UK: Gordon Brown's policy viewpoint: people will learn English

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Sep 4 15:06:58 UTC 2007

Brown's policy viewpoint
Last Updated: 2:03am BST 04/09/2007


It's very important that people play by the rules. And that means that
people will learn the English language. The teaching of language is a very
important part of how people understand citizenship in the modern world. On
Scotland you have got to remember that less than a third of people in
Scotland voted for a party that advocates separation. It is in everyone's
interest that we stay together. It's our destiny. What brings us together
are the shared values.


I choose to be in public life. My children do not have the luxury of that
choice and it's right for me to make sure that wherever possible they have
the freedom to grow up free of the glare of publicity. I come from a very
strong family with a strong religious upbringing where I was taught to think
about the importance of the work ethic and treating people fairly.


Leadership is not about making decisions just for the short term. When the
heat is on political parties can reach for their own comfort zones and
territories, to appease a particular faction. But that's not modern
politics. The old devices of the government saying one thing and opposition
saying another and retreating into the old stereotypical politics is not
going to work for the future of the country.

*EU Constitution*

On the charter of rights we've got a protocol that says it's not justiciable
in British law. I spent a lot of time making sure that protocol was
something that I felt exempted the British people from justiciable actions
on the basis of that charter. On justice and home affairs we got an opt-in -
which is what we wanted. On foreign policy it remains an inter-governmental
responsibility. On national security it remains a matter for national
governments. And on social security we've got an emergency brake. I said if
we got those red lines then Britain could be satisfied that we didn't need a
referendum. Having achieved those objectives I think I've got to hold to the
position I held then.

*Foreign Policy*

There is no timetable for exit [from Iraq]. Because Afghanistan is the
frontline against the Taliban, we know that if there was no Nato and
coalition presence the Taliban would be moving back in. It's a very
important role. But I would like to see burden-sharing. We have to match the
effort on security with building up the political efforts of the Karzai

*Relations with America*

The relations between America and Britain are, in my view, going to be
stronger in the coming years. My interest in America and the belief in the
relationship is incredibly strong. Personally, I will work very strongly
with the president.

*The Economy*

In the last 10 years there have been a whole range of crises … and we have
seen the trebling of oil but no recession. We're proving that the systems we
put in place in 1997 are resilient. Because the Bank of England has acted in
pro-active way Britain has moved from a position where it had one of most
volatile economies in the industrialised world to one of the least. We've
set up a new business council. They will be meeting in the next few weeks.
Every senior business leader in Britain will be invited into these


On gun crime we have to act decisively to halt the supply and circulation of
guns. I've been taking to chief police officers about how we can co-ordinate
in communities where we know there are gang and gun problems. And drink is
an issue. When young people are getting access to drink very easily it's a
concern and there are things we can do about it.


The most important thing is to reach out to people of different talents.
Each one of the challenges can be met by reaching the strongest possible
consensus and you do that by being a government that can unite rather than
divide. My father was a minister of the Church and he used to say to me
there are so many people with a lot to offer.

People who may not share a lot of your views in politics may have other
things to offer. People don't want to go back.

When you just reach for the old slogans it doesn't work.

You want to be in a position to say that this is a long-term decision that
this country has got to make and you've got to build support for that.

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