Gordon Brown is in Milton Keynes for another "GB on the road" event. This time the topic is Britain's place in the world.
UPDATE: Two bits of post-match analysis. The first is from Sky’s Niall Paterson who tweeted, “International development clearly something Brown feels v strongly about. Not a major issue at the election though.”
Then I bumped into Douglas Alexander who was upbeat and made an analogy with the American primary election in 2008 which he later tweeted:
“Just with @wdjstraw. As Hillary discovered V Obama, Cameron now finding out that once sense of inevitability lost its hard to ever get back”
The point here is not that Brown is Obama. How could he be? But rather that Cameron, like Clinton, saw himself as the heir assumptive but has failed to seal the deal. Last night’s poll was bad for Labour but even worse for Cameron who sees the Tories below 35% for the first time since Brown’s bounce in 2007. Two new polls for tomorrow’s papers show that this is no blip.
3.30: GB wrapping up now and talks about being “as bold as we were in 1945” with a whole list of problems that require international cooperation. It’s been a good event and GB is clearly very comfortable on this topic. Iraq didn’t come up and nor did anything too taxing on Afghanistan. Hard therefore to know how he’ll perform on Thursday. But if the conversation sticks to development and climate change, I’d be surprised if Clegg or Cameron can match him on style or substance.
3.27: On China, he says we’ve got to get China involved in the interntional dialogue. On Higher Education, GB wants partnerships with universities – India building 1,000 universities in next few years – GB sees global university portals in the future.
3.23: Five questions coming up: (i) What role can British Higher Education play and visa restrictions, (ii) what’s the trade off between multilateralism and accountability, (iii) question about China’s role in development, (iv) what is GB going to do to deal with G8 not paying up, (v) how do you get children of refugees into schools (i think)
3.20: David Miliband says the “most dangerous collective failure” of modern times is failure to create a viable Palestinian state. Britain sets its policy based on what it thinks is right. But US now has a government that wants to create a Palestinian state and therefore not sensible to separate Britain from Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton or George Mitchell. DM also picks out a question on twitter from @KingRichard76 and says that we don’t always agree with US.
3.17: On peacekeeping, GB wants it approached in a “more comprehensive way” and gives “Responsibility to Protect” the first mention of the day. On trade, GB wants the Doha round to start again.
3.13: More Qs: (i) John Kelly, a fundraising consultant, says US foreign policy ambitions are different to ours, especially on Middle East – gets a round of applause for that one, (ii) question from the One campaign from a chap in a very tight One.org t-shirt – wants to know where trade can be promoted, (iii) and one from the Open University about peacekeeping and uneven standards around the world.
3.10: Douglas Alexander says development is not about advancing foreign poverty goals or British commercial interests, it’s about helping where poverty is worse. DA says that DfiD should not be folded back into Foreign Office as some Tories have suggested.
3.08: @flopsydaisy again: “can the BBC News 24 put GB back on please – talking heads about volcano’s not offering anything new.” I’ll rebuke whoever’s here from Auntie on your behalf.
3.07: Glenys Kinnock takes the floor and talks about “global gender justice”. On twitter GB is rebuked by @Nissemus “FFS Gordon, Tim Berners-Lee did not invent the Internet. He developed the Web.” So now we know.
3.05: GB answers: On technology, GB says that as long as 80% don’t have access to the Internet, it’s not truly global (not sure how that relates to earlier question about global citizenship). But praises Tim Berners-Lee for not patenting the Internet and work on the “semantic web”.
3.03: More Qs: (i) Member of the audience asks a PMQs style question “Are you going to publicise Labour’s gift aid success blah, blah, blah”, (ii) How is Labour different from other parties, (iii) Professor of economics at Open University (our hosts) asks about absence of innovation, technology, and inequality in GB remarks.
3.00: Douglas Alexander answers @flopsydaisy’s question: on track to meet 0.7% by 2013. We shoudl have confidence to say “if global crisis impact on livelihoods here, it is impacting on lives around the world”. Government has written into law the spending.
2.56: “Questions from tweet” Better deal on climate change (not sure who that’s from), and will their be spending cuts on international development from @flopsydaisy
2.55: Miliband is talking about Afghanistan: says the country needs (i) a security environment which the country can’t provide for itself, and (ii) development for health and social improvements.
2.53: GB responds: (i) not sure GB quite understood @LadyEdinburgh’s question but he’s fluent talking about people communicating through “development of Internet and mobile communications” – talks about demonstrations in Iran, Phillipines (“coup de text”), and Zimbabwe, (ii) says aid is no longer “tied” 0.26% now 0.5% on course for 0.7% – again not quite sure he went into enough depth for the questioner. Passes Q3 over to David Miliband who was late arriving.
2.49: More questions: (i) via twitter “how does labour plan to rejuvinate citizenship in this global era” from @LadyEdinburgh, (ii) how to be impartial in giving aid, (iii) what shape for the new institution for just peace.
