Brown: Tories will betray middle classes

Gordon Brown has fired the election starting gun in an interview for Tribune and speech to Policy Network. He said the Tories would betray the middle classes.

On the eve of the Labour party’s general election campaign launch in Coventry, Gordon Brown has given an interview to Tribune where he turns on the Tories as the party “betraying the middle classes”.

The wide-ranging interview – in which he defended his decision to back the Iraq war and said “there is no timeline” for withdrawal from Afhanistan – was used as an opportunity to dismiss speculation about support for a ‘core vote’ strategy. He said:

“You have got to go for the widest coalition possible, renewing the coalition that won us the 1997 and 2005 elections. Our strategy is core values not core votes. Core values are what we believe in, why we act, prosperity and justice for all.

“It is the Conservative Party that are betraying the middle classes, they are refusing to give people the support they need, they are going to take away the child trust fund from potentially millions of people, they are going to take away the child tax credit from more than a million middle-class families, they are refusing to support education to 18 which is the key to opportunity for millions of teenagers in this country and their families, they are refusing to support SureStart, other than for the “tragic” disadvantaged 20 per cent and are refusing to make them universal. In all these areas the Tories are hurting middle Britain.”

Brown continued this theme in a speech this morning to Policy Network’s Progressive Governance conference of international delegates on the theme of ‘Jobs, industry and opportunity‘. Brown said:

“Instead of defending ordinary families they would kick the ladder of opportunity away from them. And instead of supporting the middle classes, their policies would hurt the middle classes.”

On the morning that 67 economists wrote to the FT supporting his economic stratregy, Brown criticised the Tories’ approach to recovery:

“It was said of the Hapsburgs that they would never learn by their mistakes. This is true of the Conservatives. So instead of helping the recovery, in our country Conservative dislike bordering on hatred of government action would risk the recovery now.”

Stepping away from British politics, Brown organised the bulk of his speech around four international themes:

– the need for a world constitution for the global financial system;

– national and global growth and jobs strategies founded on innovation and skills;

– radical measures to massively accelerate the rate of social mobility in our societies;

– work towards a truly global society: “towards a world free from climate change catastrophe ; and a world free from terrorism, poverty, disease, illiteracy and inequality.”

Left Foot Forward will continue to update from the Policy Network conference throughout the day, including on twitter.

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