Speaking to the United Nations in New York, Gordon Brown says he wants to "summon into existence the greatest coalition of conscience in pursuit of the greatest of causes" that the world should "forge a coalition for justice" to combat what he called the "emergency" of global poverty.
The problem is, while he talks a good talk, his record just doesn't give any confidence that he will deliver on his promises of empowerment and free trade:
We need a compact - the rich accepting their responsibilities to invest, to support, to end protectionism and to deliver our promises; the developing countries accepting their responsibilities to reform, to open up to trade, and to be transparent and free of corruption. But our objectives cannot be achieved by governments alone, however well intentioned; or private sector alone, however generous; or NGOs or faith groups alone, however well meaning or determined - it can only be achieved in a genuine partnership together.After all, he has spent the last ten years taking power away from the people under his influence, so what makes anybody think he will begin giving it back to us all now? Consider what he says on protectionism:
So it is time to call into action the eighth of the Millennium Goals so we can meet the first seven. Let us remember Millennium Development Goal eight - to call into being, beyond governments alone, a global partnership for development, and together harness the energy, the ideas and the talents of the private sector, consumers, NGOs and faith groups, and citizens everywhere. The sum of all the individual actions working together to achieve real change. Some people call it the mobilisation of soft power...I call it people power. People power in support of the leadership of developing countries.
Perhaps for too long we have talked the language of development without defining its starting point in wealth creation - the dignity of individuals empowered to trade and be economically self sufficient.If he really means what he says, presumably we will see Britain adopting a new tough stance in Europe as we withdraw from the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy? I, for one, won't be holding my breath...
No country has moved to development without opening up to trade.
So I accept an immediate obligation on world leaders to address protectionism and work to make what we promised - the development trade round - happen this year.