This blog collects perspectives on the election you won't find anywhere else, by political experts, based in the School of Politics and International Relations at The University of Nottingham.

Monday, 29 March 2010

PM unveils election pledges at University of Nottingham

As was widely reported at the weekend, Gordon Brown was in Nottingham at the weekend. More specifically, he was at the University of Nottingham’s jubilee campus. He gave his speech at the Nottingham Geospatial Building, a new £9m research centre devoted to global navigation satellite systems and geospatial sciences, which has only just opened.

The location obviously wasn’t accidental. The campus sits in Nottingham South, which is a Conservative target, and is close to a series of other, even more marginal, Labour seats – such as Broxtowe, Erewash, and Gedling. Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, used the occasion to introduce local Labour candidates.

The speech formally unveiled Labour’s five key pledges ahead of the imminent General Election. But he also reiterated the strategy of acknowledging Labour’s position in the opinion polls, and painting Labour as the underdogs – a phrase he explicitly used.

But I was also struck by the extent to which he stressed the heritage of the Labour Party, all the way back to the founding of the NHS. He didn’t want to talk about just the last 13 years, but about the broader historical context, about what he claims Labour stands for, to try to show a clear distinction between them and the other parties. He was at great pains to emphasise Labour as standing for ‘fairness’, and there was a nice little dig about Labour launching pledges as the Conservatives announced their change of advertising team.

Professor Paul Heywood

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