for the PM Read BBCLauraK's tweets.

1426The first surprise - or maybe not so surprising giving her positive reception last year. Sarah Brown is back - taking the stage before her husband. Lots of cheering all round.

BBCLauraK tweets:Brown,Sarah and entourage just swept past our camera at great speed-expected to announce recall elections for MP s who fiddle their expenses Read BBCLauraK's tweets.

1426 The pre-speech video is playing, inspirational phrases a-plenty. The cheers are coming thick and fast too.

1420 The auditorium is packed. Cabinet members past and present are ready. There are some more unlikely faces too - comedian Eddie Izzard is chatting to Neil Kinnock. Meanwhile, the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg says she's got word that a big chunk of the speech is going to focus on building a "new politics" post-expenses row with tougher measures to punish MPs who break the rules.

1417 Former home secretary David Blunkett tells the BBC's Jon Sopel what it's like to give a big speech like this. "It's terrible," he says. "It changes the nature of who you are in the days before the speech." Some might want to change Gordon Brown's nature - he will be hoping to change their minds.

1416 The television cameras follow Gordon Brown as he walks to the conference hall, accompanied by wife Sarah. She's wearing a floral dress in autumnal colours - he's wearing a big grin. The route is lined with delegates and the PM takes time to shake as many hands as possible before making his way inside.

1412 Hello and welcome to our live text commentary of Gordon Brown's keynote conference speech. Well, the hall is packed, there's a buzz in the air and everyone is waiting for the man himself. Can he give, as everyone seem to think he must, the speech of his life?

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