Brown Speech: Building Britain’s Digital Future

By Andrew Ivey | Speeches

Mar 25
Gordon Brown MP

Gordon Brown’s Digital Future Speech

Speaking on the theme of Britain’s digital future on Monday the Prime Minister laid out the choices and decisions needed for an invigorated Britain; a Britain with “jobs for us today and jobs for our children tomorrow.”

His speech presented his vision for Britain’s digital future in 2020 in three parts. He introduced each part with the same phrase:

“I want…”

Warming to his theme the Prime Minister showed his grasp of current jargon–undoubtedly prompted by Lord Adonis. So we had references to, “the semantic web,” “next generation web,” “widget” and “disruptive business models.”

He Announced that an Institute of Web Science would be created, with an immediate budget of £30 million of taxpayers money ready to seize the social and economic benefits for citizens. Plus he noted that an Open Data Board would be created. Lots of new quango opportunities for the next Parliamentary term…not forgetting Martha Lane Fox’s role as UK Digital Champion!

The Prime Minister used a list of three to summarise the steps needed to achieve his goal for Britain to be the leader in the next stage of the digital revolution. His speech made clear the extent of his digital ambitions; not just that Britain should be a leader, not just that Britain’s taxpayers should benefit from more efficient streamlined government.

No, his speech suggested that politics itself should be renewed by IT. “Deliberative Democracy” should be renewed by the”semantic web.” Now, that’s some ambition that will need more that the newly released 10 Downing Street iPod App to “deliver.”

He likened access to the internet via broadband technology as a fundamental freedom. Using the analogy of electricity he wondered whether denying access to electricity to a section of society would be acceptable. No. Using a three-part list he observed: “This is unfair, economically inefficient and wholly unacceptable.”

His conclusion used the same device; a three part list with good use of repetition.

“We have the courage…we have the determination…we have the resolve.”

A good solid piece of speech making. If there is a problem with the speech it has to be the language.

Gordon Brown became an IT consultant carricature in this speech. He doesn’t plan to reduce costs let alone cut costs. No, he aims:

“…to drive down the Government’s property costs.”

He doesn’t aim to introduce change. No, he aims:

“To drive this ambitious programme forward.”

Management speak.

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK. Andrew Ivey on Google+