WITH Prime Minister Blair organising his post premiership job, Chancellor Brown stepped forward yesterday to promote the latest New Labour ‘vision’ of a ‘patriotic Britain’.
Asked was he ‘gearing up’ to be prime minister on the BBC’s Sunday AM progamme, Brown said: ‘I think there’s a job to be done for the future of Britain.’
He said Britain faced a security challenge, an environmental challenge, and an economic challenge.
These, he said, need ‘a new kind of politics in this country. And it needs a new style of government for the future.’
Asked about a Brown government he said it will be ‘a government of all the talents’, implying a coalition.
He added: ‘And that doesn’t mean just the talents of one political party. I think you’ve got to use the talents of the wider community in government.’
He stressed that ‘this is a patriotic vision. The idea of the state as being an overbearing state, which a lot of people have associated with governments of the past, that cannot be the government of the future.’
He paid a fulsome tribute to Blair and rejected a suggestion that Blair’s had been ‘a sofa-style of government, very informal, a very small group of people inside Downing Street, cronies if you like, sitting around together and deciding what’s going to be done’.
Brown said: ‘I don’t accept that. I think that’s unfair to Tony Blair who’s been a brilliant Prime Minister and has been an excellent leader of the Labour Party, and who’s taken very brave and difficult decisions on so many occasions for which he should be applauded.’
He added: ‘I think the theme of government in future is not what you can do for people, but what people being empowered can do for themselves.’
Brown was asked: ‘Are you going to pay more attention, perhaps, to some of the institutions, the traditional institutions, like Parliament?’
He replied: ‘We do need a new settlement over these next few years between, if you like, the executive, the legislature, and that is the power of Parliament and the House of Commons, and people themselves.’
He claimed that what holds the United Kingdon together ‘is not the institutions alone although the monarchy and the House of Commons and the Health Services, and the BBC and the Army, we mustn’t underestimate the defence forces, are very part of, much part of the patriotic loyalty that people have to our country. But it is in the end the shared values that bind us together.’
Moving on to Iraq, Brown was asked: ‘What were your own feelings when you saw those images of Saddam Hussein being taunted publicly before he was publicly hanged?’
He replied: ‘Well now that we know the full picture of what happened I think we can sum this up as a deplorable set of events.’
Asked what will happen when US President Bush announces more troops for Iraq, Brown said that ‘the policy will be the policy that we are pursuing now.’
Prime Minister Blair has as yet made no statement about the hanging of President Saddam Hussein.
• Second news story
ISRAEL PLANNING TACTICAL NUCLEAR STRIKE
Israel has drawn up plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities in a tactical nuclear strike using low-yield atomic ‘bunker busting’ bombs, The Sunday Times said yesterday.
The newspaper quoted several Israeli military sources as telling it that two Israeli air force squadrons are training to use the weapons for a single strike.
The plans involve sending conventional, laser-guided missiles to open up ‘tunnels’ in the targets before ‘mini-nukes’ with a force the equivalent of one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb are fired in.
The plan is similar to one said to have been considered by the United States, in a report in the New Yorker magazine last April. The White House dismissed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh’s article as ‘ill-informed’.
The three prime targets are said to be the enrichment plant at Natanz, a uranium conversion facility near Isfahan and a heavy water reactor at Arak, all south of the capital Tehran.
‘As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,’ one of the unnamed Israeli military officials was quoted as saying.
The nuclear option is being considered because Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may not be effective enough at destroying the well-defended facilities, the newspaper said.
Israeli pilots are said to have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000-mile (3,220-kilometre) round-trip to the Iranian targets. Three possible routes have been mapped out, including one over Turkey, the report said.
l A British soldier was killed and two others injured in Iraq yesterday, in ‘a road accident in Maysan Province’, the Ministry of Defence reported.
Three US airmen were killed in a bomb blast in Baghdad yesterday and two US soldiers were also reported killed, one in Baghdad on Saturday and one in western Iraq on Friday.