The Gordon Brown you don’t normally see

The question on everybody’s minds this morning is: can Gordon pull off the speech of his life? And I think I’ve seen a clue.

Leaving questions over content aside, the key question is surely whether he will display some of the fire, flair and style that Lord Mandelson so effectively flaunted in his widely acclaimed speech yesterday.

Brown’s friends say he is personable and warm in private, but awkward and stiff in front of cameras – as demonstrated by his appearance on the Andrew Marr show (of which more later). No doubt Mandelson will have had a hand in drafting Brown’s speech. What about the presentation?

On Sunday evening I saw a side to Brown that the cameras don’t normally see. Addressing the Trade Union and Labour Party Liaison Organisation reception, Brown swung into action. He was vigorous, violent even, flashing smiles and near-winks at his audience as he vowed to fight on and to defend British workers at places like Vauxhall(nothing to do with Tony Woodley standing next to him, natch.)

He was, in fact, many of the things he will have to be today. If he can repeat his performance, he’s almost there. If he fails, leadership specualtion – which doesn’t seem to have been rife at conference this year – may re-emerge.

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