2.46: GB response: (i) wants a body for security and reconstruction (which doesn’t exist), (ii) wants to sign long-term agreements with other countries to ensure that money is spent well, (iii) working with recipient countries. Douglas Alexander gets up to supplement the answer and talks about “aid effectiveness” looking at country’s commitment to development, human rights record, and their internal capacity.
2.42: Now into Q&A: (i) Isn’t the UN a “institution for just peace” who makes the decisions if you create a new body, (ii) what will Labour do to ensure that British aid reaches the most disadvantaged, (iii) Q from World Vision: what specific action will be taken to deal with preventable child death
2.37: I have to say that I’m impressed with GB’s passion. He’s spoken now for over 35 mins without notes starting with anecdotes and a few jokes, then set out the election dividing lines (so far so standard) but then went on to talk about a range of different international issues including maternal mortality, Congo’s troubles, climate change with knowledge. Just finishing off now with another joke to soften us up for the questions. Will be interesting to know if he can give a little more detail on some of these specific issues during the Q&A.
2.34: More questions:
@thecredo @Ok #GBontheroad, what did you mean when you asked who’s “gonna build the Jew jobs” in Milton Keynes?
@LadyEdinburgh @UKLabour how can you balance human rights and a global morality with energized British citizenship without damaging either? #GBontheRoad
@pontusw Will you ensure that climate finance given as grants not loans? RT @DouglasGE2010 Gordon speaking on int issues. Send in Qs #GBontheroad
@Labourcat how can new industries new jobs help to deliver opportunities for older workers who may not have skills for high growth industries
2.32: GB is very passionate talking about maternal mortality, lack of healthcare, 1 billion people living on less than a dollar a day. He sets out what Britain needs to do in the next few years:
(i) an international & global view of reconstruction & peacemaking in the future – calls for a new global organisation: Institutions for a Just Peace
(ii) build the global environmental organisations to deal with climate change commitments
(iii) a global financial system that “works for people” – global rules, global supervision & fairness and, of course, a global financial levy [that’s a dividing line with the Tory’s unilateral approach which will pay for their £3 per week marriage tax]
(iv) make sure international development policies are “the best policies for the future”. Mentions One Goal campaign ahead of the World Cup, Maternal Mortality Campaign,
2.24: More questions:
• @peter_scott: We want to “… make education one of our greatest exports…” says Gordon in #gbontheroad. Cool – how are we going to make that happen?
• @EndWaterPoverty: For $1 investment in sanitation in developing countries, $9 is returned to the economy – will you increase aid to sanitation?
2.22: GB talking about Rwanda “it must evoke our conscience now … we did not do enough in Rwanda and in the Balkans”
2.19: I’ve got a stalker. Niall Paterson @niallpaterson is taking pictures of my back!
2.18: Some more questions:
• @FredChukkawakka: If foreign aid was cut by £6 billion and the workshy were required to work wouldn’t that be enough to stop NI increase?
• @1eoB: what will happen to jobs in the NHS and schools under Labour?
• @LadyEdinburgh: @UKLabour how does labour plan to rejuvinate citizenship in this global era
2.14: GB talks about strategic mistakes of the Tories: (i) they haven’t recognised how hard it is to sustain the recovery eg taking £6bn out of the economy, (ii) they haven’t recognised importance of public services by refusing to protect schools and police spending and scrapping guarantees in the NHS, and (iii) they assume they are the automatic inheritors of change but their manifesto is similar to 2001 and 2055: keeping hereditary peers, inheritance tax cuts, not supporting reform to Commons and Lords, cutting child tax credits & child trust funds.
2.09: GB talks about “global society emerging”. This whole event is framing this week’s discussion ahead of the 2nd leaders’ debate which on foreign affairs.
2.08: GB tells an anecdote about working with Gerald Kaufman in the 1980s for an interview with what he thought was an Australian media station. It turned out to be a New Zealand radio and the PM’s never visited NZ as a result.
2.05: Gordon Brown introduces Phyllis Starkey and Andrew Pakes the local candidates.
2.03: Gordon Brown appears: “Hello, How do you do? Thanks for all you do?”
2.02: Mark Fenton-O’Creevy tweets: “#gbontheroad How do we create a better deal on climate change than at Copenhagen for developing countries.”
1.58: The Labour Campaign for International Development have tweeted a question: “We @LabourCID would like to know what next Labour government will do to achieve a fair world trade deal?”
1.57: The press have all come in. Niall Paterson from Sky asks me whether I’m here in supporter or critical supporter mode. “I’m always a critical supporter”, I answer.
I’m in Milton Keynes covering the ‘GB on the road’ event with Gordon Brown, David Miliband, Douglas Alexander, Glenys Kinnock, and Bob Ainsworth. The topic is “Britain’s place in the world”. We’ll be featuring tweets on the event and covering what’s said.
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